Momen finds it tough against Al Tamimi
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
Defending champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily got their title challenges under way at the FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships earlier today as they booked their round three spots at the PSA Platinum event held at Drexel University.
ElShorbagy is a three-time champion at the event and will be aiming to add a fourth to his ever expanding collection after already clinching both the China Squash Open and Oracle NetSuite Open titles at the start of this season.
However, the 36-year-old Golan did not make it easy for ElShorbagy, with the veteran Spaniard pushing him all the way in a feisty four-game encounter. The Spaniard led 8-3 in the fourth, but was unable to hold on to his advantage as the 28-year-old Bristol-based Egyptian closed out the win by an 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9 margin.
“When you play Borja, it is always going to be tough,” said ElShorbagy. “He is one of those players that if you are going to take them out, you have to fight for every point. He is so experienced, he knew what time to change the ball, what time to slow the pace and when to play at a faster pace.
“It would mean a lot to get my fourth title here. Every season I work on my game a lot. I finish every season and ask myself what went wrong and what I need to work on. I want to be back at No.1 again, I don’t want any other number but No.1. I’m going after that spot big time this season. Every session I did this summer was with that focus, and I’m not going to relax until I get it.”
Meanwhile, World No.3 Tarek Momen survived a big scare as he came through a five-game battle with Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, winning 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 to book his place in the last 16.
Tamimi produced strong and disciplined squash in the first game to take a surprise lead over the World Championship runner-up, and fought back from 2-1 down to set up a decider. But Momen showed just how much his mental resilience has improved over the years in the fifth as he kept his composure to set up a third round meeting with Germany’s Raphael Kandra.
“I always give every player the utmost respect and never underestimate anyone,” said Momen. “I went into today’s match knowing that Abdulla has a good arsenal of attacking shots and I knew that he has a good game, but I feel the way he played today was well above his ranking. He was just unbelievable and at some points I felt like he couldn’t make any mistakes.”
Elsewhere, World No.1 Ali Farag began his attempts to win a second U.S. Open title with a 3-0 win over England No.1 Daryl Selby, while World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad defeated up-and-coming Egyptian Mostafa Asal. Declan James, who is managed by Selby, also went out in an all-English battle against left-hander Adrian Waller, who now meets Farag.
US interest in the men’s draw came to an end at the hands of New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson as he got the better of University of Penn junior Andrew Douglas.
In the women’s draw, World No.1 El Welily took just 23 minutes to despatch fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin in straight games.
The 30-year-old has already reached finals at the China Open and Oracle NetSuite Open this season – winning the former – and she will now face compatriot Yathreb Adel in the next round after she battled past England’s Julianne Courtice in a tough five-game encounter at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia.
“I’m always happy to be back here in Philly,” said World No.1 El Welily afterwards.
“I absolutely love it here and the atmosphere is always amazing. It’s definitely not been a bad start to the season. I’m pretty pleased with the way I have performed, but the season is still very long and it is only two tournaments out of 10 or 12. It counts for nothing so I have to put it behind me and keep moving forward.”
Meanwhile, United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy overcame compatriot Olivia Fiechter, despite still struggling with the effects of an adductor strain sustained at the Oracle NetSuite Open.
The Boston-based Harvard-graduate withdrew from her quarter-final match in San Francisco and, sporting heavy strapping on her leg, battled to an 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 victory to ensure that she will face India’s Joshna Chinappa in the last 16.
“I was struggling with a little niggle in my leg from San Francisco,” said 26-year-old Sobhy.
“So I didn’t really know what to expect coming here and whether I was playing or not playing, playing and making it worse. But this tournament means so much to me and I wanted to at least try, so no matter what happened I gave it a shot and tried my best. I’m pleased to win and move to the next round.”
Sobhy’s younger sister, Sabrina, bowed out to No.2 seed Camille Serme while US No.2 Olivia Blatchford Clyne lost out to New Zealand’s Joelle King.
The day’s biggest upset saw Malaysia’s World No.48 Sivasangari Subramaniam down World No.13 Alison Waters to set up a meeting with England’s Sarah-Jane Perry, marking the first time she has reached the last 16 of a PSA Platinum event.
The third round begins today (Monday October 7) at 13:30 (GMT-4) local time, with all matches taking place on the glass court in Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The action will be broadcast on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour.
PSA World Tour Platinum FS Investments US Open 2019, Daskalakis Athletic Center, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. (Equal prize money: $185,500 for both men and women).
Men’s Second Round:
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (38m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-2, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8 (59m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7 (70m)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-9, 5-11, 11-1, 11-7 (49m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4 (47m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2 (55m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 8-11, 13-11, 11-5, 10-6 retired (61m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 15-13 (49m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2: 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6 (65m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (59m)
Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-5 (51m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-3, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7 (49m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 13-11, 11-6, 11-3 (53m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-4 (61m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [WC] Andrew Douglas (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-7 (45m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9 (68m)
Men’s Third Round (Top Half, October 7):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
 Diego Elias (PER) v Joel Makin (WAL)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half, October 8):
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Zahed Salem (EGY) v  Simon Rosner (GER)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Women’s Second Round:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (23m)
 Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-2: 11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 4-11, 11-5 (47m)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (29m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5 (43m)
Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt  Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (26m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-2: 12-10, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4 (70m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-1 (19m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-1, 5-11, 11-2, 11-9 (45m)
 Salma Hany (EGY) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 (25m)
 Joey Chan (HKG) bt Lee Ka Yi (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (25m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-0: 11-1, 17-15, 11-9 (40m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-1: 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7 (34m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-2: 7-11, 11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9 (50m)
 Annie Au (HKG) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-1: 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4 (39m)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt [WC] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (26m)
Women’s Third Round (Top Half, October 7):
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Yathreb Adel (EGY)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half), October 8):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Joey Chan (HKG) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
Report by SEAN REUTHE (PSA). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures courtesy of PSA