Youssef Soliman 3-0  Victor Crouin (FRA) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (48m)
 Nour El Tayeb 3-1  Salma Hany 11-7, 12-14, 11-6, 11-4 (74m)
Egypt’s CIB Nour El Tayeb has won her first PSA title since becoming a mother after the World No.11 overcame top seed and compatriot CIB Salma Hany to win the inaugural women’s CIB Zed Squash Open.
It’s El Tayeb’s first PSA title since October 2020 and the 12th of her career. The 29-year-old – who is married to World No.1 Ali Farag and gave birth in July of last year – got the better of World No.9 Hany by an 11-7, 12-14, 11-6, 11-4 scoreline in 74 minutes.
El Tayeb was just two points from victory when a loss of power at Zed Park resulted in a lengthy delay. That only served to be a minor impediment to El Tayeb’s title charge as she quickly dispatched Hany upon her return to court to complete a win which will see her move back into the world’s top 10 when the PSA Women’s World Rankings are published tomorrow.
“I feel great. It’s one of the happiest titles I’ve won,” said El Tayeb afterwards. “I took a year’s break, so I wanted to do well coming back after having a baby. This week, with how my preparation was in pre-season and how I was mentally and physically, to play such a tough match, physically, emotionally and psychologically, I’m very happy with how I played.
“When it happened [the power cut], I’m glad it didn’t happen when we were closer in the match. It’s the first time this has happened to me, and I was just trying to take everything in as it’s a big final. I’ve only played one big final in Egypt before, but it was a new experience for me and I was trying accept it, and I’m glad I managed to control it.”
The men’s final followed the women’s and top seed Youssef Soliman has captured the biggest PSA title of his career after a sublime display from the World No.17 saw him dismantle No.2 seed Victor Crouin.
Soliman has won the title without dropping a game after powering past Rui Soares, Moustafa El Sirty and Raphael Kandra, in contrast to Crouin, who battled past two five-game battles against Juan Camilo Vargas and Balazs Farkas in the second round and quarter-finals, respectively.
Soliman hit his targets with aplomb and completely nullified Crouin as he completed an 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 victory to secure the ninth PSA title of his career.
“To win my biggest title in Egypt, in front of a home crowd, my friends and family, it means a lot,” Soliman said. “I need to thank some people behind this tournament for having us this week. Like I’ve said before, this is the best Bronze event to happen to the PSA and I’m looking forward for this tournament to keep going.”
 Nour El Tayeb 3-0  Nele Gilis (BEL) 11-1, 11-6, 11-4 (30m)
 Salma Hany 3-0  Farida Mohamed (EGY) 11-3, 11-8, 11-6 (35m)
 Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-1  Omar Mosaad 11-2, 7-11, 11-3, 11-6 (47m)
 Youssef Soliman 3-0  Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-3, 12-10, 11-2 (48m)
Former World No.3 CIB Nour El Tayeb is into her first final on Tour in almost two years, and her first since becoming a mother, after she brushed aside Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the last four of the CIB Zed Squash Open in Cairo on Saturday evening.
El Tayeb, who is continuing her return to the Tour after giving birth to her baby daughter, is currently the World No.11, and she took on World No.12 Gilis in the semi-finals in Cairo, but was in scintillating form to take victory in half an hour.
It was their third meeting this year, with the last two wins being shared between them. This clash though, was always El Tayeb’s after she won the first game 11-1. In total, she dropped just 11 points across three games, to reach her first final since the Manchester Open in September 2020, when she defeated Camille Serme to clinch the PSA World Tour Silver level crown.
“It’s amazing obviously to be back near the top ten, and I feel like I am playing well. I feel like I deserve to be there so it is nice,” El Tayeb explained.
“Today was a tough match. I knew coming up against Nele was going to be a tough one because she beat me a few months ago. I am glad that I played well and i was able to stay focussed throughout the whole match.
“It is still the first tournament. We can’t look too far ahead because I have the final tomorrow, and I am playing a very good player whoever it is. I am definitely excited to be in the final, I haven’t been in a final for a couple of years, so I am looking forward to the final.”
World No.9 CIB Salma Hany is through to her third final in twelve months after she got the better of compatriot CIB Farida Mohamed in a tense straight games victory at the Zed Park in Cairo.
The 26-year-old, who is looking to claim her first title since 2013, started strongly, and raced out into a quick one-game lead. Mohamed fought back in the second, but it was the World No.9 who was able to maintain the momentum through both the second and the third, winning in straight games.
Hany will now face another Egyptian, in former World No.3 Nour El Tayeb, in the final on Sunday evening, and will be looking to avenge her defeat to her compatriot in the second round of the CIB PSA World Championships.
“It is always very stressful to play another Egyptian, obviously, there are more nerves when you play another Egyptian!” Hany said.
“Farida is a very dangerous player, she has been playing great. Last season, she had a great season. I had to be really focussed and composed, calm throughout the match. I was just really enjoying my time on court today. I didn’t mind, and I accepted that there might be a lot of calls, some scrappy moments, but it was a fair and clean match. I was just happy with my performance today.
“I feel like I play Nour [El Tayeb] in every single tournament in Egypt. Obviously, I am very excited to be in a final with her, we go way back and I have always looked up to her. I am just really excited to come here again tomorrow and put on a great match!”
Meanwhile, Youssef Soliman put in an assured performance to beat Raphael Kandra in straight games and he too will attempt to win his biggest PSA tournament.
“For sure, I want to thank my new coach, he is here, so thank you for coming,” said Soliman.
“My brother as well, he has been with me forever, he has always been there for me. Thank you guys for coming, and we have one more push, let’s do it.”
 Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0  Mohamed ElSherbini 11-8, 12-10, 11-3 (34m)
 Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-0  Moustafa El Sirty 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (47m)
 Farida Mohamed 3-0  Melissa Alves (FRA) 11-6, 11-8, 14-12 (26m)
 Omar Mosaad 3-0  Yahya Elnawasany 11-9, 11-9, 13-11 (39m)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-1  Hana Ramadan 11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7 (46m)
 Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Marina Stefanoni (USA) 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 (25m)
 Salma Hany 3-1  Nadine Shahin 11-5, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 (45m)
 Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-2 Hana Moataz 13-15, 11-6, 10-12, 11-4, 11-8 (63m)
 Omar Mosaad 3-0 Leandro Romiglio (Arg) 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (36m)
 Yahya Elnawasany 3-0 [9/16] Henry Leung (Hkg) 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (38m)
 Farida Mohamed 3-2 [9/16] Mariam Metwally 5-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-3 (54m)
 Hana Ramadan 3-1 [wc] Menna Hamed 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-4 (44m)
 Mohamed ElSherbini v [9/16] Zahed Salem
 Melissa Alves (Fra) 3-0 [9/16] Sana Ibrahim v
 Nadine Shahin 3-2 [9/16] Julianne Courtice (Eng)
 Moustafa El Sirty 3-2 [9/16] Aly Abou Eleinen
Balasz Farkas (Hun) 3-2  Karim El Hammamy v 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (77m)
 Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 13-11, 11-3, 11-4 (29m)
 Salma Hany 3-0 [9/16] Jana Shiha 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (28m)
 Youssef Soliman 3-0 [9/16] Rui Soares (Por) 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (37m)
World No.11 CIB Nour El Tayeb took the victory in the opening match of the glass court session, defeating Japan’s Satomi Watanabe in straight games to make her way into the last eight of the Bronze level competition.
It was the first meeting between the pair, who are both making their way back up the rankings after time out. El Tayeb is back into the top 11 after the birth of her baby daughter, while the Japanese No.1 is pushing to break back into the top 50 after not being able to play on Tour during much of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watanabe showed what she can do in the first game, saving a couple of game balls to send it into a tie-break. However, it was the former World No.3 that took it 13-11, before then reeling off 11 straight points to come back from a strong start from the Japanese No.1 in the second game. El Tayeb went on to win in three, and will now face the USA’s Marina Stefanoni in tomorrow’s quarter finals.
“I think it was a very good game, I knew Satomi was dangerous and I practiced with her a couple of months ago,” El Tayeb admitted.
“I knew what to expect, but then playing a match against someone for the first time is always interesting, but I think I played well. The first match of the season is always tricky, but then playing against someone for the first time is always interesting.
“I’m very happy with my performance and how I dealt with the conditions, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’ve heard a lot about Marina Stefanoni but I’ve never played against her. It’s going to be ver interesting, I know she is an up-and-coming junior player and I’m excited for the match.
“The target for me, as it is for any player in the tournament, is to win the event. This event is very important for me if I want to get into the top eight. I’m taking it match by match, obviously, and trying not to look ahead. Hopefully I can play well tomorrow and take it from there.”
Top seed and World No.9 CIB Salma Hany is through to the last eight after a confident performance saw her overcome the up-and-coming CIB Jana Shiha in straight games.
Shiha, who made the last 16 at both the CIB Egyptian Open and CIB Black Ball Open last season and is now inside the world’s top 50, could have posed problems for Hany, but the Oracle NetSuite Open finalist was able to remain in control throughout.
A fast start for the World No.9 saw her on top after the opening game, and she maintained that form throughout the second game as well, despite a Shiha fightback. The older of the two Egyptians got the job done in just under half an hour, and Hany will now face Egypt’s Nadine Shahin in the last eight on Friday.
“Obviously, I was very excited to kick off my season today. Jana is a tricky first opponent, so I am pretty happy with my performance to get through in three,” the tournament’s top seed said.
“The conditions are not so easy, it is windy and it is so hot inside there. I was just trying to get used to the court, try out my movement. I am just excited to kick off the season and see what this season has in store fo me.
“I am just taking it day by day, tomorrow is another match, playing Nadine Shahin, and I am looking forward to it! She is a tough opponent, she fights for every point. I am ready for a fight and I will give it my all.
“I am not really thinking about that, I am just taking it as a normal tournament. I just want to win every match, it doesn’t matter if I am seeded No.1 or even like… No.30… I show up every day to put up a fight, and ready to win a match.”
The first lot of men’s matches at the side courts saw Egyptian duo Omar Mosaad and Yahya Elnawasany book their places in the quarter-finals courtesy of respective wins against Leandro Romiglio and Henry Leung.
World No.22 Mosaad, known on tour as ‘The Hammer of Thor’, completed an 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 victory in 36 minutes and has targeted a return to the top 20 later this season.
“It’s a new season, so you have to start well, especially in the first match,” said No.4 seed Mosaad.
“It’s good to be back and get some confidence for the next few matches. Of course, I did some training in the off season, so hopefully it will work for the rest of the tournament.
“For the top four players, winning the tournament will be a target. I am trying to focus match by match and then we will see what will happen.
“I want to get back first to the top 20 and then the top 16. Then we’ll see about the top 10 in the months after that.”
Women’s No.4 seed CIB Farida Mohamed required five games to see off the threat of fellow Egyptian Mariam Metwally as she booked her place in the quarter-finals.
Mohamed – who saw out the 2021-22 season with her biggest tournament win at the RMCLUB Women’s Open in Mauritius – came back from 2-1 down to take a feisty affair by a 5-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-3 scoreline.
It was a physical contest with a number of traffic issues and Mohamed took issue with the style of play of her opponent, saying:
“It’s the first round, so it’s usually not your best performance of the tournament, but it wasn’t a very nice match, to be honest. I got hit six times on my face, both thighs and my knee.
“There was so much contact in the match and a bad attitude from my opponent, I didn’t really like it. But I’m actually glad about it, this was the only thing that pushed me because I wasn’t really in the mood today. It made me tell myself to win this match, I didn’t want to let her go away with a win.
“I’m glad I made it through and the last two games were so much better, I was able to win easily, so I’m pleased with my performance there.
“In the first two games it was very tough [to keep her focus], the attitude was so bad and I was mad at her, so I wasn’t concentrating enough. In the last two games I focused on my self and didn’t even look at her face, and that helped a lot mentally.
“I’m the No.4 seed in this tournament, but I’m really looking forward to taking this one.”
World No.27 CIB Moustafa El Sirty has reached the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour Bronze event for the first time following a superb comeback against World No.63 Aly Abou Eleinen as today’s side court coverage drew to a close.
El Sirty looked down and out as Eleinen – who triumphed on the glass court against wildcard Yassin Shohdy in the previous round – settled into a steady rhythm of hitting and nullified the tall Egyptian’s attacking talents.
But El Sirty finally managed to establish himself in the match from the third game onwards and prevailed despite some scrappy rallies, with the referee being forced into a number of decisions.
El Sirty – who was voted as the 2021-22 PSA Challenger Tour Player of the Year – closed out the win by an 8-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 in 77 minutes to seal his place in the quarter-finals.
“I made lots of notes for tomorrow so I can start better,” said El Sirty.
“Tomorrow, I can’t afford to be 2-0 down at the beginning of the match. Aly is such a difficult player to play against, but it’s not going to happen every time that I come back from 2-0 to win 3-2.
“I’m really happy with this win at the start of the season, Aly ended last season magnificently with wins over good players, so I’m really please to open up the season with a win.”
Hana Moataz 3-2 Zeina Mickawy 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6 (55m)
Julianne Courtice (Eng) 3-2 Kenzy Ayman 8-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (51m)
[9/16] Mariam Metwally 3-0 Nour Aboulmakarim 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 (21m)
[9/16] Sana Ibrahim 3-0 Lucy Beecroft (Eng) 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 (33m)
[9/16] Jana Shiha 3-0 [wc] Salma El Alfy 11-6, 11-3, 11-2 (13m)
[9/16] Zahed Salem 3-0 [wc] Sohail El Shenawy 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
Balazs Farkas (Hun) 3-1 [9/16] Mazen Gamal 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5 (49m)
[wc] Menna Hamed 3-0 [9/16] Alexandra Fuller (Rsa) 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (28m)
[9/16] Aly Abou Eleinen 3-0 [wc] Yassin Shohdy 11-1, 11-4, 11-6 (24m)
Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 3-0 [9/16] Yathreb Adel 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (28m)
Egypt’s Aly Abou Eleinen cruised to the second round after defeating his fellow compatriot Yassin Shohdy. Eleinen stormed to victory in the first match 11-1 and despite Shohdy improving in the final two games, Eleinen stamped his authority by taking the second and third games 11-4 and 11-6, respectively.
The 22-year-old will meet another fellow countryman in Moustafa El Sirty in the last 16-stage tomorrow.
“This was my very first outdoor glass court experience,” Eleinen said.
“It was new to me, this is the biggest PSA event that I’ve gotten into on my own ranking. Even though I’m playing a young player, it’s a new experience to me, it was amazing and I want to keep going.
“[His performances in Gouna] are definitely giving me a lot of confidence, which I needed since I graduated from college. I’ve always wanted to play professional squash and I’ve been working so hard all my life to get to that point. It’s good to know that even though I’ve gone on a different route in the United States I still found a way to compete with the best in the world.
“Hopefully that’s just the start. It’s different for everyone, but I had such an amazing experience at Penn. I don’t think it slows you down, if anything it makes you grow as a person and a more well-rounded person, I would say. You get to meet a diverse range of people, have a world-class education but also play at a really high level in college squash.
“Maybe you don’t get there as fast as other players, but you still get the chance to be a well-rounded person and if you take it seriously, train hard and set yourself the goal then you can definitely do it.”
The opening match of the glass court season saw Egyptian wildcard Menna Hamed take down South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller in straight games to book her spot in the last 16 of the Bronze level tournament.
The pair had met twice before on Tour, with the Egyptian winning twice in the space of a week in South Africa in 2017, the former of those resulting in her taking the title at the Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Open Squash Championships.
From the off in this contest in Cairo, she was on top, and quickly ran out into a two game lead, with each of the first two games being won with an 11-3 scoreline in six minutes. Although Fuller started the third game strongly, Hamed fought back, coming through to take it 11-7, and to book her place in the second round, where she will take on compatriot Hana Ramadan.
“She is a very good player, so I had to start well from the beginning,” the young Egyptian said. “I had to focus on every point. I’ve played her twice but it was five years ago, so we are definitely both different players physically, mentally and technically.
“I also have to mention that it’s the first time my father has come to watch me, so I’m very happy. Last season, I was injured, I am still a bit injured but I am on my way to a full recovery.
“I have to enjoy it, it’s my first time playing on a glass court outside, so thank you to Omar Abdel Aziz for giving me the wildcard. You have no pressure on you being the wildcard, you have nothing to lose, you’re not seeded, so I played my best.”
World No.62 Hana Moataz made it three wins on the bounce against fellow Egyptian Zeina Mickawy as she mounted an impressive comeback from two games down to secure her place in round two.
The 22-year-old from Cairo started slowly and was on the back foot early on as Mickawy hit her targets to record a 10-8 victory in the first game, before the World No.36 followed that up by edging the second game on the tie-break.
A crucial third game went the way of Moataz though and that seemed to break Mickawy’s resistance as a comfortable 11-3 victory to the former followed in the fourth game.
There was a brief injury-break in the decider as Mickawy needed treatment due to a collision, but there was no stopping a rampant Moataz, who saved her best squash for the dying moments to close out the win in five.
Next up for Moataz is a last 16 fixture against No.3 seed Nele Gilis.
“I’ve played Zeina a couple of times and we’ve grown up together,” said Mickawy.
“She’s a really good player, so I came in knowing it was going to be tough. I’m happy that I came back from 2-0 down, it was a little bit tense being the first match of the season, but by the end I was more calm and was able to convert my chances.
“There was a bit of pressure because I’d beaten her twice and I knew she was going to come back at me. I needed to focus because I knew I had beaten her before, so I knew I could beat her again.”
On Gilis, Moataz said: “She’s a really good player and I’m looking forward to the match. We’ve only played once maybe six years ago and I lost 3-2, so I’m hoping it’s going to be a good match.”
World No.33 Mariam Metwally secured her place in the next round courtesy of a win over Nour Aboulmakarim. Metwally, 25, got the better of her 19-year-old fellow Egyptian in straight games, winning 11-7, 11-7, 11-6 in 21 minutes.
Her reward is a meeting with No.4 seed CIB Farida Mohamed in the last 16.
“I have been going through a lot in the past month, so I was trying to play my game and be as calm as much as I could,” said Metwally. I believe that as long as I’m playing my game plan, everything will be fine. I will try and stay calm, it will be a similar plan to today, so I’ll try to stick to it and focus and h-opefully I will get the win tomorrow.
“I’m coming here to enjoy my game, give it my all and see what will happen.”
19-year-old Sana Ibrahim booked her spot in the last 16 after a commanding 3-0 victory over an in-form England’s Lucy Beecroft, unable to knock a devastating Ibrahim off her stride, the Egyptian closing out 11-5, 11-7, 11-7 win in 33 minutes to set up a second round fixture with No.7 seed Melissa Alves.
“I worked really hard this summer,” said World No.40 Ibrahim.
“I changed my programme and was focused on my fitness. This was my first time playing with Lucy, who is a really good player. I’ve watched her many times to see how she attacks and the main shots she plays.
“I played Melissa two times last season, but I was injured and lost, so tomorrow I want to win, of course, and I want to play well, I’m excited.
“I really want to reach the top 20 this year, that’s my target and I hope to do this very soon.”