Evans overcomes Alison Waters as Dessouky injury gives James a walkover
By ALAN THATCHER and SEAN REUTHE
England’s Declan James will make his maiden appearance in a PSA World Series quarter-final round after his opponent, Egypt’s Fares Dessouky, retired with an injury in the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open. On a day of drama, Tesni Evans became the first female Welsh player to reach the quarter-finals of a World Series event after she defeated England’s world No.10 Alison Waters.
World No.8 Dessouky pulled out because of a knee injury while leading by two games to love. The Egyptian was later photographed in a wheelchair at Hong Kong Airport (below) as he began an uncomfortable journey home.
English qualifier James will line up against No.4 seed Ali Farag, who was also awarded a walkover when his opponent, yesterday’s giant-killer Leo Au, pulled up in the second game.
Tournament wildcard Au made headlines yesterday after he blew the men’s draw wide open with a stunning win over last year’s champion, Ramy Ashour, but he was unable to back up that victory, retiring midway through the second game.
“It’s never pleasing to win that way,” admitted Farag. “He had a great match yesterday and I was ready for a big fight tonight, but it was unfortunate for him.
“I’m not sure if he did it [the injury] today or if he had been feeling it for a while, but I hope he recovers as fast as he can.”
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier is also through to the last eight after he came from behind to beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll 2-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, despite an out-of-sorts display from the Frenchman at times.
“It took me a while to adapt. I felt really slow and couldn’t see the ball,” said Gaultier.
“The ball was so fast at the beginning of the match, I didn’t have my movement either. I had to really push myself in the second to produce something. I fought with my head because I was struggling to be accurate or move fast off the ‘T’ and it was tough, he was always recovering the shots and playing at a fast pace.
“But I managed to dig in and win the match. There are days when you play well, days when you play differently, but at the end I just tried to find a solution and play every single point.”
Gaultier goes through to play World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy, while Marwan’s older brother, World No.3 Mohamed, defeated French qualifier Lucas Serme to set up a quarter-final meeting with Mohamed Abouelghar, who saw off Germany’s Simon Rösner in straight games.
There were also wins for 2016 runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad and Tarek Momen, who will go head-to-head for a place in the semi-finals.Both beat Australian opponents, Gawad beating Cameron Pilley 3-1 and Momen overcoming Ryan Cuskelly in straight games.
Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David ended the Au family’s involvement in the tournament as she beat Leo’s sister Annie to reach the quarter-finals.
Annie ended a 17-match losing streak against David last month at the U.S. Open and she came within a whisker of making it back-to-back wins over the Hong Kong Open champion.
David required a late fightback after falling 2-1 behind, with the eight-time world champion claiming an 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 victory to set up a quarter-final meeting with French World No.3 Camille Serme, who also came out on top against Hong Kong opposition as she beat World No.19 Joey Chan.
“She always plays well here, so I knew I had to really be on it today,” said David.
“I stayed focus, but she played really well today. I had a little lapse but I knew I needed to go up another level and I performed really well, stuck to my game plan and I’m really pleased to win that 3-2.
“I knew she would bring her game forward [from the U.S. Open], so I needed to stay solid. I didn’t quite execute my game plan the way I wanted to in the last match, which gave her more opportunities to lob the ball. I tried to give her less time to work with and that helped in this match.”
Two-time runner-up Raneem El Welily overcame fellow Egyptian Nour El Tayeb in a repeat of their U.S. Open final clash last month, avenging that defeat in Philadelphia with an 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 victory.
“I’m very happy to win today. It wasn’t easy at all,” said El Welily. “The last time we played, the fifth game was really bad from my side. She went 9-1 up, so I knew it couldn’t be as bad. I took it point-by point and I’m really glad to win.”
El Welily will take on New Zealand’s World No.9 Joelle King after she upset England’s Sarah-Jane Perry with a 3-1 scoreline, while world champion Nour El Sherbini will face defending champion Nouran Gohar.
The Egyptian duo claimed respective wins over Donna Urquhart and Joshna Chinappa, with World No.4 Laura Massaro and Tesni Evans completing the quarter-final line-up.
Massaro got the better of United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford, winning 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5.
The quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open begin tomorrow (November 17th) and all of the matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open 2017, Hong Kong Park Sports Centre, Hong Kong China.
PSA M165 Men’s Second Round:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2: 2-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6 (81m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 11-9, 15-13, 11-7 (45m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (45m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt [WC] Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 6-2 ret. (16m)
[Q] Declan James (ENG) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 4-11, 2-3 ret. (37m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 14-12, 11-6, 12-10 (53m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7 (54m)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (To Be Played November 17):
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Declan James (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
PSA W165 Women’s Second Round:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-1: 11-6, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5 (36m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-2: 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1 (50m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 (44m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 (42m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-1: 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (46m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7 (55m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7 (52m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (62m)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (To Be Played November 17):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v  Laura Massaro (EGY)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Joelle King (NZL) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA