No.3 seed wins battle of the giants
By NATHAN CLARKE and ALAN THATCHER
Nick Matthew, Daryl Selby and Tom Richards made it a trio of Englishmen into the second round in the Windy City Open as James Willstrop lost a phenomenal battle of the giants against Egypt’s Omar Mosaad.
In the last 16, Matthew meets Spain’s Borja Golan, Selby faces Mathieu Castagnet (France) and Richards tackles No.4 seed Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia.
On the second day of first round action at the 2016 Windy City Open, presented by Guggenheim Partners and Equitrust Life Insurance Company, Willstrop and Mosaad featured in a marathon match lasting 75 minutes. It was a desperately close affair between two athletes both 6ft 4in tall but it was No.3 seed Mosaad who squeezed home 11-9 in the fourth.
On a day of attritional contests, Tarek Momen and Castagnet were forced to dig deep to escape the clutches of defeat and keep their tournament aspirations alive on a day that was once again dominated by lengthy battles across the men’s draw.
World No.8 Castagnet (right) found himself 2-0 down and match ball down to an in-form Ali Farag, the Egyptian who last month captured the biggest title of his career at the Motor City Open, defeating World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and World No.3 Nick Matthew en route.
But the Frenchman showed why he is considered one of the most tenacious competitors on tour as he showed tremendous fighting spirit to complete one of the most remarkable comebacks in tournament history after an absorbing 71 minutes.
“I don’t know how I did it,” said Castagnet. “I was in very good shape today and I worked hard on getting the right tactics with my coach Renan Lavigne for the third, fourth and fifth games and I’m very, very happy that it worked.
“We have played a few times and I remember a match a few years ago and he had seven match balls and I saved them all to win in five. So when I saved them today I was sure he would think about that match and I was confident I could pull it off, so I’m delighted.”
It took Egypt’s World No.11 Momen six minutes longer to secure his second round place as he twice came from behind to get the better of Swiss national champion Nicolas Müller – who played his best match of recent years to come within a whisker of a huge upset.
After seeing an early 7-3 lead in the fifth game eroded Momen was staring down the barrel of defeat and was beaten all ends up when Müller hit what would have been a simple winner into the tin before a second unforced error handed Momen match ball, which he grasped at the first opportunity.
“I’ve never seen him play that well and he’s improved physically as well. Many times I thought he’d feel the work and the effects of the rallies but he just kept fighting back.
“I feel like I played very well but he just took it to the next level and I can’t really believe that I won, to be honest.
“I’m just very happy to be through and hopefully I will play a little better in the next round.”
Castagnet and Momen were victors in two of eight first round matches that went beyond the 70-minute mark in one of the most competitive PSA World Series first rounds ever.
Laying down a marker for the future, Peru’s Diego Elias overcame world No.21 Fares Dessouki and meets Momen in the last 16 in a further examination of this extraordinary young man’s credentials.
In the women’s draw defending champion Raneem El Welily began her title defence with an emphatic victory over Coline Aumard of France, taking just 20 minutes to see off the challenger for the loss of just six points.
After exiting the Qatar Classic and Tournament of Champions in the early rounds, the victory will serve to bolster El Welily’s hopes of retaining the crown and securing a return to winning ways at the very top level of the PSA World Tour after a barren few months.
“I love being here in Chicago and I had two great events here previously so hopefully it will be the same again this year,” said El Welily.
“Obviously everyone is here to win so I’m trying to just make sure I enjoy it and take it match by match.”
Top ranked American hope Amanda Sobhy put in a similarly emphatic performance in her opening encounter, taking just 19 minutes to get past Salma Hany Ibrahim as she continues to push towards a maiden World Series crown. The No.7 seed now meets Joelle King in what should be a hard-fought and entertaining battle.
In terms of numbers, English females outnumber the Egyptians five to three in the second round, but in the men’s event the picture is reversed, with six Egyptians and three Englishmen.
Guggenheim Partners & EquiTrust Windy City Open 2016, University Club of Chicago, Chicago, USA (both $150,000 events).
Results – Men’s First Round (Bottom Half):
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-9 (75m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-2: 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (73m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (51m)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-1 (71m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 12-14, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (77m)
[Q] Diego Elias (PER) bt Fares Dessouki (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-9 (57m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 11-5, 13-11, 5-11, 11-4 (51m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [WC] Chris Hanson (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (35m)
Draw- Second Round:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Max Lee (HKG) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Diego Elias (PER)
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
Results – Women’s First Round (Bottom Half):
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [Q] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (35m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt  Low Wee Wern (MAS) 3-1: 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 (65m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5 (44m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (19m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-4 (30m)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt [Q] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-1 (20m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-1 (20m)
Draw- Second Round:
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v  Victoria Lust (ENG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Delia Arnold (MAS)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA