Shock defeats as Aussies crash out of the Worlds
By SEAN REUTHE in Cairo
Egyptian duo Ramy Ashour and Mohamed ElShorbagy will head a 13-strong Egyptian contingent in the second round of the 2016 Wadi Degla PSA Men’s World Championship after they both claimed opening day victories in Cairo.
Ashour, a three-time winner, sported a full length calf support as he looked to step up his recovery from an injury sustained at last month’s Al Ahram Open, and the 29-year-old from Cairo put in a dominant display to claim an 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 triumph against United States No.1 Todd Harrity.
“Every time I try to get up and get excited and think that I can win the tournament, something comes and slaps me in the face,” said Ashour referring to the injuries that have ravaged the past two years of his glittering career.
“I know that, eventually, if things go well and I keep playing for a little bit more, I’ll get back to where I was because I am a human being. I’m going to get this excitement and temptation in my blood.
“I was surprised that he hit so many tins today, he hit about five or six tins, so it was interesting. I know he plays fast so I had to up the pace, he lunges and then he gets back up in an elastic way.”
Ashour will take on South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger in the next round as he looks to continue his title charge, while his compatriot, ElShorbagy, saw off the challenge of Australian qualifier Rex Hedrick.
The hard-hitting Egyptian, twice a runner-up in 2012 and 2014 to Ashour, injected pace into proceedings from the outset which World No.58 Hedrick was unable to live with as ElShorbagy went a game to the good, dropping just five points in the process.
A dogged Hedrick responded though and pushed the Bristol-based 25-year-old all the way to a tie-break, but ElShorbagy drew on his energy reserves to push through by the narrowest of margins, before just having the upper hand in the third to close out an 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 victory – setting up a second round fixture with Finland’s Olli Tuominen.
“I’m really happy to win, I’m not the best first round player, I always struggle a little bit but I felt fresh today,” said ElShorbagy.
“He coped with the atmosphere pretty well, I understand it’s a bit tough playing me in Egypt and in the first round of the World Championship it was tough for him. He surprised me in the second game and even in the third game he came back and nearly won the game.
“If you know you’re living for another day you are happy. I woke up today and found so many shocking results. That’s what happens in the World Championship, anything can happen, and I’m just glad that I’m here for another day.”
The in-form Karim Abdel Gawad will join his fellow Egyptians in round two after he stormed back from two games down to defeat England’s Nathan Lake.
Having never previously reached the main draw of the prestigious tournament, Lake played like a World Championship veteran as he controlled the court, mixing patience with deadly accuracy to go 2-0 up against the World No.4.
But a tense third game went the way of Gawad and from then on he powered on, using his experience on the big stage to his advantage to complete the win and escape a shock exit, setting up a meeting with Mohamed Abouelghar.
The likes of World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad, World No.6 Ali Farag and World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy are also through to round two after the trio rose to wins on day one.
Elsewhere, English duo Nick Matthew and James Willstrop only just emerged unscathed from the opening round after they were pushed hard by New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson and Jaymie Haycocks.
Matthew began strongly to take the opening game but he was dragged into a real battle as Grayson upped his game and played with increased accuracy to level the match.
But it was the experienced head of Matthew that came back in the third to gain the advantage and he held firm to withstand a charge in the fourth, sealing the match at the second time of asking.
“I’m very relieved that didn’t go to five,” said Matthew. “I’m very happy to survive – I’ve negotiated this one and they’re all on the glass from now on so I’m looking forward to it.”
There was no such luck for Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley and compatriot Ryan Cuskelly though as they fell to respective shock losses against Karim Ali Fathi and Jens Schoor. “That was one of the hardest defeats I have had to endure in a long while,” revealed Pilley after an astonishing reversal in fortunes.
Defending champion Gregory Gaultier, meanwhile, was victorious on the opening day of action, beating New Zealand’s Paul Coll to ensure that he will go head-to-head with Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal for a place in the third round.
$325,000 Men’s Wadi Degla PSA World Championship 2016, Wadi Degla Club, Cairo, Egypt.
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 (40m)
Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (46m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (24m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt  Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 13-11, 2-11, 13-11, 11-6 (65m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 11-8, 1-11, 11-2 (45m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-4 (67m)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) bt [Q] Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (30m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-1: 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 (53m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Nathan Lake (ENG) 3-2: 9-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 (63m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [Q] Shehab Essam (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (21m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Alister Walker (BOT) 3-0: 11-2, 13-11, 11-9 (42m)
 Max Lee (HKG) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (50m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 11-8 (33m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 10-12, 13-11, 11-4, 11-3 (60m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt [Q] Lance Beddoes (NZL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (28m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 13-11 (57m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 12-10, 12-10 (71m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [WC] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (50m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Joe Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (31m)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Mazan Gamal (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 11-3, 6-11, 11-7 (55m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) – Walkover
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [LL] Evan Williams (NZL) 3-0: 13-11, 11-3, 11-7 (34m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6, 11-1 (35m)
Ben Coleman (ENG) bt [Q] Joshua Masters (ENG) 3-1: 5-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (50m)
[Q] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2: 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6 (67m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Peter Creed (WAL) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-6 (47m)
[Q] Jens Schoor (GER) bt  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9 (53m)
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6 (74m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10 (66m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 11-6, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8 (79m)
Second Round (Top Half) To be played Friday October 28:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v  Max Lee (HKG)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Leo Au (HKG) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
Bottom Half, to be played Saturday October 29:
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Ben Coleman (ENG)
[Q] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
[Q] Jens Schoor (GER) v Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)