Day FIVE – Round Three


[8] Salma Hany3-1 [11] Rowan Elaraby              8-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (40m)
[7] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0 [15] Nadine Shahin                11-8, 11-3, 11-5 (26m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [9] Tesni Evans (Wal)  12-10, 11-4, 11-8 (40m)

[6] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 Baptiste Masotti (Fra)      8-11, 11-0, 11-7, 11-4 (46m)
[7] Fares Dessouky 3-1 [11] Mohamed Abouelghar  11-6, 11-13, 11-7, 12-10 (58m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 [9] Joel Makin (Wal)             11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (51m)

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy has booked his place in the quarter-finals of the 2020-21 PSA World Championships after overcoming Welshman Joel Makin inside the University Club of Chicago’s picturesque Cathedral Hall earlier today.

ElShorbagy – who will be guaranteed to overthrow rival Ali Farag as the World No.1 next month if he reaches the final this week in Chicago – had won four of his six previous matches against Makin on the PSA World Tour. Whilst he won their most recent meeting at the El Gouna International in May, Makin got the better of his opponent in five games at the CIB Black Ball Open in March.

The pair know each other’s games well having practiced together numerous times in Bristol, England outside of events, and this time around the win went to the man from Egypt as he closed out an 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 51 minutes to reach the last eight.

Black Ball Open winner CIB Fares Dessouky will now look to gain revenge over ElShorbagy following the latter’s win in their El Gouna semi-final meeting. Dessouky, the World No.7, defeated fellow CIB Mohamed Abouelghar in four games.

2016 World Champion CIB Karim Abdel Gawad is also through to the quarter-finals following his win over Frenchman Baptiste Masotti from 1/0 down, and he will take on 2019-20 World Championship runner-up Paul Coll after he beat India’s Saurav Ghosal for a place in the semi-finals.

Mohamed ElShorbagy

“Joel and myself have trained so much together in Bristol.

“This is my fourth tournament since my comeback and I’ve played him three times, so please PSA don’t put us together again because it’s not fun anymore. I have so much respect for him, you can see from the way we play each other and shake hands. We go hard and let the best man win, and that’s the way I love to play the sport.

“I definitely stayed away from him yesterday, I ran away from our practice together. We practiced together today and he was literally volleying everything, he was playing together so fast, and I didn’t want to play that fast. You have to do what you have to do to play tournaments right now.

“When I was warming up before the match, I got tagged on Twitter that Fares said he wanted to play me to get his revenge on me. Thanks for that, Fares, I’m trying to focus on my match right now! That’s the same attitude I would have had if I was him, so I completely respect that mentality.

“We’ve known each other since we were kids, we both come from Alexandria. I’m a few years older, but I have so much respect for him. When I was away I watched him play, I saw him get those two wins against Ali, win Black Ball and losing the other final, so he has been consistent and has been playing very well.

“He had a tricky injury, which is why he pulled out of the World Tour Finals but he looks to completely back. I’m sure we’ll go hard at each other and we’ll let the best man win.”

Fares Dessouky

“I was in control of the first game and then I was up 10-6 in the second and I lost it. It got to my head a little bit so I had to focus again and play my game. I was honestly on court just to enjoy it, and to play my best squash.

“With it being the fourth game and not the fifth game, it is much different. There were many ups and downs in the game and I am very happy, and lucky at the end, but I was glad to finish it with those last two points, with the drop shots.

“I want Mohamed [ElShorbagy] in the next round because I want my revenge from El Gouna. He is such a great player, and also Joel [Makin] is playing so well at the moment, so definitely I am going to watch.”

Nouran Gohar

“I think the last time we played was two years ago or so. Tesni is a very tricky player and it is never easy to play against her. She is relaxed but very eager to win so it is tricky.

“I had to adapt today as the conditions were slightly different and I am very happy to pull out with a 3-0. I just had to adapt. We don’t always click, you just have to find ways to win and I am glad that I regrouped. I found ways to win and I did in the end.

“Joelle is another top ten player. I am looking forward to it and we will see how it goes. I won’t say what I am going to do, it’s my secret.”

Karim Abdel Gawad

“I don’t know why I have all the fit players getting in my way! Since the first round, I am always playing the fittest players. It is always tough for me to play French players, and of course, Borja is always a tough opponent.

Coming to today’s match, I had in mind that I had to put together a good strategy and not to move a lot because he would kill my physically if we were both running around. I had to play good squash, deep squash and then attack from the middle. In the first game, he was just too good. He had the upper hand in the back corners, so I didn’t have the chance to attack. From the second game, I had to change that and change the pace a little bit, play more deep squash and I am glad it worked.

“The third game when I was 5-0 up and he came back. I felt a bit down mentally and that is the thing I never want to happen. I work a lot in training to not lose the mental side of my game and I did in the third game so I am unhappy with that but I am happy that I came back strongly and I am happy with that.

“Another fit player! Paul is, of course, one of the top four guys in the rankings and he has proved he deserves to be there. I don’t mind playing him, of course it is hard, but I will just try to play my best. Head-to-head, he has the upper hand, but I have to change this, focus on court and focus on the way I play more than anything else!”

Salma Hany

“Obviously, Rowan is an amazing player. She is very dangerous and I knew I had to keep my focus from the get go. I know it was a little bit scrappy with a lot of decisions but it was for a spot in the quarter-finals and there were some nerves.

“I got into the match a little late, in the first game I wasn’t quite ready for her pace and I am glad I managed to come through and I am sorry that there was a lot of shouting this early in the morning but I needed to wake up myself and just fire myself up for the match.

“I think you have to adapt to every situation. By experience, you learn what the best way to be ready for any time of match is. I actually had a good sleep, I came this morning for solo, had coffee and breakfast and I felt ready and fresh for the match. I am happy that it went as I wanted.

“Both Camille Serme and Olivia Clyne are amazing players, very good friends of mine, and I mean I wish them all the luck and to have a long match. I will be ready after tomorrow for the quarter-finals.”