29 Jan 2018

Aifa becomes youngest Malaysian winner on PSA Tour

 All smiles: Aifa Azman posing with the trophy and a mock cheque after winning the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit No. 2 at the Royal Selangor Club yesterday. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star
Aifa Azman is now the youngest-ever Malaysian winner on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour.
The 16-year-old pulled off the historic feat by producing a top-notch performance to beat senior Andrea Lee 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 in the women’s final of the Malaysian Tour Squash Circuit (SSJM) No. 2 at the Royal Selangor Club yesterday.
Winning her maiden PSA title was certainly a coming-of-age performance by the Kedahan.
Aifa has eclipsed national No. 2 S. Sivasangari, who was 17 when she bagged her maiden PSA title in 2016.
It was also the icing on the cake for Aifa, who bagged her third British Junior Open title earlier this month.
Aifa, who is set to break into the world’s top 100 from her current ranking of No. 105, is hoping that it will be the start of more to come.
“I played a lot better today compared to the semi-finals when I faced Jemyca (Aribado of the Philippines),” said Aifa.
“Against Jemyca, I was just so nervous. Today, I wasn’t nervous at all against my senior Andrea. The pressure was not on me.
“I’m really happy to finally win my first PSA title.
“I’ve been targeting a win for a long time.
“I didn’t get many lucky breaks last year and I only made the semi-finals, so I was more determined this time.
“It’s definitely been a great month for me, especially with my third British Juniors title earlier. But I hope this is just the start because I want to win more.”
Aifa has a chance to double her tally when she competes in the SSJM No. 3 at the NSC Squash Centre in Jalan Duta from Jan 30-Feb 2.
She is seeded eighth and takes on a qualifier in the first round.
Meanwhile, there was no joy for national No. 4 Mohd Syafiq Kamal after he fell short in the men’s final.
The world No. 89, who was bidding for his third career title, blew a 2-1 lead to lose 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 5-11 to Pakistan’s Asim Khan.
It is world No. 127 Asim’s second straight title. He also won the SSJM No. 1 in Seremban last week.

FINAL RESULTS
Men: Asim Khan (Pak) bt Mohd Syafiq Kamal (Mas) 11-4, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5.
Women: Aifa Azman (Mas) bt Andrea Lee (Mas) 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/sport/squash/2018/01/28/teen-history-maker-aifa-becomes-youngest-malaysian-winner-on-psa-tour/#Y2Fm6dl7pRtcmIQF.99

27 Jan 2018

A Lover of Squash, GOV. AMBODE'S SA ON COMMERCE, DEJI TINUBU IS DEAD!




RIP!!!
DEJI TINUBU
Former SA on sports, former chairman Lagos sports commission Slumps during football game
DEJI TINUBU - Funeral Programme
Service of Songs @ RCCG, City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos  - Monday , 29th January 2018 @ 5.00pm
Lying-in-State - RCCG, City of David , Victoria Island, Lagos - Tuesday, 30th January 2018 at 9.30am
Funeral Service - RCCG,City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos - Tuesday, 30th January 2018 at 10.00am
Interment follows immediately after at Vaults & Gardens, Ikoyi, Lagos
Disbelieve, grief fills the air Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Commerce and Industry, Deji Tinubu has slumped and died. Tinubu was said to be playing football with other members of the State Executive Council after the end of the second day of the ongoing Retreat for Permanent Secretaries, directors and executives members late Thursday in Epe when he slumped and died. 

El Tayeb defeats World Champion El Welily as husband Farag ends Ashour’s ToC streak


GS003992Egyptian couple Nour El Tayeb and Ali Farag both advanced into the semi-finals of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after claiming huge wins over World Champion Raneem El Welily and three-time winner Ramy Ashour on day six of the PSA World Series tournament taking place under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall in New York.
El Tayeb and Farag made history in October’s U.S. Open as they became the first married couple in sporting history ever to win the same major sports title on the same day and they both remain on course to challenge for honours in New York.
GS003997World No.7 El Tayeb, who beat El Welily in the U.S. Open title decider, went a game down to the reigning World Champion but battled back in a high-quality 43-minute affair, which she took in a 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 scoreline.
“If someone would have told me that we [El Tayeb and Farag] would both come out as winners, I wouldn’t have believed it,” El Tayeb said.
“Raneem is not just the maverick of squash, she’s one of my idols. I learn a lot from here on and off the court, she’s the most graceful, most talented Egyptian female squash player.
“I got so nervous in Ali’s match, it took me a while to get this match going and against someone like Raneem, I can’t afford to start late. I saw how Ali studied his game and was preparing for the match and I tried to do that like him. I hope he’s happy with my performance today and hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow.”
GS003993Farag, meanwhile, ended Ashour’s 12-match unbeaten run at Grand Central Terminal to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time in his career, inflicting a first Tournament of Champions defeat upon Ashour since 2010.
The duo last met in the final of the China Open in August, when it was Ashour who came out on top in a thrilling five-game encounter that saw the pair put on a free-flowing squash masterclass. But this time around it was Farag who triumphed 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 in a scrappy match that failed to live up to the huge expectation surrounding it.
“Describing Ramy as tricky is an understatement,” said Farag.
“On his day he’s the best player on Tour and everyone knows that.
“I just tried to forgot about who I was playing. At times, I look at him as the squash God and because of that I sometimes forget to play my own game, so today the most important thing was to focus on my own game plan that was devised by my team and I think it went well.”
GS003994Farag will line up against countryman Tarek Momen in the last four after the World No.7 halted the giant-killing run of Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly.
Cuskelly caused one of the shocks of the tournament when he ended World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy’s 21-match unbeaten run in the previous round, but it was a different story against Momen as he struggled to find the impeccable length he was hitting against the World No.2 in round two, while Momen hit an incredible 23 winners en route to a 3-0 victory.
“I’m very glad to get through tonight in three games because it was the last session and you don’t get enough recovery from now on,” said Momen, the husband of El Welily.
“I’m very happy with the way I played. Ryan is a very dangerous player, he took out the number two seed and the World Champion, it was an impressive win and I knew I had to have all my horses ready.”
GS003998The other men’s semi-final will see French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and Germany’s Simon Rösner go head-to-head after yesterday’s wins over England’s Nick Matthew and Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, respectively, while Gaultier’s compatriot – Camille Serme – moved into the last four of the women’s event with a 3-1 win over 2014 winner Nicol David.
Serme, who recovered from 2-1 down to beat Australia’s Donna Urquhart in the previous round, had never beaten David in 16 attempts until a momentous victory over the eight-time World Champion during November’s Hong Kong Open.
GS003995David had the better of the early stages as the Malaysian opened up a one-game lead, but Serme fought back, edging a tie-break to take the second before winning a further two games without reply to seal a 2-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 triumph in 50 minutes that will see her take on El Tayeb for a place in the final.
“Nicol was so strong in the first game, I wasn’t ready,” said Serme.
“The match from yesterday was still in my legs and in my head as well. It was such a big fight today, mentally I had to push very far and I’m just happy I came back.”
The other women’s semi-final fixture will see World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and last year’s runner-up Laura Massaro lock horns after respective wins over World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry and World No.5 Nouran Gohar.
GS003990 GS003989 Semi-final action begins on Wednesday from 17:00 local time (GMT-5) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and mainstream broadcasters around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.

Rösner stuns Gaultier to become first German World Series finalist


Paderborn-based World No.8 Simon Rösner became the first German squash player ever to reach a PSA World Series final after he stunned World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions held inside the iconic setting of New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
GS002262Rösner, 30, reached his maiden World Series semi-final in November’s Qatar Classic, but he surpassed his performances in Doha with a sublime display against the number one seed, against whom he had lost 16 of their previous 17 matches.
A strong start from Gaultier led the Frenchman to go a game up, but Rösner responded with a display of the highest magnitude to take the next three games without reply, claiming a 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 to cause one of the biggest shocks in Tournament of Champions history.
“It’s definitely the biggest win of my career,” said Rösner.
“To beat him at this stage and reach the final is amazing. I think I’ve lost to Greg more than 16 times, I think I’ve lost to him about 30 times including the Europeans and World [Team] Championships.
“I know I’ve beaten him before, but that was a best-of-three format [during the 2013 PSA World Series Finals] so beating him in a best-of-five is unbelievable. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
GS002263There is guaranteed to be a new name etched onto the men’s trophy after World No.7 Tarek Momen overcame fellow Egyptian Ali Farag in a five-game, 80-minute marathon to book a place in his first Tournament of Champions final.
The momentum ebbed and flowed throughout the match, with Farag twice recovering from a game down, before Momen fought back from 8-4 behind in the fifth game to claim an 11-3, 2-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-9 triumph to reach his second World Series final.
“To beat Ali is unbelievable, I can’t believe that I was 8-4 down in the fifth and I made it,” said an emotional Momen afterwards.
“I was running on fumes and I just kept pushing and believing in myself. I thought that this is my chance and I had to push until the end. I’m so glad I did, now I’m in a second final this season, I can’t believe that I’m having a very good season and I have one more push tomorrow. I’m going to fight until the end and hopefully I can get my first [World Series] title.”
GS002264Farag’s first World Series final saw him lift the prestigious U.S. Open title in October shortly after wife Nour El Tayeb took the women’s title, as they became the first married couple in sporting history ever to win the same major sports title on the same day.
Farag’s defeat means that history won’t repeat itself in New York, but El Tayeb lives to fight another day after claiming a 12-10, 11-6, 11-3 victory in 36 minutes to send defending champion Camille Serme out.
“Camille is one of the hardest players to play against,” El Tayeb said.
“She’s someone I have learned a lot from and she caught me by surprise, volleying everything and not allowing any balls to pass by. It took me a while to get used to her game, even though we’ve played over 10 times, it’s still hard to get used to her game.
“I’m happy I won the first game, it played a crucial part in the match.”
GS002265El Tayeb’s final opponent will be World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, who advanced to a fifth successive PSA World Tour final after recovering from a slow start to overcome 2017 runner-up Laura Massaro.
An impeccable start from the English World No.4 saw her power to an 11-4 victory in game one as El Sherbini failed to connect with her attacking shots and hit a litany of uncharacteristic tins.
However, El Sherbini prevailed in a crucial second game that saw Massaro squander a game ball and the momentum was with the Egyptian player from that point onwards as she pressed on to record a 4-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 victory.
“At the beginning she was killing everything,” said El Sherbini.
“Even though I was sure I was going to lose the first game, I just wanted to get some points and play until the last point. I think the second game was very crucial and I think that’s what made the difference.”

Men’s Semi-Finals:
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)  9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 (69m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [3] Ali Farag (EGY) 11-3, 2-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-9 (80m)
Women’s  Semi-Finals: 
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [4] Laura Massaro (ENG)  4-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 (46m)
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [3] Camille Serme (FRA)  12-10, 11-6, 11-3 (36m)
The winner of both the men’s and women’s tournaments will claim $24,000 in prize money each, while players will also be battling it out for maximum points for the PSA World Series Standings.
The finals of the 2018 J.P. Tournament of Champions will start from 19:00 local time (GMT-5) tomorrow and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), as well as mainstream broadcasters around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.

English Rivals Matthew and Willstrop Seeded to Lock Horns in Canary Wharf Classic


 

The 2018 Canary Wharf Classic could play host to the final chapter of one of squash’s most riveting rivalries in March, with England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew and domestic rival James Willstrop seeded to meet in an enthralling quarter-final clash in London’s East Wintergarden.

Matthew and Willstrop have had an acrimonious relationship since a hot-tempered British Open final meeting back in 2009 and have been competing for 17 years on the PSA World Tour, with their semi-final meeting at the 2010 Canary Wharf Classic going down in the squash annals as one of the most captivating matches the sport has ever seen.

Since that momentous British Open final clash nine years ago, 37-year-old Matthew has enjoyed the lion’s share of the victories between the two, ultimately going 19 matches unbeaten against his rival - a run that spanned a decade - before Willstrop finally got the better of his fellow Yorkshireman during last year’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, although Matthew avenged that defeat with victory at the same stage of the 2018 edition of the tournament last week.

And, with six-time Canary Wharf Classic champion Matthew retiring at the end of the season, the English stalwarts could meet for the final time in East Wintergarden if they both make it past qualifiers in round one.

The winner of that meeting is seeded to play U.S. Open champion Ali Farag in the semi-finals, with Farag set to face tournament wildcard Nathan Lake in round one.

World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy is on the opposite side of the draw and is predicted to meet Germany’s Simon Rösner in the last eight, while a semi-final fixture against younger brother Marwan - the man he beat to lift the men’s PSA World Championship trophy last month - beckons if both players play to their seeding.

The 2018 Canary Wharf Classic, which takes place between March 5-9, sees the prestigious tournament celebrate its 15th anniversary, with a $100,000 prize fund on offer for the first time in its history.

This year’s edition will also be the first ranking PSA World Tour event to be played using a best-of-three games scoring format, with first round and quarter-final matches played under that format, before the semi-finals and final revert to the traditional best-of-five scoring.

All of the main draw action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and final will be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the globe, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.

For more information on the tournament, please visit the tournament website: www.cwsquash.com

Tickets for the Canary Wharf Classic have sold out for a seventh year in a row, but squash fans can email the following email address to get added to the waiting list: cw@eventis-sports.com

Main Draw – 2018 Canary Wharf Classic
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v [6] Simon Rösner (GER)
[5] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [3] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v [7] James Willstrop (ENG)
[8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Borja Golan (ESP)
[WC] Nathan Lake (ENG) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

Rösner and El Sherbini Lift 2018 Tournament of Champions Titles


GS002346Men’s World No.8 Simon Rösner and women’s World No.1 Nour El Sherbini prevailed on finals day at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, beating Egyptian duo Tarek Momen and Nour El Tayeb, respectively, under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall in New York to take one of squash’s most prestigious titles.
Rösner became the first ever German squash player to win a PSA World Series tournament after he followed up a stunning semi-final upset of World No.1 Gregory Gaultier to take an 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 victory over World No.7 Momen in 71 minutes.
GS002347The 30-year-old from Paderborn played with precision and guile to go two games up and then showed the grit and determination that took him to his maiden World Series final in the fourth game as he recovered from dropping the third and become the first non-Egyptian male to win the Tournament of Champions since England’s Nick Matthew in 2012.
GS002350“It’s a unbelievable feeling,” said Rösner, who will move up to World No.6 in next month’s World Rankings.
“That was the biggest match of my career and to win it is incredible. Coming here this week, I didn’t expect to win the championship.
“But this is what you work for every day. To play on this kind of stage is the reason you wake up, train hard, stay disciplined and go through all of that. And for that to pay off, in New York, in Grand Central Terminal, with the Tournament of Champions title – it’s unbelievable.”
GS002344Meanwhile, El Sherbini lifted her second Tournament of Champions title, and her third World Series title in a row, after twice fighting back from a game down against U.S. Open champion Nour El Tayeb.
The 22-year-old was appearing in a fifth successive PSA World Tour final, a run which included World Series wins at the Saudi PSA Women’s Masters and Hong Kong Open, but suffered a disastrous start as she took just two points in a one-sided opening game.
GS002345Both players then took a game apiece, until El Sherbini came into her own in the final two games to triumph by a 2-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7 scoreline and lift her 15th PSA World Tour title and her fifth of the season.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling right now, I cannot describe it,” said El Sherbini.
“I’m extremely happy, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to 2018. I’ve been playing well and this is my fifth final in a row. I worked really hard in the summer and have been trying to enjoy playing when I’m out there and that hard work is paying off right now.
GS002349“Hopefully I can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season.”
Both players will pocket $24,000 for their victories, with the Tournament of Champions committing to equal prize money for the third year in succession.
Rösner’s victory sees him overtake Momen to go third on the Men’s World Series Standings to all but guarantee himself a top-eight spot, which will see him qualify for June’s PSA World Series Finals.
El Sherbini, meanwhile, has extended her lead on the women’s standings to 105 points over World Champion Raneem El Welily and El Tayeb, who sit in joint 2nd.
Men’s Final: 
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [7] Tarek Momen (EGY)  11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 (71m)
Women’s Final:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 2-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7 (56m)

24 Jan 2018

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: DAY FIVE - AS IT HAPPENS


 
We’re in New York’s stunning Grand Central Terminal for day five of the prestigious J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions as men’s quarter-final action gets under way, while the women’s event reaches the second round stage.
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and 37-year-old veteran Nick Matthew lock horns in what will be their 36th meeting on the PSA World Tour.
Gaultier requires a win to ensure that he will retain his World No.1 spot in next month’s rankings against the threat of the vanquished Mohamed ElShorbagy, while Matthew will look to progress to the last four as he appears at this tournament for the final time, with the Englishman set to retire at the end of this season.
The other men’s match today will see best friends Simon Rösner and Nicolas Mueller go head-to-head after the duo caused huge upsets against defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad and World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy, respectively, in round two.
US star Amanda Sobhy will have the crowd behind her in the women’s event as she takes on U.S. Open Champion Nour El Tayeb in a difficult second round encounter, while fellow American Oliva Blatchford clashes with last year’s semi-finalist Sarah-Jane Perry.
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini is also in action as she takes on qualifier Mariam Metwally, while compatriot Raneem El Welily will look to shake off an ankle injury as she plays Tesni Evans.
2014 champion Nicol David and Joelle King will go up against each other in what looks set to be an intriguing clash and the winner of their meeting will play either title holder Camille Serme or Australia’s Donna Urquhart in the last eight.
You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.
Not able to watch live? Then check out our live scoring page instead.
Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT-5)
Gohar Dispatches 2015 Runner-Up Waters in Three
Nouran Gohar (right) v Alison Waters (left)
Egyptian World No.5 Nouran Gohar booked her place in the last eight of this year’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after the 20-year-old disposed of 2015 runner-up Alison Waters in straight games.
Gohar had a narrow lead on the pair’s head-to-head record, winning their last three meetings after Waters had prevailed in the first two matches they had played together.
The two-time World Junior Champions trademark ferocity was in full flow as she powered the ball round court to put Waters under a great deal of pressure and she pulled away after a scrappy start to the first game to take the lead.
A strong start from Gohar then laid the foundations for a victory in game two, despite her squandering two game balls and then fighting back from game ball down herself after a resurgence from Waters.
Waters stayed in the majority of the rallies in the third as she played some fine shots at the front of the court to put some points in the board, but Gohar wasn’t to be denied as she closed out the victory in three games to ensure that she will take on the winner of Laura Massaro and Victoria Lust’s match later today.
“I’m happy that I managed to win in three,” said Gohar.
“The second game was very tough and we had a very tough match in Manchester [last month at the World Championships] where she won the second game and it was a 50 minute match, so I was really tired after it.
“We like to play a very fast-paced game, so it’s really tough physically to play against her. Mentally, she’s really experienced so it was was really hard to deal with the situation today.”
Result
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [10] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-7 (40m)
Perry Overturns Four Match Balls to Defeat Blatchford
Sarah-Jane Perry celebrates her win over Olivia Blatchford (left)
England’s World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry came back from two games down and overturned four match balls to prevail in an enthralling match against United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford.
An all-out assault from Blatchford saw the World No.13 hit a superb array of winners to go two games up and, after conceding the third game to a resurgent Perry, the New York-born 24-year-old held match balls on four separate occasions to put herself on the cusp of a maiden World Series quarter-final.
She just couldn’t finish off Perry though as the woman from England showcased her tenacity in a battling display and after fighting back on each match ball to go game ball up, she converted and came out on top in the fifth game against a tiring Blatchford to dash the hopes of the New York crowd.
“Any time you come back from 2-0 down you’ve got to be pleased with your persistence and effort level if nothing else,” said Perry.
“Especially here, playing someone of Olivia’s calibre in front of her home crowd. I wouldn’t say it was the best squash I’ve ever played but I just kept fighting and every match ball I just told myself to focus and to play another point.
“She hit an awful lot of winners on the volley against me and that’s something I’ll go away and have a think about because she loves the volley and she was on the volley an awful lot today. Right now I’m just happy to scrape through.”
Blatchford, playing the day before her 25th birthday, was on fire in the opening stages and Perry just couldn’t live with the American as she hit winner after winner and scurried around the court to pick up anything Perry threw at her.

Perry settled in the third as she finally began to hit her targets with more regularity, while the pace of Blatchford’s hitting slowed, which played into Perry’s hands as she took it 11-9, before her never-say-die attitude saw her level the scores after Blatchford failed to capitalise on her match balls in game four.
Blatchford then required an injury break before the decider got under way and it was clear that her movement was affected, with the US player grimacing at times during the game as Perry closed it out to escape elimination.
Result
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-2: 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 15-13, 11-7 (66m)
El Sherbini Troubled by Metwally
Nour El Sherbini (left) v Mariam Metwally (right)
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini didn’t have it all her own way against Egyptian qualifier Mariam Metwally but ultimately came through to claim a 3-1 victory.
Metwally, the World No.22, caused an upset in round one against India’s World No.14 Joshna Chinappa and acquitted herself well against El Sherbini as she rattled the 2016 Tournament of Champions winner.
El Sherbini prevailed in a comfortable opening game for the loss of just five points, but the momentum quickly shifted in the second as Metwally, sporting a lot of strapping on her leg, connected with her attacking shots well to unsettle her compatriot and she soon brought parity to proceedings with an 11-8 triumph.
The third game was a scrappier affair as both players gave strokes away, while errors from El Sherbini saw her hand a number of points to Metwally.
The two-time World Champion managed to do just enough to restore her lead courtesy of a tie-break victory and she held her nerve despite severe resistance from Metwally in the fourth to complete an 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 13-11 in 41 minutes.
“Mariam is a very tricky and skilful player and when she has the ball she can hit it from anywhere in the court,” said El Sherbini.
“We’ve been at the same club for 10 years and on the same club team, so we’ve grown up together. We’re the same age, it’s difficult to play against each other and we know each other’s games.”
“It’s really hard to play against her and I just wanted to find my game more. The important thing today was that I won, so I will regroup and try to focus on the next round.”
Result
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 13-11 (41m)
Massaro Fights Back Against Lust
Two-time runner-up Laura Massaro made it back-to-back 3-2 victories at this year’s Tournament of Champions after following up an opening round win over fellow Englishwoman Fiona Moverley with victory over another compatriot, Victoria Lust.
As was the case in her match with Moverley, Massaro struggled to play her best squash and was put under the cosh by Lust, who played some sublime squash in the first and third games to take a 2-1 lead against an opponent she had lost to in all four of their previous meetings.
Massaro struggled to pick up Lust’s shots at the front of the court in the opening three games but changed her approach as she began to lift the ball more on the front wall, giving her more time to set herself and moving Lust away from the ’T’.
Massaro then began to dominate the match as Lust failed to match the intensity of her performance earlier on in the match and the Lancastrian pressed home her advantage to take the next two games without reply, earning an 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3 victory, which means she will take on Egypt’s Nouran Gohar for a place in the semi-finals.
“I’ve had two opponents who have played really well on the day and are also making movements up the rankings as well,” said Massaro.
“I haven’t been at my best for these first two matches, maybe I’m just getting my way into the tournament. Like the first round, today I just kept on fighting and kept on trying to find a way.
“I feel like I’m finding more of a rhythm, it’s been a bit longer for me since the last tournament with not playing Saudi [PSA Women’s Masters], so I just feel like I’m finding my way a little bit.
“It’s really amazing to play on this court, so I can’t complain about spending quite a lot of time on it so far. I’m still in the tournament and I get another chance to go again tomorrow.”
Result
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3 (52m)
Serme Battles Back to Beat Urquhart
Defending champion Camille Serme recovered from a 2-1 deficit to come through a difficult clash with Australia’s Donna Urquhart in what was the third women’s match out of five today to go the distance.
Serme became the first Frenchwoman ever to win the Tournament of Champions last year as she beat England’s Laura Massaro in the final, but the number three seed was on the brink of an early elimination after conceding a one-game advantage to some superb squash from Urquhart.
The World No.16 outplayed Serme for large parts of the second and third games, building on a 4-0 lead to take the second before hitting seven winners in a fantastic display of attacking squash in the third.
Urquhart looked to be surging to a win in four games when she took a 4-1 lead in the fourth, but Serme’s resilience saw the 28-year-old slowly reel the Australian in and she took 10 of the next 12 points to send the match to a dramatic fifth.
Urquhart got herself back in front at 8-5 as the match neared its climax, but Serme fought back once more to hold two match balls, with an error from Urquhart then deciding the match.
“When you are losing, you start thinking about not playing again and being out of the tournament, so that’s when you fight even more,” said Serme.
“You think that you have nothing left to loose and that’s when you relax a bit. At the end I got a lucky bounce and I just fought as hard as I could.
“It’s great to see myself in Grand Central on a big poster, but I try not to look at it everyday and try to focus on each match. I knew today could be tricky, Donna is in really good form and I feel sorry for her because we are really good friends and she put on a great match.
“She made me struggle a lot and I’m happy to be through.”
Result
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-2: 11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8 (53m)
David Prevails In Four Game Battle With King
Nicol David avenged her first career defeat to New Zealand's Joelle King at the China Open in August by coming out on top in a high quality four game encounter in the second round of the 2018 Tournament of Champions.
The match began with neither player hitting their full stride, but matching each other evenly all the way. It was David who got the first scent of a lead to go up 10-9 with game ball in hand before a gut wrenching boast from King saw David at full stretch aiming to retrieve the ball, which King was certain was down. An inconclusive look from the video referee saw the appeal go against King and the opening game go the way of David.
But to the Kiwi's credit, rather than letting the dubious end to the opening game play on her mind, she came out in the second and took took complete control, playing with more positivity and aggression to take time away from David and nullify the Malaysian's speed and court coverage.
Twisting and turning David at every opportunity the New Zealander put together a passage of play that included some of the most wonderfully crafted exchanges of the week, leading to 10 winners and an 11-2 game scoreline, but momentum swung back in the favour of David in the third as she settled into a better rhythm and took the centre of the court away from King.
With the intensity of the rallies increasing, David was able to put more and more work into the legs of the World No.9 and was rewarded when errors began to creep into King's game. And while she was able to keep within touching distance of David, ultimately the tank ran dry and it was David who booked a place in the last eight to play the defending champion Camille Serme.
“I really am glad to win today,” said David.
“Each game was very close. I knew from the last time we played, when I lost to her in China, that she keeps fighting and never gives up. I had to make sure that I stayed really solid and kept mentally strong. I'm happy that I kept it all together and came through with the 3-1 win.
“I still train really hard and try to get better and better all the time. I'm very pleased with the performance I put in today and it's great to be in the quarters and to be up against the defending champion Camille. There's nothing to lose so I'm just going to go out there and enjoy it.”
Result:
[6] Nicol David (MAS) bt [9] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 11-9, 2-11, 11-7, 11-9 (53m)
Rösner Halts Mueller’s Run
Germany's Simon Rösner put an end to the giant-killing run of his best friend Nicolas Mueller to knock the Swiss number one out of the Tournament of Champions at the quarter-final stage.
Mueller put in a masterclass performance to record a huge win over former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and reach the last eight inside Grand Central Terminal for the first time in his career, but he failed to replicate those levels against a hungry Rösner, who was himself gunning to secure a first semi-final berth and put to an end four years of consecutive quarter-final heartache.
The pair, who train together in Paderborn, Germany, delighted the crowd as they pushed each other into all four corners – putting together rally after rally of entertaining all-court squash that was interspersed with delicate and deftly struck winners of all kinds.
Rösner took the first two games by controlling the centre of the court, with Mueller searching for a way to get in front. In the third 28-year-old Mueller managed to find an opening and held firm to come through a thrilling tie-break to extend the match into a fourth but the exertion began to tell as he tired through the mid stages of the fourth, allowing Rösner to gain the ascendency and see out the match and secure just his second ever World Series semi-final appearance.
“Nicki and I train together a lot and being such close friends made it really edgy out there,” said Rösner.
“We both know what we need to do when we go out there but at the same time we know each other's games so well that it becomes very hard to finish off the rallies. I know when he's going to go straight and he knows when I'm going to play certain shots, so I'm just relieved to get through it.
“I am a little disappointed I couldn't close it out in three, but I'm happy that I got it back in the fourth.
“I had been waiting for a big quarter-final win for a long time and managed to get one in Qatar to reach my first World Series semi-finals. To be in a second semi of the season here in New York – for the first time in this great venue – is very special.”
Result:
Simon Rösner (GER) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 (59m)
El Welily Overcomes Evans In Five
World Champion Raneem El Welily scraped through to the quarterfinals of the women's ToC with victory over Welsh-woman Tesni Evans in a five-game thriller inside Grand Central Terminal that saw both players receive a standing ovation from the crowd after almost 60 minutes of super squash.
El Welily suffered nasty looking ankle roll during her first round win over Jenny Duncalf and was clearly still feeling the effects of that injury during the early exchanges, moving with a hesitation in her step while Evans grasped at the opportunity to profit and take a comfortable opening game lead.
The Egyptian though managed to find her footing in the second, moving with greater ease and finding the sort of fluid shot making that stands her out as the most dangerous player on the women's Tour – levelling the match in the process.
Throughout the third the duo both eased up through the gears, combining to create a period of spell binding play that was packed full of shot making artistry. It was El Welily to stood firm to take what appeared to be a commanding 2-1 game lead but Evans again responded in kind, finding some of her very best attacking play to take the fourth and set up a grand stand finish.
And the fifth continued to set the standard for entertaining squash as they traded points through as series of thrilling exchanges that went all the way to a decisive tie-break finish, when Evans's resistance eventually broke down and El Welily breathed a huge sigh of relief on making in through to the last eight.
“Tesni played fantastic today and I think I was a little flat at the beginning,” said El Welily.
“It was mentally hard for me today. It felt like I was playing a final, which it isn't, but at least I get to live for another day in this tournament. It definitely wasn't easy at the beginning with my ankle – I just tried to adjust to it.
“The physios put in a lot of work and really helped me to recover for today and I'll need to do a lot of work again to be ready for the match tomorrow.”
Result:
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 8-11, 11-3, 15-13, 7-11, 12-10 (67m)
Gaultier Downs Matthew In Titanic Grand Central Clash
A titanic 90-minute, four-game encounter that will go down as one of the greatest matches ever seen at the Tournament of Champions saw World No.1 Gregory Gaultier defeat long time rival Nick Matthew to secure a place in the semi-finals of the 2018 iteration of the tournament and inflict defat upon the Englishman in what was his last ever appearance under the chandeliers inside Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall.
A nervy start from Gaultier, who needed to win to maintain his position as World No.1 in the February rankings, in the opening game allowed Matthew to open up an early 5-0 lead but any illusions that things would be straight forward for the 37-year-old were quickly dispelled as 35-year-old Gaultier gradually settled into the match, exerting pressure on Matthew and asking questions of his defensive abilities.
Probing back and forth, the pair engaged in rally after rally of physically and mentally testing squash that saw them move the ball, and each other, into all four corners of the court in a sumptuous display of purism. The opener alone extended beyond the 30 minute mark with neither man willing to give an inch in what was the 36th meeting between the two on the PSA World Tour.
It was Matthew who struck first blood courtesy of a 14-12 first game tie-break but the advantage was short lived as Gaultier came back strong in the second, opening up a commanding lead which allowed him to nullify the early scoreboard deficit.
With the pair continuing to set the standard to which all other matches this season will aspire to, momentum swung back in Matthew's favour through the mid stages of the third. A series of errors from the racket of Gaultier looked to have rattled the Frenchman and he looked to be living up to his reputation for self-combustion as he began muttering to himself in between points and carrying a defeatist slump in the shoulders.
But, contrary to the Gaultier of old, 'The General' managed to recover his composure and came back string, saving game ball and forcing the third into a tie-break where, against the run of play, he managed to sneak the game from under the nose of Matthew and get ahead for the first time.
And that's where he stayed as, with the match edging towards the 90-minute mark, Matthew began to tire towards the end of the fourth, allowing Gaultier to finalise the win that takes him through to play Germany's Simon Rösner for a place in the title-decider – with Gaultier hoping to go one better than his runner-up finish here twelve months ago.
“We've been playing each other for 20 years, since we were kids, and he definitely made it tough today,” said Gaultier.
“He was dominating the centre of the court with his accuracy and made it very hard for me, it was hurting me on there. I just tried to dig in and retrieve as much as I could to keep the rallied going and try and make him work as hard as possible on there.
“We both gave everything. Of course we are rivals but we are friends as well and have a huge respect for each other. Playing here in this atmosphere is amazing and we both emptied the tank – hopefully I can recover well for my next round match now.”
After the match Matthew said: “It's such a special venue here – and Greg is a very special opponent. We fight and hurt each other on the court – but we are friends away from the court. Today he just came out on top even though I think it was the best I have played all season, which shows there's more to come from me over the next few months.”
Result:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (92m)
El Tayeb Eliminates Sobhy
Hopes of home success were squashed in the final match of the day as Amanda Sobhy’s return from injury came to an end at the hands of Nour El Tayeb, the Egyptian who herself returned from long term injury last season.
El Tayeb, winner of the U.S. Open in October, was just too strong and too accurate for Sobhy. The America though can take heart from coming through two competitive matches unscathed as she looks to regain her match fitness and ability in the race to make up for lost ground over the past ten months.
“It feels great to be at the quarter-finals,” said El Tayeb afterwards.
“And it’s great for us all to have Amanda back. Her personality has been missed on and off court.”
Result:
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (24m)

Qualifying round of first FATA national junior squash championship begins Peshawar

 
 The qualifying rounds of the first FATA National Junior Squash Championship got underway here at PAF Hashim Khan Squash Complex on Tuesday.
A total of 170 players turned up from across Pakistan by taking part in four different categories comprising Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17.
FATA Olympic Association President Shahid Khan Shinwari graced the occasion as chief guest and formally inaugurated the championship in the morning. Shinwari Welfare Organization Secretary-General Asad Khan, former World Champion Qamar Zaman, PAF Academy coaches, players and Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) Chief Referee’s Munawar Zaman, Kamran Khan, Asghar Khan, Maqsood Hanif were also present.
The championship is a step forward toward the establishment of the FATA Squash Association under the supervision of PSF. Shahid Khan Shinwari lauded PSF President Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman for extending his support to the FATA Olympic Association and youth of the area.
Shahid Khan Shinwari on this occasion said that the developmental of sports infrastructure would be linked up with the ongoing rehabilitation work in progress under aegis Pakistan Army in various agencies.
He said the youth have suffered badly to bring those traumatized youth back to life again they are focusing on holding different sports activities with the help of Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs FATA.
Qamar Zaman assured of his available at any time as far as the promotion of squash in tribal areas is concerned.
Asad Khan disclosed that male players of FATA have won the bronze medal in the recently concluded Quaid-e-Azam Games. The championship is carrying a prize money of Rs 0.2 million.
In the Under-17 Adnan Wajid beat Rafi Ullah by 3-0, Subhan Ahmed of Punjab beat Hamza Aslam of Punjab by 3-1, Abu Bakar beat Uzair Khan by 3-0, Fafeez of Punjab beat Atif Malik of Punjab by 3-0, Obaid Ullah of Sindh beat Zargham Khan of KP by 3-0, Asad Ullah of PAF bat Waqas Amir by 3-0, Muhammad Owais Usman beat Usman Khan by 3-0, Arbab Mohammad beat Muhammad Feroz by 3-0, in the Under-15 event Fahad Sharif beat Javed Hussain by 3-0, Asad Afzal of Punjab beat Muhammad Din by 3-0, Saad Zubair beat Muhammad Miustafa by 3-0, Nouman beat Abas Bokhari of Punjab by 3-0 and Talha Iqbal beat Taimur Khan by 3-0.
In the Under-13 Ihtisham Ali beat Ahmad Javed by 3-0, Abu Zar Imtiaz beat Owais Ullah by 3-0, Muhammad Saleh beat Saboor Khan of Punjab by 3-0. In the Under-11 Ibrahim Zeb beat Muhammad Yaha Bilal by 3-1, Zalan Khan of Balochistan beat Shayan Khan by 3-0, Nabile Khan of Balochistan beat Saif Ullah by 3-0, Obaid Ullah beat Zikria Sher, Huraira beat Muhammad Azan by 3-0, Raja Sikander of Punjab beat Mubeen Ali.

Veteran squash stars Gaultier and Matthew serve up New York classic

 

A dramatic day at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions saw World No.1 Gregory Gaultier come through a titanic 90-minute, four-game thriller with England's Nick Matthew to secure his place in the semi-finals.

Inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal, Gaultier, who was up against Matthew for the 36th time on the PSA World Tour, recovered from losing a 30-minute opening game to prevail 12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 in what will go down as one of the finest matches in the history of the event.
Probing back and forth from the off, the pair engaged in rally after rally of physically and mentally testing squash that saw them move the ball, and each other, into all four corners of the court. Gaultier struck a crucial blow when he came from behind to take the third-game from under the nose of Matthew and go ahead on the scoreboard for the first time.
From then on the Frenchman tried to inject pace into the play to tire Matthew. The tactic worked as he eventually prevailed to inflicting defeat upon the 37-year-old in what was his last appearance under the chandeliers inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.
“We’ve been playing each other for 20 years, since we were kids, and he definitely made it tough today,” said 35-year-old Gaultier.
“He was dominating the centre of the court with his accuracy and made it very hard for me, he was hurting me on there. I just tried to dig in and retrieve as much as I could to keep the rallies going and make him work as hard as possible.
“We both gave everything. Of course we are rivals but we are friends as well and have a huge respect for each other. Playing here in this atmosphere is amazing and we both emptied the tank – hopefully I can recover well for my next round match now.”
After the match Matthew said: “Today he just came out on top even though I think it was the best I have played all season, which shows there’s more to come from me over the next few months.”
Gaultier will now go up against Simon Rösner of Germany – live on Eurosport Player – for a place in the title-decider after the 30-year-old from Paderborn beat Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller – his friend and training partner – 3-1 to reach only the second PSA World Series tournament semi-final of his career.
The win comes just three months after Rösner secured his maiden appearance in a major semi-final during October’s Qatar Classic.
“It’s hard to play someone who you know so well so I’m just relieved to get through the match today,” said Rösner.
“I am a little disappointed I couldn’t close it out in three, but I’m happy that I got it back in the fourth.
“I had been waiting for a big quarter-final win for a long time and finally managed to get one in Qatar to reach my first World Series semi-finals. To be in a second semi this season here in New York – for the first time in this great venue – is very special.”
In the women’s draw, defending champion Camille Serme had to call on all her fighting spirit to recover from a 2-1 deficit and come through a difficult clash with Donna Urquhart in what was one of four women’s second round matches to go the distance.
Serme became the first Frenchwoman ever to win the Tournament of Champions last year when she beat England’s Laura Massaro in the final, but the number three seed was on the brink of an early elimination after conceding a one-game advantage following some superb squash from Urquhart.
The World No.16 outplayed Serme for large parts but the 28-year-old from Creteil showed her resilience as she came from 4-1 down in the fourth game to keep the match alive and, after taking the match into a crucial fifth, she maintained her composure to complete the victory.
“When you are losing, you start thinking about not playing again and being out of the tournament, so that’s when you fight even more,” said Serme.
“You think that you have nothing left to loose and that’s when you relax a bit. At the end I got a lucky bounce and I just fought as hard as I could.
“I knew today would be tricky. Donna is in really good form and she put on a great match. She made me struggle a lot so I’m happy to be through.”
Serme will go up against Malaysian squash icon Nicol David in the quarter-finals after the eight-time World Champion impressed in a 3-1 victory over New Zealand’s Joelle King, while current World Champion Raneem El Welily will take on compatriot Nour El Tayeb after scraping through a difficult five-game battle with Welsh number one Tesni Evans.
El Welily suffered a nasty looking ankle injury during her first round win over Jenny Duncalf and was still feeling the effects during the early exchanges. But the Egyptian managed to find her footing in the second and raced through the gears to produce some spell-binding play that was equally matched by Evans.
The duo traded points through a series of thrilling exchanges, going all the way to a decisive tie-break finish in the fifth game, which El Welily converted to a standing ovation from the crowd.
“Tesni played fantastic today and I think I was a little flat at the beginning,” said El Welily.
“It was mentally hard for me today. It felt like I was playing a final, which it isn’t, but at least I get to live for another day in this tournament. It definitely wasn’t easy at the beginning with my ankle – I just tried to adjust to it.
“The physios put in a lot of work and really helped me to recover for today and I’ll need to do a lot of work again to be ready for the match tomorrow.”
Elsewhere World No.1 Nour El Sherbini set up a last eight clash with England’s Sarah-Jane Perry with Laura Massaro and Nouran Gohar both prevailing in their second round battles to set up a last eight meeting.
Results – Quarter-finals: Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions 2018
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (92m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 (59m)
Draw – Quarter-finals (Bottom Half – Played Jan 23 live on Eurosport Player): Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions 2018
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) v Ramy Ashour (EGY)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Results – Second Round: Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Campions 2018
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 13-11 (41m)
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-2: 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 15-13, 11-7 (66m)
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [10] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-7 (40m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-2: 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-3 (52m)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-2: 11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8 (53m)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) bt [9] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 11-9, 2-11, 11-7, 11-9 (53m)
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (24m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 8-11, 11-3, 15-13, 7-11, 12-10 (67m)
Draw – Quarter-finals: Women’s 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions live on Eurosport Player
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [6] Nicol David (MAS)
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY)

Four Egyptians reach J.P. Morgan squash quarterfinals


 
Early on Tuesday, New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal stood still as it witnessed four Egyptian Squash champions making it to the quarter final of the prestigious J.P Morgan championship in New York, the first World Series championship of the year.
The quarter-finals will now include: Raneem El-Weleily and Nour El-Tayeb in the women’s tournament, Ramy Ashour and Ali Farag in the men’s.
World Series ranked number two El-Welily made it after a long 67-minute-match against World Series ranker number nine Tesni Evans of Whales, in which El- Welily emerged victorious.
As for El-Tayeb, she reached the quarter finals at the expense of US national Amanda Sobhy, who she beat three-nil in 24 minutes.
El-Welily and El-Tayeb are two of the top squash players at the moment with Welily just lagging behind number one Nour El-Sherbini in the PSA World Ranking and El Tayeb sitting at number seven in the PSA World Rankings.
This is not the first time the two top tier players will compete for a title. In 2014, El-Welily and El-Tayeb competed for the Malaysian Open title. El-Welily prevailed over El-Tayeb in that match.
As for the men, three time J.P. Morgan Champion Ashour defeated fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham on his way to the title.  Ashour had won the 2011, 2013 and the 2017 J.P Morgan titles.

As for Farag, he made it into the quarter finals of this tournament after his fifth win in a row against former world number four Angel Rodrigues.
Now the clash is bound to happen as the two Egyptians are destined to face each other in the quarter finals, according to the PSA official website.
The J.P. Morgan 2017 edition also saw Farag and Ashour compete for the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open title, which Ashour won.

Women's squash wins three matches in Massachusetts

 Caitlin Stern '21 (Josh McKee photo)

The Hamilton College women's squash team won three out of four matches in western Massachusetts on Jan. 20 and 21.

The Continentals (5-6 overall) defeated Haverford College 7-2 on Saturday afternoon and posted a 6-3 win over Colby College at Amherst College on Saturday night. Hamilton made it three straight victories with a 7-2 triumph at Mount Holyoke College on Sunday morning before the Continentals dropped a 9-0 decision at Amherst in the afternoon.

Hamilton is 25th in the College Squash Association rankings. Haverford is 30th, Colby is 22nd, Mount Holyoke is 27th and the Mammoths are 16th.

The Continentals won all seven of their matches in three games against Haverford and closed out six of the seven wins against Mount Holyoke in three games. The Colby victory was much tougher as Charlotte Zonis '19 rallied to win in five games at the second position and three other Hamilton players prevailed in four games.

Megan Grip '19 won three matches at the third position, Caitlin Stern '21 was a three-time winner at the fifth position, and Liesl Guenther '21 racked up three triumphs at the seventh position. Danielle Reisley '18 won twice at the eighth position and once more at the ninth position. Reisley leads the team with six wins and Guenther has five.

Grace Munschauer '18 and Katherine Bauer '18 contributed two wins apiece at the fourth and sixth positions, respectively. Lindsay Jadow '19 chipped in a pair of victories at the ninth position and Marina Hartnick '18 swept her Colby opponent at the eighth position.


RESULTS

No. 25 Hamilton 7, No. 30 Haverford 2
Jan. 20, 2018
Amherst's Davenport Squash Courts
Amherst, Mass.

1. Isabelle Gotuaco (Hav) d. Rafiatou Ouro-Aguy 8-11, 11-7, 2-11, 11-4, 11-7.
2. Kaitlin Reese (Hav) d. Charlotte Zonis 2-11, 11-3, 12-10, 11-7.
3. Megan Grip (Ham) d. Madeleine Hager 11-4, 11-9, 11-6.
4. Grace Munschauer (Ham) d. Sunyoung Chai 11-2, 11-5, 11-4.
5. Caitlin Stern (Ham) d. Tia Brown 11-4, 11-3, 11-4.
6. Katherine Bauer (Ham) d. Olivia Franco 11-0, 11-5, 11-2.
7. Liesl Guenther (Ham) d. Grace Fioramonti-Gorchow 11-1, 11-1, 11-1.
8. Danielle Reisley (Ham) d. Sophie Jackson 11-6, 11-6, 11-3.
9. Lindsay Jadow (Ham) d. Steph Lukez 11-3, 11-0, 11-3.
Ex. Molly Pivirotto (Ham) d. Hannah Adler 11-2, 11-4, 11-6.

No. 25 Hamilton 6, No. 22 Colby 3
Jan. 20, 2018
Amherst's Davenport Squash Courts
Amherst, Mass.

1. Devin Mullaney (C) d. Rafiatou Ouro-Aguy 11-7, 11-3, 11-9.
2. Charlotte Zonis (H) d. Madiha Molani 11-5, 3-11, 8-11, 12-10, 14-12.
3. Megan Grip (H) d. Julianna Song 11-3, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8.
4. Sydney Ku (C) d. Grace Munschauer 11-9, 12-10, 14-16, 11-5.
5. Caitlin Stern (H) d. Olivia Silverman 13-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-0.
6. Lily Wain (C) d. Katherine Bauer 11-7, 11-6, 11-7.
7. Liesl Guenther (H) d. Madeline Latimore 13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 14-12.
8. Marina Hartnick (H) d. Sophie Langlois 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.
9. Danielle Reisley (H) d. Anna Gildea 11-3, 11-7, 11-3.

No. 25 Hamilton 7, No. 27 Mount Holyoke 2
Jan. 21, 2018
Mount Holyoke Field House
South Hadley, Mass.

1. Brandy Williamson (MH) d. Rafiatou Ouro-Aguy 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8.
2. Ragini Ghose (MH) d. Charlotte Zonis 2-11, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5.
3. Megan Grip (H) d. Emily Chang 11-8, 11-4, 11-5.
4. Grace Munschauer (H) d. Lessly Portillo 11-4, 11-2, 12-10.
5. Caitlin Stern (H) d. Jennifer Mbah 11-7, 11-9, 11-3.
6. Katherine Bauer (H) d. Tanishka Sachidanand 11-2, 11-6, 11-8.
7. Liesl Guenther (H) d. Kuzie Madungwe 11-6, 11-6, 11-2.
8. Danielle Reisley (H) d. Emma Robson 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-5.
9. Lindsay Jadow (H) d. Nicole Lara Granados 11-4, 11-6, 11-3.
Ex. Molly Pivirotto (H) d. Kirina Gair-MacMichael 11-7, 11-2, 11-5.

No. 16 Amherst 9, No. 25 Hamilton 0
Jan. 21, 2018
Amherst's Davenport Squash Courts
Amherst, Mass.

1. Haley McAtee (A) d. Rafiatou Ouro-Aguy 11-0, 11-7, 11-7.
2. Rachael Ang (A) d. Charlotte Zonis 11-4, 11-4, 11-6.
3. Kim Krayacich (A) d. Megan Grip 11-5, 11-9, 11-4.
4. Caroline Conway (A) d. Grace Munschauer 11-4, 11-8, 11-4.
5. Katherine Correia (A) d. Caitlin Stern 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6.
6. Madison Chen (A) d. Katherine Bauer 11-3, 11-2, 11-5.
7. Riddhi Sampat (A) d. Liesl Guenther 11-6, 11-5, 11-4.
8. Priya Sinha (A) d. Marina Hartnick 6-11, 11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 11-6.
9. Pierson Klein (A) d. Danielle Reisley 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.
Ex. Jenna Finkelstein (A) d. Lindsay Jadow 11-5, 11-8, 11-3.

MEN’S SQUASH: Men’s squash disappoints in weekend matches


After falling to two of the nation’s seven best teams last weekend, the No. 8 Yale men’s squash team faced two more squads ranked above it in the College Squash Association. And in their eighth and ninth straight matches away from home to open the season, the Bulldogs posted another winless weekend.
The Elis (5–4, 1–2 Ivy) lost 7–2 to No. 3 St. Lawrence (6–2) on Saturday and fell 6–3 to No. 6 Rochester (3–2) on Sunday to extend their losing streak to four.
“It was a tough weekend for the team,” Harrison Gill ’21 said. “We came into Rochester playing the day before and a lot of the guys killed themselves on the court the day before, but came back ready to give it all again. We had a will to push even when there wasn’t much left in the tank.”
Facing St. Lawrence, Yale stepped up to the impending contest with two match wins from lower-ranked players No. 8 Yohan Pandole ’19 and No. 9 Jay Losty ’19. However, their success was not enough to carry the team to a victory.
Rather than an angled defense strategy to counter the Saints’ strong offensive play, Yale aimed to force St. Lawrence to earn its points through endurance and poise. This method proved worthwhile, as the Bulldogs took four of their opponents to matches over the three-game minimum. However, several errors and a failure to score points tipped the results in St. Lawrence’s favor.
Yale faced a quick turnaround after Saturday’s discouraging play as the team traveled to Rochester the next day.
“For Rochester, the Yale men need to counter with more offensive pressure,” head coach Dave Talbott said before the match. “Rochester is ranked two spots above Yale and is an important match moving toward the year-end National Championships.”
In a four-hour competition, Yale fell to the Yellowjackets in a 6–3 finish. No. 1 Spencer Lovejoy ’20, No. 7 Tyler Carney ’21 and No. 8 Yohan Pandole ’19 all claimed wins for the Elis. Max Martin ’18, Arjun Kochhar ’18 and Pierson Broadwater ’18 took their foes to the five games, but ended up dropping the final and decisive games.
Despite those blows, the team maintained a positive outlook.
“Though the score shows that we lost, our quality of play is improving with each match,” Lovejoy said. “In the end I feel like these losses will help us perform better at the end of the season when it counts for more; we have what it takes skills-wise to beat the best team, but, mentally, we need to improve during the pressure points that often decide the match.”
The Rochester match marked the end of a season away from home. Historically, tiresome series of away matches have had a negative impact on the team. Last season’s string of matches on the road brought with it four losses as well. Now, Yale will spend time at home and focus on its play without the strain of travel that has burdened the team since the beginning of the season.
“It’s always tough playing away from home,” Gill said. “Although we have had a tough away stretch in the last four matches, we now have a stretch of six home matches and winnable ones at that.”
Despite losing both matches this past weekend, Yale’s No. 8 standing is unlikely to be affected. So long as the Bulldogs do not fall to any team lower than their ranking, they should maintain a spot in Division One, a bracket designed explicitly for the top eight teams.
Yale hits the Brady Courts in the year’s first home match against Trinity on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Nicol cruises past Cornett in first round of TOC


 
Malaysian squash queen Nicol David (pic) got down to business as she enjoyed a good start at the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in New York.
The world No. 6 was in control from the get-go as she claimed a straightforward 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 win over Canadian Sam Cornett in the first round at the Grand Central Station on Sunday.
The Penangite, who has yet to get past the quarter-finals of a Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour World Series event since 2016, takes on world No. 9 Joelle King in the second round.
The 29-year-old King dropped a set before getting past Egyptian qualifier Heba El Torky 11-3, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4.
“Sam is a clean player so I was making sure I played tight squash against her,” said Nicol.
“It’s always a buzz coming to New York to play in this venue and I feel good so far. I want to give it my all this week.”
Egypt’s Mariam Metwally created the only upset in the first round of the women’s event.
The world No. 22 stunned world No. 14 Joshna Chinappa of India 15-13, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9 to set up a meeting with compatriot and top seed Nour El Sherbini in the second round.
There were upsets galore in the second round of the men’s event as Egyptian trio, world No. 2 Mohamed El Shorbagy, world No. 5 Marwan El Shorbagy and defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad were all sent packing.

RESULTS
Men
Second round: Gregory Gaultier (Fra) bt Tom Richards (Eng) 11-4, 11-5, 11-5; Nick Matthew (Eng) bt James Willstrop (Eng) 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6; Simon Rosner (Ger) bt Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy) 8-11, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 12-10; Nicolas Mueller (Sui) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 11-6, 11- 6, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9; Ali Farag (Egy) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) 11-9, 11-9, 11-6; Ramy Ashour (Egy) bt Paul Coll (Nzl) 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4; Tarek Momen (Egy) bt Diego Elias (Per) 11-7, 11-5, 11-4; Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/sport/squash/2018/01/23/nicol-cruises-past-cornett-in-first-round-of-toc/#VsOwhwctH5sdEZg4.99

El Tayeb Defeats World Champion El Welily in Tournament of Champions as Husband Farag Ends Ashour’s Streak





Egyptian couple Nour El Tayeb and Ali Farag both advanced into the semi-finals of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after claiming huge wins over World Champion Raneem El Welily and three-time winner Ramy Ashour on day six of the PSA World Series tournament taking place under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall in New York.

El Tayeb and Farag made history in October’s U.S. Open as they became the first married couple in sporting history ever to win the same major sports title on the same day and they both remain on course to challenge for honours in New York.

World No.7 El Tayeb, who beat El Welily in the U.S. Open title decider, went a game down to the reigning World Champion but battled back in a high-quality 43-minute affair, which she took in a 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 scoreline.

"If someone would have told me that we [El Tayeb and Farag] would both come out as winners, I wouldn’t have believed it," El Tayeb said.

"Raneem is not just the maverick of squash, she’s one of my idols. I learn a lot from here on and off the court, she’s the most graceful, most talented Egyptian female squash player. 

"I got so nervous in Ali’s match, it took me a while to get this match going and against someone like Raneem, I can’t afford to start late. I saw how Ali studied his game and was preparing for the match and I tried to do that like him. I hope he’s happy with my performance today and hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow."

Farag, meanwhile, ended Ashour’s 12-match unbeaten run at Grand Central Terminal to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time in his career, inflicting a first Tournament of Champions defeat upon Ashour since 2010.

The duo last met in the final of the China Open in August, when it was Ashour who came out on top in a thrilling five-game encounter that saw the pair put on a free-flowing squash masterclass. But this time around it was Farag who triumphed 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 in a scrappy match that failed to live up to the huge expectation surrounding it.

“Describing Ramy as tricky is an understatement,” said Farag. 

“On his day he's the best player on Tour and everyone knows that.

“I just tried to forgot about who I was playing. At times, I look at him as the squash God and because of that I sometimes forget to play my own game, so today the most important thing was to focus on my own game plan that was devised by my team and I think it went well."

Farag will line up against countryman Tarek Momen in the last four after the World No.7 halted the giant-killing run of Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly.

Cuskelly caused one of the shocks of the tournament when he ended World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy’s 21-match unbeaten run in the previous round, but it was a different story against Momen as he struggled to find the impeccable length he was hitting against the World No.2 in round two, while Momen hit an incredible 23 winners en route to a 3-0 victory.

"I’m very glad to get through tonight in three games because it was the last session and you don’t get enough recovery from now on," said Momen, the husband of El Welily.

"I’m very happy with the way I played. Ryan is a very dangerous player, he took out the number two seed and the World Champion, it was an impressive win and I knew I had to have all my horses ready."

The other men’s semi-final will see French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and Germany’s Simon Rösner go head-to-head after yesterday’s wins over England’s Nick Matthew and Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller, respectively, while Gaultier’s compatriot - Camille Serme - moved into the last four of the women’s event with a 3-1 win over 2014 winner Nicol David.

Serme, who recovered from 2-1 down to beat Australia’s Donna Urquhart in the previous round, had never beaten David in 16 attempts until a momentous victory over the eight-time World Champion during November’s Hong Kong Open.

David had the better of the early stages as the Malaysian opened up a one-game lead, but Serme fought back, edging a tie-break to take the second before winning a further two games without reply to seal a 2-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 triumph in 50 minutes that will see her take on El Tayeb for a place in the final.

“Nicol was so strong in the first game, I wasn’t ready,” said Serme.

“The match from yesterday was still in my legs and in my head as well. It was such a big fight today, mentally I had to push very far and I’m just happy I came back."

The other women’s semi-final fixture will see World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and last year’s runner-up Laura Massaro lock horns after respective wins over World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry and World No.5 Nouran Gohar.

Semi-final action begins tomorrow from 17:00 local time (GMT-5) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and mainstream broadcasters around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.

Results – Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (67m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (39m)

Draw - Men’s Semi-Finals: To Be Played January 24th
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Simon Rösner (GER)
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [7] Tarek Momen (EGY)

Results - Quarter-Finals: 2018 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (33m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (39m)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [6] Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 2-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (50m)
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (43m)

Draw - Women’s Semi-Finals: To Be Played January 24th
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)

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...