16 Sep 2018

Egypt & England to contest Women’s World Final in Dalian

For the fifth year time in seven years, Egypt and England will contest the final of the CGG WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship in China after the top two seeds survived semi-finals in the biennial World Squash Federation championship which went the full distance.

Defending champions Egypt, boasting a powerful squad featuring four players in the world top six, were the first to make the final after overcoming surprise opponents Hong Kong China, the fifth seeds who defeated No.3 seeds USA in the quarter-finals at the Xigang Gymnasium in the city of Dalian.

Second string Raneem El Welily, currently the world’s second best player, eased Egypt ahead following a straight games win over Hong Kong left-hander Joey Chan. But the favourites suffered an uncharacteristic setback – for the second time in 24 hours – when top string Nour El Sherbini, the world No.1, went down in five games to the top-ranked Hong Kong player Annie Au (both pictured above).

Au led 1/0 and 2/1 – then squandered a match ball in the fourth before finally closing out the match 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-3 to level the tie. Despite a brave fight in the decider, HK event debutant Lee Ka Yi, the fourth string ranked 57 in the world, was no match for Nour El Tayeb, going down to the world No.3 from Egypt 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (both pictured below).

“Our number one player is always going to have a tricky match,” said Egypt coach Amr Shabana later. “But you have to give it to the Hong Kong federation – their system is amazing. I remember maybe 15 years ago, it was a surprise when a Hong Kong player did well – now it’s not a surprise! The Hong Kong federation and the national team should be very proud of themselves.

“Even their number four player today was playing against our number three player – and she was very promising. As the Egyptian national team, we have to be very proud to have got through this match.

“But we’re in the final now, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s job done for me. It was up to me not to lose before the final, and if we do win this tournament none of the credit is to me. We’re playing with the best players in the world and all I am trying to do is manage them and get the best out of them. Once they step out on court tomorrow it’s up to them. So far so good!”

The later semi-final bore a striking similarity to the first – when England took the lead, then saw surprise opponents France, the sixth seeds, strike back before the second seeds restored order with a straightforward win in the decider.

In only the fourth championship meeting between the two nations in 31 years, England moved ahead through Sarah-Jane Perry, who beat French opponent Coline Aumard 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6.

France then registered their first ever match win over England in the competition when world No.5 Camille Serme extended her 11-8 head-to-head record over Laura Massaro by beating the former world No.1 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 to level the tie.

With some 200 world ranking positions between them, it was perhaps no surprise that England’s experienced world No.10 Alison Waters needed only three games to overcome French opponent Melissa Alves (both pictured above) 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 to put England into the final.

The semi-final success extends England’s remarkable record of having been in every final, bar one, since 1981 – 37 years ago!

“It’s never straightforward,” explained England coach David Campion. “Especially when you’ve got players shooting at you like you saw at the end there with Melissa.

“Our team is vastly experienced – but there are a lot of top players here, so you’ve got to prepare for every match. You can’t expect to just walk into a final. We’ll push Egypt as hard as we can!”

There was drama in both the ties in the play-offs for the 5-8 places. Third seeds USA beat No.7 seeds New Zealand – third string Reeham Sedky being taken the full distance by the Kiwi No.2 Amanda Landers-Murphy before winning 11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 in 57 minutes, then US No.1 Amanda Sobhy pulling through against Joelle King (both pictured in action below) when the NZ world No.4 was forced to retire hurt with a toe injury to her left foot.

“We had to regroup after yesterday’s loss – of course, we were disappointed,” admitted US coach Thierry Lincou. “We rested Reeham and today she was fresh and ready to go. We hoped she would inject some positivity into the group and she had good start – it was close but she did a good job

“We knew that the second match would be tough especially after Amanda’s match yesterday and Joelle’s win yesterday. So we knew that the first one would be important.

“So winning the first one enabled us to relax. We knew had the advantage in the first string.

“Then Amanda went out there very relaxed and played super squash.”

USA move progress to meet Malaysia in the playoff for fifth place for the second time in a row after the No.4 seeds triumphed over eighth seeds Canada. Playing in the event for the first time since 2014 after a two-year layoff following knee surgery, Low Wee Wern gave Malaysia the perfect start by fighting back from 2/0 and match-ball down to beat Danielle Letourneau (both pictured below) 6-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-2, 11-5.

Team number one Nicol David clinched the win by beating Samantha Cornett 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 before 16-year-old Aifa Azman showed enormous promise by beating Canadian Hollie Naughton 11-6, 11-4 in the best-of-three dead rubber.

“It was good today – Wee Wern was great,” said Malaysian coach Peter Genever. “She played first and was two games and match-ball down and came back and won. Then Nicol was dominant and played at a really good tempo and played beautifully in the end.

“Then Aifa in the dead rubber was good – I told her, we still want to win 3/0 – and she played positively. She’s going to be really good for us in the future. Overall, it was a good result for us.

“Now we’ll play the US who beat us in the same match in the last edition – they came fifth and we came sixth – so maybe we can get a little revenge, but it’s going to be tough!”

[1] EGYPT bt [5] HONG KONG CHINA 2/1
Raneem El Welily bt Joey Chan 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (24m)
Nour El Sherbini lost to Annie Au 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 3-11 (51m)
Nour El Tayeb bt Lee Ka Yi 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (21m)

[2] ENGLAND bt [6] FRANCE 2/1
Sarah-Jane Perry bt Coline Aumard 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (41m)
Laura Massaro lost to Camille Serme 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11 (52m)
Alison Waters bt Melissa Alves 11-6, 11-3, 12-10 (25m)

France & Hong Kong gatecrash World Team Semis in Dalian

France and Hong Kong China upset the form book in today’s quarter-finals of the CGG WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship in China by despatching fourth seeds Malaysia and third seeds USA, respectively, to secure surprise semi-final berths in the 2018 edition of the biennial World Squash Federation championship being staged in the seaport city of Dalian.

It was Hong Kong who produced the event’s first significant upset on one of the two all-glass showcourts at the Xigang Gymnasium. Seeded five, the recently-crowned Asian Games gold medallists came into the quarter-finals knockout stage of the championship as underdogs – having lost to Asian rivals Malaysia in the qualifying stage and therefore ending up as runners-up in the Pool.

It was the Hong Kong number one Annie Au who set the tone for the upset, twice leading against Amanda Sobhy and twice seeing the US top string fight back to draw level. But world No.11 Au (pictured below with Sobhy) led throughout the decider to close out the match 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5 after 53 minutes to put the fifth seeds in the driving seat.

Fellow left-hander Joey Chan made the most of the opportunity – and repeated her victory over Olivia Blatchford last week in Shanghai by beating the US number two 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11 in 41 minutes to take Hong Kong into the semi-finals for the third time in a row.

“There was always a chance,” said HK national coach Chris Robertson when asked if USA had been their ideal opponents in the knockout stage. “On paper there was definitely a chance. I don’t think we were favourites, which is why we were seeded five and they were seeded three.

“We played quite well against Malaysia – a 3/2 and two 3/1s, and Annie was 2/0 up against Nicol (David) – so it wasn’t as if we hadn’t been playing OK. Obviously we had a really good Jakarta, so the girls are a little bit more used to winning.

“So today was in many ways our final. We just wanted to give just one last push. Both Rebecca (Chiu) and I told the girls: just use the whole of the court a bit more. Annie and Joey are both good shot players – and Annie just set the tone. She just attacked.

“Once she won, it changed the dynamics a little bit: Joey has a chance, and Joey beat Olivia just last week in Shanghai, so you know you’ve got a chance. And she went out there and played – and used the front of the court a little bit more than she’s done earlier in the week.

“I don’t we were favourite at number three so maybe the playing order today helped us a little bit.

“You’ve just got to take the opportunities when they come – and I don’t think we did that against Malaysia. But I think we did it a little bit more today.

“I’m absolutely delighted. To come here and win a medal is really beyond our expectations. Now we can go and play Egypt with absolutely zero expectation – and go on and enjoy it!”

It was in the evening session that France, led by world No.5 Camille Serme, pulled off the day’s second upset by denying Malaysia a place in the last four for the second time in succession. Serme led by example, taking just three games to overcome her illustrious opponent Nicol David, the former world No.1 (both pictured above), 11-9, 11-2, 11-5.

David, making her ninth successive appearance in the championships since 2002, boasted a 19-2 head-to-head record over the French number one going into the match – and the win proved to be Serme’s third in a row over the past 10 months.

Buoyed by this unexpected advantage, France’s second string Coline Aumard recovered from a game down to defeat Malaysian teenager Sivasangari Subramaniam 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 before collapsing in tears of joy with her jubilant team-mates (all pictured below) on the showcourt.

“Today Camille played really, really, well – and maybe Coline played her best game ever,” said French coach Philippe Signoret afterwards. “I am so happy for the girls. We were seeded six and we now have a bronze medal – and maybe more!”

Hong Kong now play defending champions Egypt for a place in the final – but the firm favourites suffered a major blow in their tie against 7th seeds New Zealand when top string Nour El Sherbini, the world No.1, went down 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 to Kiwi Joelle King (see below), ranked three places lower.

Order was quickly restored when last week’s China Open champion Raneem El Welily, the world No.2, defeated Amanda Landers-Murphy 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 to level the tie for the top seeds before Nour El Tayeb clinched Egypt’s anticipated place in the semis by dismissing Abbie Palmer 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 in just 14 minutes.

“I know that Nour Sherbini is always going to have strong matches – because, if anything, all the countries have at least one or two good players,” explained Egypt coach Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion, later.

“She started off well – but what I really liked about Joelle today was that her demeanour inside the court was amazing. She was very positive, very composed and focussed.

“For Nour, it is still early in the season and she didn’t have that very high level of concentration that Joelle had. And I think today was a match of attitude – it wasn’t a match of attrition or skill … it was more of a mental match. And I think Joelle, being early in the season, had the superiority today.

“Joelle is a very solid player – you can see from the results – and she deserved her win today.

“This is early in the season and Nour likes to take her time and ease into things. She only started training in August. She likes to peak towards the majors of the year – even though this is important for her. We’re lucky to also have 2, 3 and 6 in the world in the team!

“This has been very good for our players – they are still young, believe it or not. Even Raneem is young in her squash years – so it is good to be in this position today. It’s been very good for us to be put in this position.

“But, in the world teams you are playing for your country – you are not playing for yourself – so it’s very easy to get stressed out. It’s good to experience this stress – it’s very healthy to be put in this position.”

Former champions England were the final team to secure their place in the semi-finals – beating 8th seeds Canada to set up the last four clash with European rivals France. Team number one Laura Massaro battled for 45 minutes to overcome her Canadian equivalent Samantha Cornett (both pictured above) 7-11, 11-8, 11-6, 13-11 – having to save game balls in the fourth to prevent a decider.

It took just 24 minutes to seal the semi slot after England number two Alison Waters beat Hollie Naughton 11-1, 11-6, 11-6.

Main Draw Released for Carol Weymuller Open

The main draw for next month’s Carol Weymuller Open has been released, with Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb and England’s World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry seeded to meet in the final of the PSA World Tour Bronze event, which will take place at the Heights Casino between October 17-22.

El Tayeb - who beat Perry in the quarter-finals of last week’s J.P. Morgan China Squash Open - is seeded on the same side of the draw as England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters and United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford.

The Egyptian receives a bye into the second round and will take on either United States’ World No.43 Haley Mendez – who grew up playing squash at the Heights Casino - or compatriot and World No.20 Hania El Hammamy for a place in the last eight.

Birmingham-born Perry is seeded to meet compatriot Victoria Lust in the quarter-finals and will have to navigate a draw that also contains the likes of Wales’ World No.12 Tesni Evans and United States’ former World No.6 Amanda Sobhy.

The Carol Weymuller Open will be the first PSA World Tour Bronze tournament to take place under the new PSA Tour structure, meaning that qualification has been scrapped and a 24-player draw will battle it out for the title, with the top eight seeds receiving a bye into the second round.

For more information on the tournament, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

2018 Carol Weymuller Open – Main Draw

[1] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [Bye]

Haley Mendez (USA) v [9/16] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)

[9/16] Mariam Metwally (EGY) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)

[8] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [Bye]

[6] Olivia Blatchford (USA) [Bye]

Milou van der Heijden (NED) v [9/16] Hollie Naughton (CAN)

[9/16] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)

[3] Alison Waters (ENG) [Bye]

[4] Tesni Evans (WAL) [Bye]

Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v [9/16] Mayar Hany (EGY)

[9/16] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)

[7] Salma Hany (EGY) [Bye]

[5] Victoria Lust (ENG) [Bye]

Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [9/16] Amanda Sobhy (USA)

[9/16] Nele Gilis (BEL) v [WC] Nicole Bunyan (CAN)

[2] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [Bye]

Seede through to World Teams Quarters in China

The third day of Pool matches saw the playoff positions df the WSF Women’s World Teams Champoionship in Dalian, China, decided – top two in each pool progress to the quarter-finals, the bottom two enter the 9-16 playoffs.

Top seeds Egypt, England, USA and Malaysia had already qualified with two wins out of two, and they all played the bottom-ranked teams in their Pools, all wrapping things up with a third 3-0 win to finish top of the pools.

The  eight second and third ranked teams met to battle it out for the second qualifying spot in each pool, all starting on one win each. In the morning session the Canada v Australia and New Zealand v Japan Pool A and B matches both went to deciders, but it was 7th and 8th seeds New Zealand and Canada who prevailed to secure their spots in the last eight.

The evening session saw very quick matches, with Hong Kong and France quickly clinching their quarter-final spots with 3-0 wins over South Africa and India.

Day Three Matches
14.00 B [7] New Zealand 2-1 [10] Japan
14.00 B [2] England 3-0 Finland
14.00 A [1] Egypt 3-0 Germany
14.00 A [8] Canada 2-1 [9] Australia
18.00 D [5] Hong Kong 3-0 [12] South Africa
18.00 D [4] Malaysia 3-0 Switzerland
18.00 C [6] France 3-0 [11] India
18.00 C [3] USA 3-0 China
Lineups for tomorrow’s playoff matches :
14.00 CC2  [1] Egypt v [7] New Zealand 14.00 C2  Australia v Finland
14.00 CC1  [3] USA v [5] Hong Kong 14.00 C1  India v Switzerland
18.00 CC1  [4] Malaysia v [6] France 18.00 C1  South Africa v China
18.00 CC2  [2] England v [8] Canada 18.00 C2  Japan v Germany

Farag to Begin U.S. Open Title Defence Against Coll

Defending men’s champion Ali Farag will get his title defence under way at the FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships with a mouth-watering fixture against New Zealand’s World No.10 Paul Coll at the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament taking place at Drexel University’s Daskalakis Athletic Center between October 6-13.

Farag made history last year in Philadelphia when he claimed his biggest ever title on the PSA Tour just moments after wife Nour El Tayeb had lifted the women’s title, meaning the pair became the first married couple in sporting history ever to win the same major sports title on the same day.

Harvard-graduate Farag receives a bye into the second round at this year’s tournament as a result of the new PSA Tour structure - which came into effect on August 1 - but he’ll have a stern test right from the off as he faces the dangerous Kiwi Coll, who reached the final of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open last week.

The men’s draw will be lit up by some incredible second round fixtures, with 2007 runner-up James Willstrop taking on World No.4 Tarek Momen, World No.5 Simon Rösner lining up against Peru’s World No.11 Diego Elias and World No.3 Marwan ElShorbagy playing England No.1 Daryl Selby.

Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy will get his tournament off to a start against either Australia’s Cameron Pilley or local hero Todd Harrity, while his opposite number in the women’s draw, two-time runner-up Nour El Sherbini, will play either Hong Kong’s Joey Chan or Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in round two.

World No.3 El Tayeb is drawn on the same side of the draw as El Sherbini and is seeded to meet her fellow Egyptian in the semi-finals. The 25-year-old begins her title defence against either India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik or Canadian Danielle Letourneau.

World Champion Raneem El Welily is the number two seed in the women’s game and she is seeded to meet New Zealand’s Joelle King in the last four as the Egyptian aims to improve on last year’s runner-up finish.

The tournament’s wildcards comprise of Christopher Gordon and Andrew Douglas in the men’s event, who will take on England’s Declan James and France’s Mathieu Castagnet, respectively.

The women’s wildcards are US Nationals runner-up Reeham Sedky and Olivia Fiechter, who will look forward to respective fixtures against Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy and Australia’s Donna Lobban.

In addition to the $338,000 prize fund - which will be split equally between the men’s and women’s draw for a sixth year in a row - a place at the PSA World Tour Finals will also be up for grabs, with both the men’s and women’s winners guaranteeing their places at the season-ending tournament.

Action from the glass court situated in the Daskalakis Athletic Center will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will be shown live by major broadcasters around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.

Tickets start from $25 and can be purchased on the tournament website: www.usopensquash.com/tickets

Follow the tournament on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

2018 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships – Men’s Draw
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) (bye)
Todd Harrity (USA) v [9/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[9/32] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v (bye)
Ben Coleman (ENG) v [9/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[9/32] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
[9/32] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) (bye)
[9/32] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
[8] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) (bye)
[5] Simon Rösner (GER) (bye)
[9/32] Diego Elias (PER) (bye)
[9/32] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) (bye)
[9/32] Omar Mosaad (EGY) (bye)
[9/32] Declan James (ENG) v [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA)
Adrian Waller (ENG) v [9/32] Borja Golan (ESP)
[9/32] James Willstrop (ENG) (bye)
[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) (bye)
[3] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) (bye)
[9/32] Daryl Selby (ENG)
[9/32] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v George Parker (ENG)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [9/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
[9/32] Max Lee (HKG) v Mohamed Reda (EGY)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v [9/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[9/32] Lucas Serme (FRA) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
[6] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) (bye)
[7] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) (bye)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [9/32] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[9/32] Leo Au (HKG) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Arturo Salazar (MEX) v [9/32] Zahed Salem (EGY)
[9/32] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [WC] Andrew Douglas (USA)
Joel Makin (WAL) v [9/32] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[9/32] Paul Coll (NZL) (bye)
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) (bye)

2018 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships – Women’s Draw
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) (bye)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [17/32] Joey Chan (HKG)
[17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[10] Alison Waters (ENG) (bye)
[15] Salma Hany (EGY) (bye)
Haley Mendez (USA) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
[6] Nouran Gohar (EGY) (bye)
[5] Camille Serme (FRA) (bye)
[WC] Reeham Sedky (USA) v [17/32] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
[17/32] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[11] Annie Au (HKG) (bye)
[13] Victoria Lust (ENG) (bye)
Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) v [17/32] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
[17/32] Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) (bye)
[4] Joelle King (NZL) (bye)
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v [17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY)
[17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY) v Nikki Todd (CAN)
[12] Tesni Evans (WAL) (bye)
[16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) (bye)
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Coline Aumard (FRA)
[17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
[8] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) (bye)
[7] Laura Massaro (ENG) (bye)
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v [17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
[17/32] Donna Lobban (AUS) v [WC] Olivia Fiechter (USA)
[9] Nicol David (MAS) (bye)
[14] Olivia Blatchford (USA) (bye)
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[17/32] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Ho Tze-Lok (HKG)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) (bye)

13 Sep 2018

Alexandria International Postponed Until November

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has confirmed that the Alexandria International Squash Open - initially scheduled for September 17-21, 2018 - has been postponed until November, 2018 due to unforeseen circumstances.

The PSA World Tour Gold tournament - which was initially set to be held at Bibliothecha Alexandrina - will now take place between November 5-10 at the Madinaty Sports Club in New Cairo.

"We have worked closely with the organising team over the past few weeks and we believe that postponing the tournament until November will result in us being able to put on a top-class event," said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.

"We are looking forward to the rest of the season and the Alexandria International will be an important part of the PSA Tour calendar over the coming months."

Top Four Seeds Clinch Quarter-Final Slots In Dalian World Championship

Despite it only being the second day of qualifying action in the CGG WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship in China, it was an important one for the top four seeds Egypt, England, USA and Malaysia – all of whom pulled out all the stops and confirmed their positions in the quarter-final knockout stage of the biennial World Squash Federation championship in the seaport city of Dalian.

Arguably, the key tie was the afternoon battle between Malaysia, the fourth seeds, and Asian rivals Hong Kong China – the fifth seeds who less than two weeks ago deposed Malaysia as the Women’s team gold medallists in the Asian Games

11 Sep 2018

China set to make Squash History in Dalian

Squash history will be made when China hosts its first World Squash Championship – and the first ever to stage all matches on all-glass courts – when teams from the five continents compete in the 21st CGG WSF Women’s World Team Championship in the Liaoning Province seaport city of Dalian.

With 15 players from the world top 20 amongst the 62 representing 16 nations, the biennial World Squash Federation event takes place at the Xigang Gymnasium – featuring two all-glass showcourts, with arena seating, plus four permanent all-glass courts – from 11-16 September.

Egypt, with four players in the world top six including world No.2 Raneem El Welily fresh from her unexpected triumph in last week’s China Open in Shanghai, are the top seeds – firm favourites to become the first team to successfully defend the title since Australia in 2004. Egypt open their 2018 campaign against Australia, the No.9 seeds, in Pool A.

England boast the unprecedented record of having competed in all but one final since making their debut in the event 37 years ago in 1981! The No.2 seeds face Japan, the tenth seeds, on day one of their bid to reach the final for the 13th time in a row.

USA are one of only three teams to have competed in every championship since the inaugural event in 1979 – and, as third seeds, are expected to reach the semi-finals for the first time ever.

“It’s feels good to be in this position – it is a sign that USA are recognised as a force in the women’s game,” conceded US coach Thierry Lincou, the former world No.1 and world champion from France (pictured below, left, with his squad).

“But this is just a seeding – we’ve never reached the top four before. After finishing fifth the last two times, it means that we are getting there. We are in a better position to achieve a top four finish. I think everyone is proud and very excited.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment since the last time. We were so happy to finish fifth – but we thought we could have done a little better. We were seeded seven and it was really tough – but the seeding this year is a little more in our favour. That’s why we are so excited – it’s pure excitement, motivation and desire.”

Malaysia, who recorded a best-ever runner-up finish in 2014, but slumped to a sixth place finish last time, are the fourth seeds in Dalian. The team will led by Nicol David, the former world number one who is celebrating her ninth successive appearance in the championships since 2002. Completing the squad will be Low Wee Wern and teenagers Sivasangari Subramaniam and Aifa Azman.

“The top two teams are obviously a little bit further ahead than everybody else in terms of rankings,” admitted Malaysian coach Peter Genever (pictured below with his squad). “Our priority to start with is to try and get through the pool on top and then take it from there. But we’ve got a very strong team. Nicol played well in China last week – she’s in good form – and Sangari’s playing very well, and Wee Wern and Aifa too.”

After two years out with a knee injury, Low bounced back two months ago to reach the Malaysian National final then win three Tour events in a row.

“Yes, Wee Wern came back and won her first three PSA tournaments back-to-back. The game’s changed quite a lot since she’s been out, including the lower tin, but she’s adapted to it very well.

“This event is massive for us. Our biggest event is the Asian Games and the women’s team did really well in the individual event with gold and silver, but in the team event we only got a bronze – so that’s given us extra motivation to do well here and show that we are better than our performance there.

“Hong Kong won it and we’ve got Hong Kong in our group so that’s going to be interesting. We’re the higher seeds so coming top of the group would make it slightly easier for us in the knockout stage.”

The city of Dalian hosted a welcome reception for the players on the eve of the event – as pictured above.

France’s Masotti Stuns New Zealand’s Grayson in Round Two of Open International de Squash de Nantes

France’s World No.87 Baptiste Masotti stunned New Zealand’s number six seed Campbell Grayson in round two of the Open International de Squash de Nantes as he booked his place in the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time.

Masotti – who is the only unseeded player left in the men’s draw - caused a huge upset at Le Maison du Squash to knock out World No.37 Grayson – who along with the other top eight seeds received a bye into the second round - by an 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 scoreline.

The Frenchman will now face Finland’s Olli Tuominen, who defeated French wildcard Christophe Andre earlier in the day, in the next round at the stunning théâtre Graslin.

“I was very focused because I wanted to win this match to be able to get on the glass court,” said the 23-year-old Frenchman following his win.

“This is my second win over a player in the top 40 and I hope I can continue playing like this and play a lot of matches here.

“My home town is about a one-hour drive away from here and my father came to watch me play. It feels so good to win, this tournament is really nice and I love being able to play in France.”

In the women’s draw, 18-year-old Lucy Turmel also upset the seedings to become the only unseeded women’s player left in the tournament, after she defeated Netherland’s number five seed Milou van der Heijden in straight-games.

The young Englishwoman will now take on Egypt’s World No.30 Nadine Shahin for a place in the semi-finals of the PSA Challenger Tour event.

“Last time I played Milou I lost 3-1, so I knew it was going to be tough. I knew I had to be confident going into it and it was a hard match even though it was 3-0.”

Over on the glass court at the picturesque 18th century théâtre Graslin, top seeds James Willstrop and Emily Whitlock, along with defending champions Gregoire Marche and Fiona Moverley all secured berths into the next round.

England’s former World No.1 Willstrop avoided a scare against compatriot Patrick Rooney as, after building up a solid 2-0 lead, the top seed appeared to suffer with tiredness and in the end narrowly edged past his younger opponent in front of a packed-out house in Nantes.

“Patrick is too good, and I can’t be off my game really,” said Willstrop following his tough tournament opener.

“He played really well, he worked me so hard and took me to the point where I was exhausted. I’m lucky to win that game because if he had of taken me to a fifth then I don’t think I’d have gone through.

“It’s an outstanding venue and we are very lucky to be able to play here. I have a little bit of an invested interest in it because I love the stage and live theatre, so this habitat is even more exciting for me and that’s why I was so desperate to win today.”

Meanwhile, defending men’s champion Gregoire Marche continued his unbeaten run at the tournament after he conquered compatriot Auguste Dussourd under the lights of the théâtre Graslin.

“Nantes has always been a great venue for me and I think this year it is the most beautiful,” said the 28-year-old Frenchman.

“I remember the first year – it was something great – but every year they keep pushing to make it better. I can’t miss this tournament, it is one of my favourites.”

While in the women’s draw, English duo Whitlock and Moverley saw off Scotland’s Lisa Aitken and South Africa’s Milnay Louw, respectively, in straight-games.

Results – Men’s Round Two

[2] Declan James (ENG) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 (41m)

[5] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Charlie Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 15-13, 11-5 (52m)

[8] Olli Tuominen (FIN) bt [WC] Christophe Andre (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4 (43m)

Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt [6] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (40m)

[7] George Parker (ENG) bt Shehab Essam (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (39m)

[3] Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Bernat Jaume (ESP) 3-1: 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (61m)

[1] James Willstrop (ENG) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9 (51m)

[4] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (51m)

Results – Women’s Round Two

Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt [5] Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (32m)

[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Rachael Chadwick (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (34m)

[7] Alexandra Fuller (RSA) bt Chloe Mesic (FRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (21m)

[6] Julianne Courtice (ENG) bt Kace Bartley (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (24m)

[3] Nadine Shahin (EGY) bt Alison Thomson (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 13-11 (34m)

[8] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Ineta Mackevica (LAT) 3-0: 11-2, 14-12, 11-6 (26m)

[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt Lisa Aitken (SCO) 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 11-1 (36m)

[2] Fiona Moverley (ENG) bt Milnay Louw (RSA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (23m)

Draw – Men’s Quarter-finals: To be played Thursday September 6

[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v [5] Lucas Serme (FRA)

[7] George Parker (ENG) v [3] Zahed Salem (EGY)

To be played Friday September 7:

[8] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)

[4] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [2] Declan James (ENG)

Draw – Women’s Quarter-finals: To be played Thursday September 6

[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [6] Julianne Courtice (ENG)

Lucy Turmel (ENG) v [3] Nadine Shahin (EGY)

To be played Friday September 7:

[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) v [7] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)

[8] Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [2] Fiona Moverley (ENG)

Wildcard Li Beats Former World No.4 Kawy on Day One of China Open

Tournament wildcard Li Dongjin claimed the biggest victory of her career thus far when she overcame Egypt’s former World No.4 Omneya Abdel Kawy at Shanghai’s SECA Academy on the opening day of the 2018 J.P. Morgan China Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament

World No.88 Li has appeared at the China Open since its inception in 2008 and had made it to the second round of the tournament only once, in 2010, over the past decade. Kawy, meanwhile, was ranked in the top 10 as recently as March 2017 but has appeared at just three tournaments over the past 18 months due to the birth of her son.

And the current World No.86 was powerless to stop Li from racking up a 3-0 victory in 26 minutes, with tie-break wins in the first and third games sandwiching a comfortable 11-7 triumph in the second. Li’s second round match will come against reigning World Champion and 2015 winner Raneem El Weily, with the pair set to face off at the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai, which overlooks Shanghai’s famous Bund.

"I have shown my best in the match, I just showed everything I have been trained before," said Li.

"I’m happy to win the game, I’m glad to be here again. Thanks to the support of SECA and the Multi-Ball Games Administrative Centre of General Administration of Sport of China for holding this event. I really treasure being giving the chance to compete with these high level players."

2013 champion Nicol David was also in action today as she got the better of India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik by an 11-3, 14-12, 11-9 margin to claim a seventh successive win against the World No.19.

David - an eight-time World Champion - will contest a mouthwatering second round match with England’s World No.7 Laura Massaro in what will be their 32nd meeting on the PSA Tour, with David currently boasting a 22-9 lead on their head-to-head record.

"I’m always happy to have a 3-0 win in the first round and against Dipika too," said David.

"I was pleased with my performance and I’m adjusting to every moment with each game. I’m looking forward to my match tomorrow with Laura."

The other Asian interest in the opening day’s women’s fixtures came in the form of Hong Kong’s Joey Chan, who beat United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford, and India’s Joshna Chinappa, who got the better of Australia’s Donna Lobban.

In the men’s tournament, Germany’s Raphael Kandra was put through his paces by 2013 World Junior CHampion Karim El Hammamy before coming through a 97-minute encounter to win in five games, setting up a repeat of his British Open semi-final clash with Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the next round.

Kandra’s last tournament on the PSA Tour saw him stun the squash world to reach the last four of the prestigious British Open but he was put through his paces by a dogged showing from El Hammamy, with the World No.22 eventually coming through to win 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6.

Qatar’s World No.28 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi is also through to the last 16 after he cruised past India’s Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, making it two wins over the World No.60 in as many weeks after he also got the better of him at the Asian Games.

“I just played him in the team events at the Asian games and had played him a few times before, so I just had to keep the pressure on him at the back of the court,” said Al Tamimi, who will play Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller in the next round.

“It’s not the way I love to play but it was the way to beat him, I had to get the ball deep in the corners and when he took me short I tried to attack him from the front."

The China Open is the first PSA World Tour Gold tournament to be played under the new PSA Tour structure - which came into effect on August 1 - meaning that the top eight seeds in both the men’s and women’s events receive a bye into round two.

The likes of women’s World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and men’s World No.5 Simon Rösner will start their tournaments tomorrow at the Peninsula Shanghai, while matches will also be played at SECA Academy.

Results - Men’s First Round: 2018 J.P. Morgan China Open
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt Peter Creed (WAL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-8 (51m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 (38m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (34m)
Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 (50m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Mohamed Reda (EGY) 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 (57m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [WC] Wang Junjie (CHN) 11-1, 11-0, 11-3 (17m)
Greg Lobban (SCO) bt. Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-0:
11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (45m)
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt. Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
3-2: 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6 (97m)

Draw - Men’s Second Round: To Be Played September 6
[1] Simon Rösner (GER) v Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Joel Makin (WAL) v [7] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
[8] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v [4] Paul Coll (NZL)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Tom Richards (ENG) v [6] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[5] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v [2] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)

Results - Women’s First Round: 2018 J.P. Morgan China Open
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10 (50m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 11-2, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 (53m)
Alison Waters (ENG) bt Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 15-13, 11-9 (40m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Donna Lobban (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (36m)
Victoria Lust (ENG) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (29m)
Joey Chan (HKG) bt Olivia Blatchford (USA) 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8 (49m)
[WC] Li Dongjin (CHN) bt Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 3-0:
12-10, 11-7, 12-10 (26m)
Nicol David (MAS) bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 3-0:
11-3, 14-12, 11-9 (29m)

Draw - Women’s Second Round: To Be Played September 6
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [9/16] Tesni Evans (WAL)
[9/16] Salma Hany (EGY) v [6] Nouran Gohar (EGY) [Bye]
[5] Camille Serme (FRA) v [9/16] Alison Waters (ENG)
[9/16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) v [4] Joelle King (NZL)
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [9/16] Victoria Lust (ENG)
Joey Chan (HKG) v [8] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
[7] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [9/16] Nicol David (MAS)
[WC] Li Dongjin (CHN) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY)

Citigold Wealth Management Named Lead Partner for Canary Wharf Squash Classic Tournament

Eventis Sports Marketing has announced its partnership with Citigold Wealth Management, for its 2019 Canary Wharf Squash Classic tournament, held in Canary Wharf.  The tournament will now be known as the Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Squash Classic and is the second largest PSA Tour event in Europe, after the British Open. Earlier this year became it became the first ranking PSA Tour event to use a best-of-three scoring format, with Egypt’s World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy taking the honours.

Citi’s partnership with the tournament organisers will kick off at this year’s popular Corporate Challenge, an event that hosts teams formed by Canary Wharf occupants, who battle it out in the hope to be named best corporate squash team in London.  Held in October, this year, the corporate challenge will be rebranded the Citigold Wealth Management Corporate Challenge. The event will be held at London’s iconic East Wintergarden.

"We are thrilled to welcome Citigold Wealth Management on board as title partner of the event and look forward to working with them. We have been searching for a title partner that fits with the events premium status and ideally is a tenant at Canary Wharf, so are very excited to have been able to achieve this with Citi’s involvement," said Tournament Director Tim Garner, of Eventis Sports Marketing. "Citigold Wealth Management is one of the most prominent wealth management organisations in London, and we are pleased to be able to add them to our extensive portfolio of sponsors.”

Salman Haider, Head of UK Consumer Bank and International Personal Bank EMEA, Citi, commented:  “We are pleased to be the title sponsor of the 2019 Canary Wharf Squash Classic tournament. It is great to support such a prestigious event and one that is held right on the doorstep of our Citigold lounge in Canary Wharf”.

Since inception, the Canary Wharf Squash Classic has always had very close links with Canary Wharf Group.  Lucie Moore, Head of Arts+Events comments, “Canary Wharf Group has supported the Squash Classic for over 15 years and we have seen it develop into the PSA World Tour event that it is today.  We are delighted to have the event secured for an additional three years as it forms a key highlight in our varied arts and events programme.  We look forward to welcoming Citigold Wealth Management, one of our longstanding tenants, as the title partner and kicking off the 2019 Corporate Challenge, in our iconic East Wintergarden.” 

The Corporate Challenge was first held in 1983 under the name ‘The Square Mile Squash Competition’ and has become a staple of the Canary Wharf Squash Classic, hosting some of London’s most influential corporations. The 2018 edition was won by Aviva Investors, who defeated OC&C Strategy Consultants in the final.

Garner further commented, "The Corporate Challenge has been an intrinsic part of the Canary Wharf Squash Classic for a number of years and we are looking forward to activating the partnership with the latest instalment of the event."

The 2019 instalment of the Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Squash Classic will see the tournament celebrate its 16th edition and it will again be staged at the East Wintergarden in March, 2019.

Live action from the tournament will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while mainstream channels across the globe will show coverage of the semi-finals and final, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia, Astro and more.

For more information on the tournament, please visit www.citiigoldcanarywharf.com

About Canary Wharf Group

Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16.5m sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.

The Canary Wharf estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens.  It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.

Canary Wharf’s new district, Wood Wharf, will provide up to 3,600 new homes, 2.8m sq ft of office space, 380,000 sq ft of retail space and over eight acres of public spaces, squares and parks. There will also be a GP surgery and a two-form primary school for 420 children.

Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Wildcard Andre Leads French Charge in Round One of Open International de Squash de Nantes

Wildcard and World No.209 Christophe Andre overcame Belgium’s World No.144 Joeri Hapers to reach the second round of the Open International de Squash de Nantes on the opening day of action.
Andre played better than his World Ranking suggests as he powered past Belgian Hapers at le Maison du Squash by an 11-4, 12-10, 11-7 scoreline in 36 minutes and will now face Finland’s number seven seed Olli Tuominen – who along with the other top eight seeds on the men’s and women’s draws received a bye into round two - for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Frenchman will be joined by compatriots Sebastien Bonmalais, Baptiste Masotti and Auguste Dussourd after they all prevailed in their respective round one clashes to complete a successful first round in the men’s draw for the home favourites.
Meanwhile, Chloe Mesic will be the only Frenchwoman in the second round of the tournament after her fellow countrywomen wildcards Julia Le Coq and Marie Stephan fell to England’s Kace Bartley and South Africa’s Milnay Louw, respectively, in round one.
World No.89 Mesic produced a dominant display to defeat Finland’s World No.115 Riina Koskinen in straight-games in just twenty minutes in the opening round and will now face South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller on the second day of action.
“I just tried to play my game and put some pressure on her and not let her create anything,” said the 27-year-old following her victory.
“I know Alexandra [Fuller] is a really good attacking player. I know her game and I like her style, so I’m sure it will be a good match.
“I love to play at this tournament, it’s amazing. It’s a huge event in this country and it’s fantastic for squash to have this event in France and hopefully it will keep growing.”
Elsewhere in the opening round, England’s Patrick Rooney and Scotland’s Lisa Aitken set up respective clashes with top seeds James Willstrop and Emily Whitlock.
World No.103 Rooney comfortably defeated France’s Rohan Mandil in straight-games in the opening round, while Aitken saw off Egyptian Hana Ramadan by a 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 scoreline to ensure both players would get to play at the stunning setting of the théâtre Graslin tomorrow.
“It’s a tournament that I’ve always seen on the calendar and the atmosphere always looks great, so it’s sort of been a bucket-list tournament,” said Scotland’s Aitken.
“I get a chance on the glass court now, which is what we train for, those occasions where there is a massive crowd. The pressure isn’t on me and I just want to have a good shot at it and enjoy the occasion.”
Defending champions Gregoire Marche and Fiona Moverley will face Dussourd and Louw, respectively, at the stunning théâtre Graslin in the city of Nantes as they both look to get their tournaments off to a winning start.
Men’s Round One Results:
Shehab Essam (EGY) bt Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 3-1: 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8 (61m)
Charlie Lee (ENG) bt [WC] Benjamin Aubert (FRA) 3-2: 4-11, 11-7, 11-1, 7-11, 11-2 (55m)
Bernat Jaume (ESP) bt Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 3-2: 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 (67m)
Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Rohan Mandil (FRA) 3-0: 11-1, 11-1, 11-2 (21m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Ondrej Uherka (CZE) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (38m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Matias Tuomi (FIN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (34m)
Auguste Dussourd (FRA) bt David Baillargeon (CAN) 3-1: 3-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (55m)
[WC] Christophe Andre (FRA) bt Joeri Hapers (BEL) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-7 (36m)
Women’s Round One Results:
Lucy Turmel (ENG) bt Cindy Merlo (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 (27m)
Alison Thomson (SCO) bt Ali Hemingway (WAL) 3-1: 9-11, 11-0, 11-6, 11-7 (38m)
Kace Bartley (ENG) bt [WC] Julia Le Coq (FRA) 3-1: 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9 (36m)
Chloe Mesic (FRA) bt Riina Koskinen (FIN) 3-0: 11-3, 11-0, 11-6 (20m)
Lisa Aitken (SCO) bt Hana Ramadan (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 (50m)
Rachael Chadwick (ENG) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (38m)
Milnay Louw (RSA) bt [WC] Marie Stephan (FRA) 3-2: 11-6, 8-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-1 (37m)
Ineta Mackevica (LAT) bt Cristina Gomez (ESP) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 (23m)

Men’s Second Round Draw – To be played September 5:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)
Charlie Lee (ENG) v [5] Lucas Serme (FRA)
[7] George Parker (ENG) v Shehab Essam (EGY)
Bernat Jaume (ESP) v [3] Zahed Salem (EGY)
[8] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v [WC] Christophe Andre (FRA)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v [6] Campbell Grayson (NZL)
[4] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Auguste Dussourd (FRA)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v [2] Declan James (ENG)
Women’s Second Round Draw – To be played September 5:
[1] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Lisa Aitken (SCO)
Kace Bartley (ENG) v [6] Julianne Courtice (ENG)
[5] Milou van der Heijden (NED) v Lucy Turmel (ENG)
Alison Thomson (SCO) v [3] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[4] Nele Gilis (BEL) v Rachael Chadwick (ENG)
Chloe Mesic (FRA) v [7] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
[8] Tinne Gilis (BEL) v Ineta Mackevica (LAT)
Milnay Louw (RSA) v [2] Fiona Moverley (ENG)

Sobhy stars at Cayman Islands Pan Am Championships

After the region’s leading players competed for seven titles over seven days at the Pan American Squash Championships in the Cayman Islands, it was USA’s Amanda Sobhy who emerged as the most decorated athlete with three gold medals at the South Sound Squash Club in Georgetown.

The 25-year-old world No.18 from New York kicked off her gold haul by winning the women’s singles title as expected, beating her younger sister Sabrina Sobhy 11-3, 11-8, 11-8. Sabrina, a 9/16 seed, beat three higher-seeded opponent to set up the first ever PanAm final between two siblings.

Partnering Sabrina, Amanda collected gold No.2 in the women’s doubles with a straight games final victory over Mexicans Laura Tovar & Maria Tovar Perez (podium picture below).

It was on the final day that Sobhy senior struck gold for a third time, leading favourites USA to a 2/0 win over second seeds Canada in the women’s team final – in a tie that Sabrina also played her part by winning the opening match to put her country into the lead.

History was made in the men’s singles event where Diego Elias became the event’s first Peruvian gold medallist when he beat Christopher Binnie 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 in the final. But 9/16 seed Binnie (pictured above, right, with Elias) also had much to be proud about after dismissing three higher seeds en-route to becoming the first ever Jamaican to reach the final.

Mexico won the first of two gold medals in the men’s doubles event where second seeds Alfredo Avila & Cesar Salazar survived a 129-minute final to see off unseeded Peruvians Andres Duany & Alonso Escudero 11-8, 10-11, 11-8.

The two Mexicans (pictured above after clinching the doubles gold) paired up again in the men’s team final where Mexico secured gold after beating fellow 3/4 seeds Colombia 2/0 – the title clinched when underdog Cesar Salazar claimed his first win in seven years over world No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez, ranked 18 places higher.

Rodriguez claimed gold earlier in the mixed doubles final where, with partner Catalina Pelaez, he beat local stars Marlene West & Cameron Stafford, from the Cayman Islands, 11-8, 11-9.

Men’s Singles Final:
[1] Diego Elias (PER) bt [9/16] Christopher Binnie (JAM) 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
Bronze medallists: Todd Harrity (USA), Chris Hanson (USA)

Women’s Singles Final:
[1] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [9/16] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (25m)
Bronze medallists: Danielle Letourneau (CAN), Samantha Cornett (CAN)

Men’s Doubles Final:
[2] Alfredo Avila & Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Andres Duany & Alonso Escudero (PER) 11-8, 10-11, 11-8 (129m)
Bronze medallists: Robertino Pezzota & Leandro Romiglio (ARG), Chris Hanson & Todd Harrity (USA)

Women’s Doubles Final:
[3/4] Amanda Sobhy & Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [3/4] Laura Tovar & Maria Tovar Perez (COL) 11-5, 11-5 (24m)
Bronze medallists: Giselle Delgado & Anita Pinto (CHI), Samantha Cornett & Nikki Todd (CAN)

Mixed Doubles Final:
[3/4] Catalina Pelaez & Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [5/8] Marlene West & Cameron Stafford (CAY) 11-8, 11-9 (28m)
Bronze medallists: Antonella Falcione & Gonzalo Miranda (ARG), Danielle Letourneau & Michael McCue (CAN)

Men’s Team Final:
[3/4] MEXICO bt [3/4] COLOMBIA 2/0 [Alfredo Avila bt Juan Camilo Vargas 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (30m); Cesar Salazar bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (39m)] Bronze medallists: USA & CANADA

Women’s Team Final:
[1] USA bt [2] CANADA 2/0 [Sabrina Sobhy bt Hollie Naughton 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (25m); Amanda Sobhy bt Samantha Cornett 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (26m)] Bronze medallists: COLOMBIA & MEXICO

8 Sep 2018

New Faces Emerge Winners at 14th Cargolux Squash Tournament

US- based Niyi Olumide emerged champion in the Men’s (Veteran) category of the 14th Cargolux Merchant Express Squash Tournament which ended at the Squash Section of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja over the weekend.
Olumide who represented the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Club, beat Dele Rafiu of the Benin Club to win the tournament for the very first time.
The duo of Rofiat Abdulazeez and Faidat Soliu, both from Kwara State clashed in the U-19 Girls category with an exciting display of vintage squash. At the end, Abdulazeez overcame t her opponent, Soliu to take home the top prize.
In the U-19 Boys category, Michael John overcame Adegoke Onaopemipo in a keenly contested final to cart home the top prize in the category, while Sahid Khan, also of UNILAG ran away with the top prize after defeating Mike Nwabuzor of the Ikoyi Club in the Veteran Open Men’s category.
The duo of Sodi Pepple (UNILAG) and Layo Olupitan (Ibadan Recreation Club) went home with the award as joint third place.
Funmi Bankole had also won in the Closed Veteran category (the phase of the annual championship open to participation to only members of the Squash Section of the Lagos Country Club), beating the likes of Ayo Ogunsusi (runner-up), and Taiwo Sanni/ Mike Adekoya who pocketed the joint third place awards respectively.
Also distinguishing themselves were Bunmi Apata who emerged champion in the Closed Veteran (Men) category. He had beaten Haniel Hadison who picked the second place prize, while the duo of Tosin Olaniyan/ Fred Udo-Akagha emerged joint third place.
Present to add colour to the event the President of the Nigerian Squash Federation, Boye Oyreinde, the tournament’s sponsor, Captain Oluwashina Akinfenwa, MD, Cargolux Merchant Express Nigeria, President, Lagos Country Club, Tajudeen Akande, Chairman of the section, Funmi Bankole, and a host of other dignitaries.
Commenting on the championship, Nigeria’s Squash Federation President, Oyerinde said: ” To say that I’m impressed by what I have seen in this competition today is stating the obvious. It is an indication that the game of squash is not only an interesting sport, it is the fact that it has gained widespread acceptance across a broad spectrum of society.
“” I have also been staggered by the level of the Cargolux Merchant Express Tournament. I want to say to the sponsors, well done and keep it up,”” he concluded.

Cargolux Merchant Express Squash Tourney Winner ‘Really Surprised’ To Beat National U-19 No.1

Victor in the under-19 boys category of the Cargolux Merchant Express Squash Tournament which ended over the weekend, Michael John has revealed his astonishment at defeating current Nigeria junior #1, Adegoke Onaopemipo in the final.

Michael, 18, beat fellow Lagosian, ‘Onas’ – also 18 – 3-2 to emerge junior champion of the 14th edition of the multi-class tournament. The under-19 category of the event held for four days at the Squash Section of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja.

“I was really surprised. I never knew I could defeat ‘Onas’ (Onaopemipo) at all. But I give God the Glory for the triumph.

“I feel very excited winning the Cargolux Merchant Express Squash tournament because I have never won it. So I’m very happy to defeat the U-19 number 1,” Michael tells Top Media Nigeriaexclusively.

Youngsters, Abel Shedrack, Gabriel Olufunmilayo and Onaopemipo are three strong rivals of Michael. The champion describes the trio as “very good players”.

“Abel is the Nigeria men number 3. He is a very good player – strong, fit, determined and a little bit skillful. Although I have never defeated him, I know soon, I will be victorious against him. I like his pattern of playing anyway,” Michael notes.

Gabriel Olufunmilayo (in front) vs Ahmed Hassan of Zimbabwe earlier this year.
“Gabriel is very good. He is the fittest of them all – very skillful, active, fast, somehow cunning and very determined. Gabriel and I have only played once. That was during the league. But he defeated me 2-1 major score Also, I like his pattern of playing too.

“‘Onas’ is a very brutal, truly cunning, skillful, determined player. He makes sure he controls the game and he thinks a lot before playing any shoot in the game. ‘Onas’ is a very calm player but he is not as fit as the other two players. He is one of the players that do give me tough time and headache in the court. Whenever his name is being called to the court, I panick. I love his pattern and style of playing as well,” he admits.

For his future aspirations, Michael states:

“By the age of 19 – 21, I want to be the Nigeria men’s number 1. I’d like to experience what squash is all about outside the country, and as well make breakthrough and be in the top 3 in the world (PSA).”

Onaopemipo (middle) receiving his prize from Capt. Dayo Awobokun (left) as the tournament sponsor, Capt. Shina Akinfenwa looks on.

“I forfeited the match” – Onaopemipo

However, Onaopemipo, the runner-up in the age-grade category of the Cargolux Merchant Express Squash tournament claims he gifted Michael the contest.

“I forfeited the match. It was a tough match and also not my day on court. During the fifth match, my opponent had an injury, so I decided to gift him victory.”

The promising athlete just got enlisted on the PSA World Tour ranking. His target is humongous.

“My aim is to be in the top 100 before this time next year – if there will be enough fund for me to partake in tournaments.”

Kwara’s Faidat Soliu receives her prize at the Cargolux tourney
‘Self-belief, a determining factor in defeating National junior #1’

In the girl’s (u-19) category, Faidat Soliu bowed to the superior firepower of Kwaran compatriot, Rofiat Abdul Azeez. Rofiat, who seem to have become a nemesis for female young players in Nigeria came out top 3-1. Nonetheless, Faidat believes someday, she can be victorious against Rofiat competitively.

“I can beat her. It depend on how I believe in myself.”

She concludes:

“I really want to improve on my game and skills. I am trying my best.”

News credit:Top Media Nigeria

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