Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sarah-Jane Perry survives surge from Sabrina Sobhy to reach World quarter-finals

Ali Farag leads the rush as all four men’s ties finish in straight games

England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry narrowly avoided a third-round exit at the PSA World Championships as she defeated USA’s World No.24 Sabrina Sobhy in five tough games at the Club S Allegria in Cairo.

Action took place across two glass courts for the last time at this event and it was once again the Club S Allegria that provided the drama as Perry was put through her paces by Sobhy to reach the quarter-finals.

The American scored a huge win in round two against compatriot and No.10 seed Olivia Fiechter to reach the last 16 and continued that momentum in a tightly contested battle with Perry as she took the first game.

Perry squeezed through the second and third before Sobhy dominated the fourth, dropping only two points in the process.

However, Perry recovered in the fifth and was able to use her experience to grind out the win 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8 in 57 minutes to reach the last eight at the PSA World Championships for the fourth time in her career.

“For some reason, I have a good record in five-setters,” said Perry. “I’m not quite sure why, maybe because I just refuse to lose a lot of the time, I had no right to win that match today. She wasn’t giving me many opportunities so I was just taking what I could get really.”

With six out of eight matches won in straight games, Pery’s encounter was the longest of the night.

Perry will face reigning world champion Nour El Sherbini in two days’ time for the 16th time in their careers, after the latter comfortably prevailed against Belgium’s World No.13 Tinne Gilis.

Nour El Sherbini volleys against Tinne Gilis

World No.3 Hania El Hammamy took a step closer to a maiden PSA World Championship title as she overcame England’s Georgina Kennedy in straight games.

El Hammamy had beaten Kennedy en route to her Allam British Open triumph back in March but started the slower of the two at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization as Kennedy stormed to a 7-3 lead in the opening game.

El Hammamy was uncharacteristically passive in the opening exchanges as Kennedy hit her targets, but the Egyptian soon settled and was much more proactive in the closing stages of the opening game as she recovered to take a one-game lead.

It was a tightly-contested beginning to the second game, but a confident El Hammamy soon took control to double her advantage.

Kennedy came back at her opponent in the third, scampering around the court to pick up El Hammamy’s shots and responding with some winners of her own to lead 7-5. However, El Hammamy’s accuracy was ultimately just too much for the Englishwoman, and she closed out the win by an 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 scoreline to reach the last eight.

El Hammamy will take on former World No.3 Nour El Tayeb for a place in the semi-finals, and will look to avenge her defeat to her compatriot during March’s CIB Black Ball Open.

“It was very tough and very physical with Gina, as always,” said El Hammamy. “I really enjoyed the match. I had to be as accurate as I could be to get through in three. To beat her in three gives me a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to my next match.

“This venue is absolutely amazing. It’s our first time here, so it gives us a lot of motivation to perform well. Hopefully I can go a few steps further in this tournament and try to get the title.

“I’m going to be very focused, I’ll watch the last match [against El Tayeb] to learn from what I did wrong and hopefully I can change that.”

El Sherbini and Gilis have enjoyed some memorable five-game matches recently, but today’s match did not follow that pattern as El Sherbini was in top form in despatch the 24-year-old 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 in 30 minutes.

“I’m glad she wasn’t on her finest form, everyone knows what happened in the last two meetings,” said five-time World Champion El Sherbini. “I learned from those matches and tried to be prepared and mentally ready for this match. It was very important for me to win 3-0.”

Ali Farag (right) in excellent form against Youssef Ibrahim

In the men’s draw, it was a straightforward win for defending champion Ali Farag as he manoeuvred past normally tricky opponent Youssef Ibrahim.

Ibrahim, who came from two games down in the previous round against Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, looked as though he was struggling with an injury throughout as Farag powered to an 11-3, 11-1, 11-2 victory.

Farag said: “The pressure is gone. I’ve already won it, so anything from here is a bonus. There is pressure in terms of that I want to win every tournament I play in, but I’m not desperate any more, thankfully, so I can enjoy my time.”

Farag will face No.7 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the last eight after he prevailed against Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, who had won both of two recent encounters.

After ElShorbagy won the first two games by an 11-8 margin, the third was a long and dramatic battle with the Egyptian finally taking it 16-14.

Mostafa Asal lunges across the middle of the court against Saurav Ghosal

Peru’s Diego Elias and Egypt’s Mostafa Asal will contest the last quarter final, following their wins over Egypt’s Youssef Soliman and India’s Saurav Ghosal.

Both players were in dominant form to record straight-games victories and set up a fourth meeting between the two, with Asal coming out on top in the previous three matches.

“I’m coming here to perform and to win match by match,” said Asal. “Me and my coaches are looking at videos to see how I can play against each player. I focused on lots of things today and I love playing in front of the crowd. I’m here to perform and I’m here for the title as well.”

After his match, Elias said: “After playing in the Tournament of Champions [in New York] and then coming straight here and playing five games in the first round on the normal courts, the rest days help. I feel better and better every day. I came here to win the tournament, so let’s hope that happens.”

The quarter finals of the PSA World Championships Cairo get under way on Thursday (May 19) at the Egyptian National Museum of Civilization, where play will start at 6.45pm local time (GMT+2) and will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV.

PSA World Championships, Museum of Egyptian Civilization and Club S Allegria, Cairo, Egypt.

Men’s Round Three (bottom half):
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-3 (34m)
[5] Diego Elias (PER) bt [15] Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-2, 11-3 (37m)
[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 16-14 (41m)
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [11] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-1, 11-2 (29m)

Men’s Quarter Finals (top half, May 19):
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) v [6] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[8] Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Men’s Quarter Finals (botttom half, May 20):
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [5] Diego Elias (PER)
[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

Women’s Round Three (bottom half):
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [9] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-8 (44m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [21] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 3-1: 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 13-11 (42m)
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [22] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 2-11, 11-8 (57m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [23] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (30m)

Women’s Quarter Finals (top half, May 19):
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [8] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
[15] Nada Abbas (EGY) v [4] Amanda Sobhy (USA)

Women’s Quarter Finals (bottom half, May 20):
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[6] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour


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