Day FOUR Reports

Abou wins in 2, means that Ali is out…

[8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 2-0 [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)  11-9, 11-3 (24m)


“Do you think Karim realised that he needed to do more tonight to avoid to play Shorbagy?” somebody asked me as I was arriving at the hotel at the end of a again a long match of squash.

I was asked also “did Karim lose in purpose to kick Ali out”?

So, to the first question, my answer is “probably not. If I just got married and was enjoying married life in the Egyptian sense of the word, my mind would be totally elsewhere, and I truly wouldn’t know about the calculations of the group.”

To the second question “what would be his interest??? The chance to play Shorbagy??? So no, the answer is no, absolutely no.”

Close 1/1, 2/2, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 10/8 Abou, 11/9, with the Bullet only make one unforced error. 5 unforced errors in the first game for Karim…

I guess had Karim won the first game, he would have pushed a bit more, but probably he felt well, I’m qualified, let’s save the little energy I have left for the semis… And the second, he didn’t show up, 6 errors, 3/1 Abou, 7/2, 11/3 in still 11m…. So he did try bless him…



I was watching Ali’s match with Paul Coll. We were both joking about it, but I didn’t know the calculations before. I had it in my mind, like the Liverpool scenario, that anything can happen in sport and if I have the right attitude then I can pull anything through and I’m happy I did.

I think the motivation for both of us was different. I came here to give myself one more chance and he was already qualified, so I think the motivation was different. I was happy I took advantage of that and I’m so happy to be in the semis.

I’ve never had a good win in Egypt, so to have it now and on a big stage like this then I hope it doesn’t stop here and keeps going.


Second Bagel in two matches for Nour against SJ…

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 2-0 [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)  11-0, 11-5 (15m)


Don’t ask me what happened on there, as I was writing my report of the previous match (Ali/Paul). Normally, I managed to catch up in the second game, but on this case, as the first game was 5m, I didn’t!

I remember Nour bagelling SarahJane in the DPD Open in the last game, on a freezing cold court. Well, she proved tonight she can do it on a very warm court as well I guess! Like I said, I just heard the game, and it looked like  spotless squash from Nour…

The second was longer, 9m, and saw SJ score her first point at 6/0. Again, short rallies, and SJ looking outplayed in that one as well, but again, I closed my computer from the previous match report at 10/5 match ball!!!!



I’ve no idea how it happened, I was so nervous all of today, I kept watching Netflix to try not to think about the match. I felt it was a big match and I needed the win, I wanted to get into the last four of the tournament.

I’m very happy with how it went, I know SJ can come back from any score gap, so whenever I got to nine I knew she could come back, so I had to keep going because I know how good she can be.

I was thinking, how is it that SJ can play so well against Nour (El Sherbini) and then she can’t play against me. And I cannot play against Nour, and I can against SJ. So funny…

“Personally, I think the best of three suits my game, if we had a third game today then SJ might have come back so I’m happy and believe the best of three has a place. I played a tough match with Nouran yesterday and I feel it works well for any player – physical, talented and I think there is a place for sure.

“I’m very pleased to be in the semis and playing against Raneem will be tough. We are in a Wadi Degla arena, but hopefully the crowd will be even


What a thriller between Spiderman and Superman….

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) 2-1 [5] Paul Coll (NZL)  9-11, 12-10, 11-9 (69m)


Again today, like yesterday, I felt that Ali was not all there when he started the match. I had that feeling – and I could be completely wrong – that Ali just didn’t want to go through the pain he went through only a few days ago in Hull, in the match that was voted the best match of the season, BO semis… I had that feeling years ago when Nick played again Ramy in the TOC as he just lost the match of all matches against him in Saudi only days before. He “refused the obstacle”. Well, I felt that Ali did just that… to begin with…. It changed as the match went along….

First game finally showed Coll’s Dad what his kiddo could do. And if for only that, it was worth it. Paul today played at his level, which is in my opinion top 3. Like he did in Hull, it was like his game, his efforts, his hard work to enrich his game of an attacking style he didn’t possess 1 year ago, finally like a puzzle jammed up.

Great start for Paul, 2/0, then close, 3/3, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. The winners are coming from Ali’s racquet that seems a bit sluggish to start with, just a bit passive, like I said, a bit reluctant… still, it’s as close as it comes, 11/9 in 22m, 5 winners Ali, 10 Paul…


My explanation why those two just get always the best out of each other comes from the fact they luuuve both playing at a mid pace: so they are both at their best at the other’s game/pace….

Second game sees Paul fly out there, seriously dominating the rallies, sending Ali the wrong way a few times, still making him do a lot of work and producing some superb squash. 4/0, 6/1 Paul, and it looks like Paul is finally going to get his first win.

But we are in Egypt. And at the back of the glass, we have Nour, Ali’s wife, Wael, Ali’s brother, Karim Darwish, his coach/mentor, and Mum Mona, and Amr Dad, and and and. You do not lose 2/0 against such a support. So he claws back. Point per point, forcing 2 errors out of the New Zealander.

And we are back level 6/6, 7/7. 9/7 Ali, Paul’s turn to level, 9/9. A slower pace from both player, lobbing each other. A matchball for Ali saved, 10/0. The second match ball is the good one, 12/10, 23m. 9 winners for Ali, but 8 for Paul. Quality, quality.


The crowd is wild. It’s a superb match, they love Paul’s style, and their man is pushing and still alive… The third will always be led by Ali, although Paul is always close and dangerous to say the least. It’s superb squash, fair, intense, accurate, I truly loved every minute.

10/6, match ball, it’s all over. Like Heck it is. Paul as often when at that stage, just frees up and finds some exquisite angles, and depth, mixed with delicate winners. At 91/0, the crowd holds their breath, but it’s a quick rally, deep crosscourt that Paul cannot get and it’s finally the Harvard/Wadi Degla that takes that crucial win… 20m last game…

Today, Spiderman beat Superman, again. But for how long…



For the first time ever I care more about the calculations of the group stage than the process and this is something that has annoyed me all night and all day. But I had to accept that was the way it was today.

Paul is an incredible athlete. We all give him a lot of credit for athleticism, but we so often forget the tactical masterclass that he puts together sometimes. He knows how to play against every opponent, he learns and every time he comes back with a different tactic. He is very smart and I’m so proud to get the win today.

You could see in the first that he was dominating the T area and I wasn’t hitting my targets, so I had to change my tactics with Karim Darwish and Nour El Tayeb. I’m very pleased with the way I dealt with things today and how I won today.

I’ve got something else to care about first because Nour is playing and then after that, whether I go through or not, I am really proud with the way I dealt with things today and at least I can go home with no regrets.


Nouran takes her third victory out of 12 matches, and her 2nd in a row!

[6] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-1 [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 6-11, 11-5, 11-7 (33m)


The expression on Nouran’s face as she scored the last point said it all. Incredulity, ecstasy, and pure joy.

Yes, she had beaten Nour in Gouna, and that was her second win ever against the World Champ, the first being when they first played, first round of the Wadi Degla worlds in 2014….  But it could have been a fluke. And as Nouran hadn’t been playing her best in round 1 here against Nour El Tayeb, to be honest, my money was on Nour. What I don’t know about Squash could fill a few shelves….

First, Nour was on fire, like she’s been lately. Starting very well but crumbling a bit at the later stage it seemed, today was no different unfortunately for the Alexandria star. 4/0, 6/3, 11/6 in 11m, 10 winners for Nour, only 4 for Nouran.

Nour seemed to keep on going with the momentum, 3/0, only to see Nouran, hitting the ball hard and accurately – the form she had in Hull really – strung 7 points in a row. And although Nour will manage to score two more points, it’s Nouran’s game, 11/5 in 8 short minutes. Nouran still to make an error, 2 errors in each game for Nour.


The third is all about Nouran’s power, hitting again as hard and accurately she’s been hitting recently, 5/1, 4/5, caught up 7/7with Nour encouraged by her Dad and also brother Omar, who is normally very quiet and only talking when she is in danger.

Danger Nour was as from 7/7, she wouldn’t be allowed to score another point, 12m and it’s 11/7 for an ecstatic WadiDegla CIB player. Only 2 errors the whole match, and 8 winners in the last game for 4 winners only for Nour…



I have so much respect for Nour and the way she is playing recently is unbelievable. I learn a lot from her and her character on court. She is a very tough opponent and to beat her you have to play with everything you have and maybe a bit extra as well.

I had to find new solutions today and be up to those challenges as well. We were trying to implement our game and I think it was a good match for the crowd as well.

The major part of my game is to keep the ball alive and I like to put pressure on my opponent so I have to keep the ball warm. She’s the complete opposite and likes to flick and hold her hand a little bit before hitting every shot, which is unbelievable and it’s a contrast of games.

I think there is a slight rivalry between the different cities in Egypt, especially the club where Nour comes from as it is a big club and has had very good juniors in the past such as ElShorbagy and Nour and they have a really tough game to play against. There is always a rivalry between Cairo and Alexandria and this competitive thing, I think it’s the main reason we are good at squash in Egypt.


Diego running on fumes pushes Tarek all the way …

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-1 [7] Diego Elias (PER)  11-2, 4-11, 11-8 (46m)


What an interesting/strange match that was…

First game, Diego never showed up, courtesy of Tarek, taking him to the throat and never let it go, 11/2 in 7m, only to the Perivian taking centre stage in the second, with Tarek falling to pieces, 7 unforced errors – I kid you not.

Finally in the 3rd, we had a match, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/6. A marathon rally at that point, a stroke for Tarek, over ruled to a let, but damage to Diego’s legs has been done. Three lovely winners, 9/6 for the Egyptian.


But as he seemed down and out, the young man just keeps pushing, digs in, and claws back to 8/9… and at the point, of course, the ball dies!

Both players, not happy to have to warm up the ball, which on top of that seems to bounce extremely high!!! But it’s finally a match ball for Tarek 10/8 and with a ball that flies out of court, it’s Tarek that moves to the semis… last game was 24 long minutes….


There are so many positives to take out of this match, especially in the last part of the third game because so many things went against me.

I was trying to work him hard and I put in a lot of effort myself and towards the end I felt like I had a slight advantage physically. Then all of a sudden the ball was gone and he had the time to recover.

I was really happy I remained calm, I kept talking positively to myself, I kept telling myself to forget about the lead you and the physical advantage, forget about everything, it’s just two points so fight for them and get the win.

I’m happy with that and how I recovered after playing a perfect first game and then I kind of played too much to the front and he capitalised on that. I saw the momentum shift and I’m very happy I was able to get the win eventually.

I think it’s the way I play, I’m an attacker and I like to attack a lot. I’ve tried to get the balance right between not attacking too much to the front and being effective when I chose to go to the front and it has paid off and it helps me to put a lot of work into my opponents legs. I get tired as well, but it’s a very small difference towards the end as to who wins.

Camille qualified but “I loved my week here” said Tesni

[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [8] Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-5, 13-11 (28m)


The head to head was pretty one sided, 9/0 (that’s only the PSA events, not counting the Worlds or European teams), and today, Camille was in control quite comfortably in the first game, 3-0, 7-3 10m, 11-5.

The second game saw a match more intense and pro-active Welsh Jester, taking the game to Camille and showing what she was made of. 1/1, 3/3, then 6/3 and looking really assertive. Camille just put more weight in the ball, and it seemed to work for a while, 5 points in a row, 8/6.

But if Camille managed to set up a first match ball, 10/8, Tesni just put the foot on the accelerator, and made the court very big for the French. At 10/10, Camille went for the “let’s go back to basics”, straightened her shots, and push the ball to the back. It worked. 13/11, 10 winners for the French, 7 for Tes: high quality squash….



I loved it!  I really enjoyed my time here. It was my first time in the event, and my aim was to prove that I deserved to be a part of it. It was so cool to be a part of it.

I think I played OK, and I hope that I qualify for the coming years, keep on improving, and build on it for next season…


From the beginning I saw that Tesni was not moving as well as usually. But she is such a fighter and whatever happened I knew she was going to give it her all in the second. She tried to find some good solutions and it almost worked, it was a good tactic but I’m happy that I found my solutions in the end.

Every match is tough and everyone deserves to be in the semis, but I feel lucky that it’s me and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

I’m happy with this end of the season. I’ve been pretty consistent in making quarters and semis, but didn’t win any tournaments, so if I could go into the final this week then I would be even more happy.