US Open Finals

[8] Mostafa Asal3-2 [4] Tarek Momen         5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3 (91m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-1 [3] Hania El Hammamy    9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (74m)
What Tarek said
Heartbroken 💔…….
is the only word to describe how I feel about my match tonight at the Final of the US Open.
Sports can be brutal sometimes and unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving end of heartbreaks many times in my career. I think I played one of the best matches of my career tonight, I felt pretty good from the very beginning and everything was going my way.
Went 2-0 up and had a good lead in the 3rd but Mostafa played really well to win it as I made absolutely no errors while relinquishing that lead.

4th game I played really well until we hit a patch in the 2nd half where my toes started cramping inside the shoes……I knew it was do or die from that point on.

I fought really hard until I earned myself a Championship point (just 1 point away from the title) and kept praying somehow I get the job done before it’s too late as I was really struggling.
Unfortunately I made the errors and couldn’t convert and I knew when I walked out of that court that I needed a miracle in the 5th as the cramps were getting nastier.

Cramps are no excuse for losses, it’s just a way of your body letting you know it’s had enough, and Mostafa tonight was much better at it. It felt as if he was getting fitter and fitter with every point being played.

So the conclusion is I wasn’t strong enough to keep pushing against a really tough, physical opponent. I didn’t break down mentally, I just tried everything possible physically to snatch that win until there was nothing left.

Luck was not on my side tonight, but I gave it all and lost to a deserving winner. It takes an incredible amount of mental and physical toughness (and a tiny bit of luck 🤪) to pull off a comeback the way he did.
I hope I can recover from this and keep playing the way I did all week.

CIB Nouran Gohar and Mostafa Asal are the 2021 U.S. Open  champions after they overcame compatriots Tarek Momen and Hania El Hammamy, respectively, on a thrilling finals night at Philadelphia’s Arlen Specter US Squash Center.

20-year-old Asal has become the youngest ever U.S. Open champion after launching a monumental comeback from two games down to capture his first PSA World Tour Platinum title.

It brings an end to a gruelling tournament for Asal, who battled through a 103-minute fixture against World No.3 Paul Coll in the quarter finals, a 96-minute humdinger with Diego Elias in the semi finals and a 91-minute title decider with Momen.

The World No.10 was second best for the first two games but found a new lease of life in the third and fourth games to draw level, overturning a championship ball in the latter, sealing a 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3 victory.

“I don’t believe the feeling,” said Asal after his sixth PSA title.

“I have all the respect for Tarek, he was 2-0 up and I think it was a great battle today. I’ve been having so many 3-2s in the last couple of days and I cannot believe it until now. I was having problems before the tournament, whether I would enter or if I couldn’t, but I managed to win the title.

“I want to thank everyone, my coaches, my physios, mentally for me to be able to recover after all of these matches is something unbelievable. Lastly, I want to thank US Squash and the PSA, Lee Beachill and everyone behind this tournament. Thank you guys for having us again and I can’t wait for the next event for this tournament.”

Meanwhile, Nouran has captured back-to-back U.S. Open titles after coming back from a game down to beat World No.6 Hania El Hammamy 9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 in 74 minutes.

The Terminator – who overturned a 2-0 deficit and a match ball against compatriot Nour El Tayeb to win the 2019 U.S. Open – found herself a game down and 9-4 behind after a rampant start from her opponent.

But a change in tactic from the 24-year-old saw her go on the offensive, and the momentum shifted in Gohar’s favour as she moved on to claim a seventh successive win over El Hammamy. It is Gohar’s second successive Platinum title after winning the CIB Egyptian Open in September and her 12th PSA title overall.

“I can’t really believe it, but it seems like I have to always be down in the final of the U.S. Open,” said Gohar afterwards.

“Last year I was match ball down, this year thankfully I was only 1-0 and 9-4 down. I just wanted to stick around most of the time, and I’m just glad with the way I dealt with it. I felt I was the most experienced today, so that made a huge difference.

“I’ve been in these situations before against the top players… I think what made the difference is that I just wanted to stick to my game plan and adapt a little bit. I played better, I thought about it more and that made the difference today. I think many matches, many losses, were in the back of my mind, so I just took the experience and was trying to execute it today.”

Gohar and Momen take home $19,000 in prize money for their efforts in Philadelphia this week, while Momen joins Gohar and Ali Farag in qualifying for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which will take place in Cairo in June, 2022

[3] Hania El Hammamy 3-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini  8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (59m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 Olivia Fiechter (Usa)  11-5, 11-2, 11-3 (32m)
[8] Mostafa Asal 3-2 [7] Diego Elias (Per)  11-7, 11-8, 3-11, 2-11, 12-10 (96m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-2 [9/16] Joel Makin (Wal) 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (83m)



“I don’t know [how I kept my mental edge in the fifth]. He’s unreal. He never gives up, it’s one of the best qualities he has and I don’t think anyone on tour has this quality, the way he fights despite being extremely tired and fatigued is just unreal. The way he was fighting kept me going, I was thinking ‘Look at what he’s doing, look how hard he’s pushing, you need to push hard as well.’ I think he just lifted me up today and eventually we gave you guys a two-hour match – I don’t know how long it was.

Is it midnight? I’m really proud with how I fought today, the fourth and fifth games were super tough. We were feeling it. It was extremely difficult for both of us and I was hoping, in the fifth, that my shots to the front would give me the edge because we’d done miles and miles on that court.

I was hoping in the fifth, what would determine the winner, is the accuracy of my shots. I was hoping he doesn’t go for shots and I was hoping that mine wouldn’t go in the tin and I’m glad he didn’t pull off the comeback in the fifth.”

On his final opponent, Mostafa Asal, he said: “I’m not even going to think about that now, I have some recovery work to do. I need to recover well, eat well, sleep well and then tomorrow, as always, tomorrow’s a new day and then I’ll think about the match.”


“I’m feeling great, I just love coming back here. I have great memories of two years ago, it was amazing. Having the crowd today, even if most of the time they were cheering against me, I love it. I love having a great crowd watching and enjoying the game. It makes me feel really happy and I really appreciate what I’m doing on court because of you guys, so thank you for coming.

I just want to say congrats to Olivia on a great tournament. She proved herself to be one of the most dangerous players on tour, not only in this tournament but back in Chicago, too. We practiced one time in Connecticut a month ago and I knew she was coming. She’s a great player and she has a great spirit, so it’s really nice to have her on tour playing like this.

“When the game is a bit close, it makes it extra special when the crowd is not on your side, so I just wanted to win early points and have a great lead, because I knew even if I’m game ball up, she could come back because of the energy they’re giving. I just wanted to make sure I was closing out quick.

“This week I’m playing late shifts, every night I’m playing at 9:00 PM or something. I can’t really complain, I’m winning so it’s fine, but I just want to go back to sleep now!”


“I think I want to tell US Squash I want some rest please! It was a tough match, thank you guys for being here as well. It’s been a pleasure to play in front of the US crowd. I hope you have enjoyed this action and I think we are all giving 150 percent. I came to this tournament with a bit of an injury in my shoulder and trying to fix it in a couple of days after San Francisco. This is a wonderful place to play and a wonderful court. I’m thankful I came through today and played this amazing match.

“I’m going to recover now and play some FIFA, to relax a little bit. I can’t believe it. I have confidence that I can win the tournament tomorrow, I did before in the World Tour finals. I’m happy to be through and I can’t believe that I was 7-2 down and my body was so loose and flat, to make it and be through to the finals!”


“I’m over the moon with this win, Nour is such an amazing player. She’s such a legend, a five-time world champion, she’s won almost every single tournament this season, so I tried as much as I can to push and dig deep to stop her from winning this one. I definitely had to push hard and I needed to be consistent with my game plan and I think that made the difference.

“I wasn’t 100 percent consistent with my game plan in the first game, I used to change a little bit. After the first I told myself I have to stick to this game plan, not change, even if I’m going to lose. The third was crucial, being 9-5 down, I just thought I would try to play and make it very physical even if she’s going to win the game I’m going to try and get every point.

It would mean a lot [to win the U.S. Open title]. I’ve never reached anything in this tournament, I used to lose in the first or second round. I’m loving the new venue, it’s amazing, I’m loving the court, the atmosphere, the crowd is amazing. You guys give me a huge push.”



[8] Mostafa Asal 3-1 [3] Paul Coll (Nzl) 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7 (103m)
[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Melissa Alves (Fra)  11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (24m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 [6] Joelle King (Nzl)  11-2, 11-8, 11-7 (39m)
[7] Diego Elias (Per) 3-1 [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-1 (45m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-1 James Willstrop (Eng)     11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9 (48m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)  11-7, 11-6, 11-7 (39m)
[9/16] Joel Makin (Wal) 3-0  [1] Ali Farag 11-5, 11-7, 16-14 (64m)



“I’m feeling really well. We had the late shift today and I felt fine, I had a good nap because I knew it was going to be a long night tonight with really great matches and we were the last ones on court. I was up for it and against SJ you have to play your best to be able to win three-love for sure.

“Playing a U.S. player in the semi final is very exciting. When you have the crowd cheering for anyone, it’s great for our sport and is great for the game. I’ve had this in Egypt and I’m really excited to see it. It happened a few times with Amanda, but to have a new player with the home crowd is great for the sport and I’m very excited for tomorrow, for sure.”


“I’m very pleased to get through. James has played incredibly well this tournament. I honestly wasn’t sure how he would turn up today and how he would perform, but as always, he exceeded my expectations. He pushed me really hard. Overall, I’m pleased with how I played., I think I played a really good match. However, I’m a bit disappointed with some patches. I should have pushed a little bit harder,, it would have given me a good boost and I made a few errors that proved costly eventually. I’m just happy that I managed to recover.

“I’m surprised to get off court and see that score between Joel Makin and Ali Farag. It’s a tie-break now in the third and it’s very intense, it looks very intense. I can’t think about that right now, I want to recover well. Whoever wins, I’m going to have to think about it tomorrow. I’m going to eat well, sleep well tonight and not think about anything, then tomorrow I’ll think about my opponent and see what kind of game plan I need to come up with.”


“It was 103 minutes! Really!? Me and Paul every time we play it’s a battle. To play four games in 103 minutes is unbelievable. I think mentally, I’m strong, I’m here, even with distractions from my shoulder issues. I’m trying to play another game, more defensive play, and it helps my game because I’m trying to adapt.

“If you’re playing tournaments like this you won’t say my shoulder, or another injury, you’ve got to play, got to focus on yourself. I’m happy to play this way and Paul, since I beat him the last two times, has developed a lot more and more and more, winning the British Open. All the respect to him.

“Today was a very interesting match, free flowing. The crowd makes me on fire in Egypt and here as well it was doing an awesome job. The States is my second home and I’m happy to move through against Diego. I’m looking forward to this battle against him.

“I think when I’m playing without full pressure it helps. I’m acting with the referees and  ‘Come on!’ but today was calm and this tournament was really calm and I was trying to take every ball with confidence.

“I’m happy I found a way to deal with my shoulder. I’m thankful for the physio for sure. She’s doing lots of work with me and has given me a spray. I’m very grateful I managed to win today.”


“I’m feeling great actually. I played Joelle last week in San Francisco and I wasn’t really proud of how I dealt with the conditions in San Francisco, with the court not being in my favour and definitely in hers. I was very upset with myself because I thought that I should have found a way to win anyway, even if I’m unhappy with the court. So I decided if I reached the quarters and play against Joelle I’m going to prove to myself that last week was not the best performance. Today I’m very happy with my performance and very happy with the way I dealt with the defeat last week.

I’m really looking forward to playing against Nour, we’ve haven’t played a lot this season. We played in El Gouna last time, I’m definitely looking forward, she’s incredible, she’s won almost every single tournament this season, I’m definitely looking forward to see how I can deal with it.”


I’m very happy with my performance, I felt very comfortable on court.

“All my shots went in and I just went for it. I’ve always had a bit of a hold, I’ve tried to improve and have worked hard on it, and it’s working really well for me. I like to hold a little bit before playing any shot.

“Every day is different to the day before. Some days it’s bouncy and very fast and then on other days it’s been very dead and the shots have gone in. Maybe because it’s the first match, the court is a bit colder today and it’s a bit dead, but I love it like this.

“I haven’t played either of them this season. Joelle played amazingly against Hania in San Francisco, but I’m sure Hania will want to take revenge today and she’s going to put everything in this match. I don’t care [who wins], I just wait for every match and will see who wins.


James Willstrop (Eng) 3-2 [9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar  11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3 (63m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy 3-1 Nada Abbas  9-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (53m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-1 Patrick Rooney (Eng)  8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (43m)
[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Nadine Shahin  11-2, 11-6, 11-7 (21m)
[3] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0 Karim El Hammamy   11-2, 11-3, 11-3 (35m)

[8] Mostafa Asal 3-2 Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 10-12, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-3 (77m)
[2] Nouran Gohar v [9/16] Alison Waters (Eng) 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (33m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 Youssef Soliman   11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6 (61m)
[1] Ali Farag 3-0 [9/16] Mazen Hesham 11-5, 11-3, 10-12, 11-7 (65m)

They Said


“I got my tactics spot on today. I talked to Mike [Way] earlier, and I know how skilful Mazen is with a racket, but he’s most dangerous when he is hitting his targets in the back corners because it opens up a lot of attacking shots for him and he is the most dangerous when it comes to that.

“I think I contained him well in the back two corners and maybe he hit too many errors for his own liking. But we saw how Mazen can be resilient and how many balls he can get back and he got me edgy again.

I didn’t know whether to put the ball away or whether to wait for the errors, but they weren’t to coming, so I had to win the rally myself and if I’m not clinical enough he goes in with his cross court nicks. I was prepared for that to happen, I didn’t panic, and I came back in the fourth with a good plan. I could see it was getting into him physically but at 8-2 he came back, so I’m very relieved to be through.

“Nour and Farida are doing great, the baby is sleeping through the night now, so Nour has some time for herself. She’s been back in the gym for the past two weeks and she headed to the courts for the first time yesterday. She’s enjoying motherhood, but she’s doing all the hard work because I’m not helping as I’ve been away ever since. Her mum is helping big time as well and that’s been good for us but she’s doing well so far.

“I couldn’t be happier with my game, I’m moving well, I’m feeling the ball well and I have confidence, but tomorrow is a very different challenge. Joel is a very physical player, he doesn’t give anything away. We played last week in San Francisco, but it was freezing cold, so I’m sure tomorrow is going to be a good one.”

“Baptiste is a very good player, I need to recover from my injury as well. It’s very tough to think about the injury and think about your shoulder. You can’t play without your shoulder, if it’s in a little bit of pain you always think about it. I want to thank the physio, she was beside me every time and I was asking her whether I should continue. I don’t want to risk my shoulder, there’s a career and I’m 20 years old. It’s OK and I’m playing well but there is pain and it’s not 100 percent recovered from San Francisco because during the match against Iker yesterday was my first hit. I’m ready for the tournament and trying to manage the game because I’m not playing tournaments and only have nine tournaments in my calendar, other players average 15 or 16 tournaments and I’m thinking I should be playing all the tournaments. Baptiste is a very tough player and I’m happy to deal with it and have a good match today.”
On whether he had any special celebrations planned for if he beats Paul Coll in the next round, Asal said: “No, I don’t think so. Paul is a very nice person and I have all the respect for him and what he’s achieved in the last couple of years. As Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag have said, he’s a really nice guy outside of the court and inside the court. [When we last played] I was the underdog I think, in the two matches, and in this match too, the third match. I’m sorry about my celebrations as well, for him. But I was in front of my country and in front of my home and I was getting excited every time. It’s always been a pleasure to play with him and to play with him again is a pleasure because I think he’s a legend of his country and the rest of the world. I’m looking forward to him as well and hope we enjoy the match.”

“We train a lot together, he lives between Cairo and Bristol, so I have seen his growth over the years.
“He’s obviously knocking on the door now big time. He’s top 20 now and now he’s doing it more consistently. It was a very tough battle, I think maybe I played the big points better except in the third game where I had a bit of a lead, he got back at me, and then I snuck it in the end.

“When I was 4-0 down in the fourth, I had to see a glimpse of him showing a bit of tiredness, and that’s when I stepped up the pace and went to another gear.

“They [the players he trains with in Bristol] have trained with me many times and they have watched me more than the other players that are coming up the rankings and that gives them an advantage. But when you play players that are new on tour, you don’t know what to do because you haven’t played them much. I have that chance that I’ve played them many times in Bristol.
“You could see there was no love lost between us, we were both really aggressive, but once the match was done there was so much respect between us.
“In Bristol, I work on so many things, and there are many things I work on in my game. I’m happy to be in the quarters here, but I want to go all the way. I’m sure other guys do to, so we all have to step it up from the quarters.
“This is the first time I’ve played a Platinum event with no rest days, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the players deal with it, and let’s see who does it better.”


“Alison is very tenacious on court, she doesn’t want to give up and it’s always a great battle against her. I was happy to be with her on court today and I really enjoyed it out there. She is playing really well, she was out of tournaments for a bit of time, but she is very experienced and it seems she is very comfortable on the glass court. It’s not like when an unseeded player when they come to the court, she was top three in the world and is one of the most experienced players on the tour now.

“I’m quite used to playing younger players now, I’ve been on tour for some time, so there are a lot underdogs coming and maybe it’s their first or second time on the glass court. With Alison, it’s different, she’s been on the glass court three or four times more than me, and it feels different that I’m the seed and she’s the unseeded player.

“I know when to put the intensity up and when to relax a bit or slow it down. It makes a difference in these matches.

“If you want to be the best in the world you have to involved and improve your game. I want to be the best, I want to play my best squash and I know what I am capable of. I’m really excited to be improving every day and seeing the results on court.”


“I’m really happy with the way I played, we have different styles, so I tried to stick to my game plan. She’s very active and gets everything back, so I tried to be calm on court. I think I’m moving well, my body is okay, and I’m feeling good and enjoying how I’m playing right now.

“I was struggling a lot over the past few months, so I decided not to play tough tournaments after each other. I prefer to have a break so I can get mentally and physically prepared for this tournament.”


“After that tough battle he had last night, I wasn’t sure if he had enough in the tank to push this hard today. I had to be prepared that he would give it his best. I watched a couple of his matches last night and looked him up a bit. He’s really good with his hands, with his anticipation and his presence on the ’T’ is quite significant.

“I thought I started well and then I lost my way a little, I started to open up the court way too much thinking that I had exposed his movement, but I was wrong and he cut if off every single time with a really nice winner.

“The fourth was a bit tricky, he came back again and I made the same mistakes and opened up the court too much. I’m really proud with how kept my composure at this critical moment because 7-5 down in the fourth was very critical, I had to be at 110 per cent, and I think I played the last six points really well.

“I’ve always preferred rest days until last year or the year before when I started to realise it’s good to have those rest days. When you play every day, you’re sharp, the match was just yesterday and you don’t have the time to relax and regroup again.

“I sort of prefer to play back-to-back but it would be nice to have at least one day in the middle to break the rhythm a bit and get some recovery work. Five days in a row is pretty tough.

“I’ve always looked forward to playing James, he’s one of my favourite players to watch and play against. I’m astonished by how well he has played this tournament, it’s unreal. He’s always been capable of putting it together and beating any of the top guys, but to do it two days in a row against Abou and Marwan is incredible.”


“I definitely need to rest and recover because we don’t have any days off.

“It was a long match, very physical with some long rallies, so I will have to recover well for tomorrow’s match.

“I know it would be very tough because we’re from the same generation, we used to play British Junior Opens all the time together and we train together all the time. Everyone can see that we know each other’s games really well, we can read each other’s shots, so I had to stay really focus and calm myself during the critical points.

“In the fourth I said I should go for it a little bit more. I was playing in a safe way with long rallies, so I told myself I should go short a little bit more whenever I had an opportunity. Even if it wasn’t a winner, I wanted to move Nada to the front and I think that was the difference in the fourth.”

US Open 2021

Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0 [6] Karim Abdel Gawad  13-11, 14-12, 11-8 (59m)
[9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar 3-1 Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 11-4, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 (35m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-0 Ramit Tandon (Ind) 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (31m)
[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg) 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (23m)
Karim El Hammamy 3-1 [9/16] Youssef Ibrahim  4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)
James Willstrop (Eng) 3-1 [5] Marwan ElShorbagy 9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (47m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (Fra) 3-1 [9/16] Omar Mosaad  8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (70m)
[1] Ali Farag 3-0 Saurav Ghosal (IND)  11-5, 11-5, 11-5 (37m)
Mazen Hesham 3-1 Gregoire Marche (FRA)  8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (60m)
[8] Mostafa Asal 3-0 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)  11-6, 11-4, 14-12 (49m)
Youssef Soliman 3-0 Cesar Salazar (MEX)  11-2, 12-10, 11-2 (36m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (MAS)  12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 12-10 (48m)

[3] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 Lisa Aitken (Sco)   11-4, 13-11, 11-6 (35m)
Nada Abbas 3-0 [wc] Marina Stefanoni (Usa)      11-1, 11-2, 12-10 (29m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0 [8] Rowan Elaraby  11-7, 11-6, 11-1 (25m)
[9/16] Nadine Shahin 3-1 [9/16] Olivia Clyne (Usa)  11-9, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9 (45m)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-0 [7] Salma Hany  11-5, 19-17, 11-7 (36m)
[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-2 Zeina Mickawy  12-14, 8-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9 (58m)
Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-1 Farida Mohamed 9-11, 11-5, 11-0, 11-0 (31m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 Sabrina Sobhy (USA)  11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (28m)

They Said


“He’s played better than how he played in Egypt and I expected that. When you play in the quarters you’re usually peaking later in the tournament compared to when you play your first round match. I had to play with a different approach. In the first game he took me by surprise, he took me short, played very fast and then at 10-3 I wanted to just keep playing even though in my head the game was over.

“After I won three points I could see he was getting nervous and I was getting closer and closer. The first game was very important definitely. You’re playing in the States so it’s always going to be crowded and loud, so it’s something that the players are used to.

“It creates a great vibe to play when it’s busy like that and it’s the first time we’re playing at this centre. All the players have been giving a lot of credit to how amazing this centre is, and I’m no different. All the top guys want to put their name on that title, I would like to another time, but there’s still a long way to go.

“James and myself have played so much during the years, and we’ve had a great rivalry. He’s going to be able to play great squash from time-to-time and I’ve been a victim to those kinds of performances from him for so many years and a lot of other guys were. Obviously I’m upset for my brother, but when you see a great player perform like he used to perform, as a squash fan, you love to see it.

“If he can play like that for a few more years it will be great for the tour. He’s the last one left from that golden generation and every time I watch him play it brings back so many memories of these great players I’ve played against, the likes of Greg [Gaultier], Nick [Matthew], [Amr] Shabana and all of those guys.”


“Sabrina is a very tough opponent and to play her in the first round is very tricky. I really knew that I had to be on my toes from the very first point. The court is fast as well, so you have to be ready for any attacking shot at the front. It’s a little bit dead in the back corners, so you have to be aggressive from the beginning.

“San Francisco was quite different, it was my first time playing there and the conditions were different to any other place. I’m always learning new lessons and I’m into a new tournament. It’s one of my favourites, I won it last year and Philadelphia is one of my favourite cities to come back to.
“Usually when you come back to a tournament it’s the same venue and you’re only defending champion for one year, not two. In a way, I feel like it’s a different tournament. It’s good in a way as it’s a fresh start, you have good memories in the back of your mind, but you don’t take it for granted.

“Nour and I have had some matches where the winner takes it all but I never have it in my mind. I turn off my social media before going on court and I play every match as if I want to win the tournament. I don’t really care about the ranking, if I’m doing well then the ranking will take care of itself.”


“I very much enjoyed it out there. I was talking to Mike [Way] earlier today and I wanted to get off to a good start because it’s not easy to back up a tournament two or three days afterwards. I’m glad I came here early to settle in and.

“On paper, and in reality, Saurav is one of the hardest to get in the first round. He’s been around the top 12 area for years now, and it’s a testament to how good he is.

“I got off to a good start and from that point onwards I took confidence and dictated most of the play, which I’m very happy with.


“He also likes to attack to the front, so I knew today we couldn’t just play a front court game. I also wanted to test myself on the court and get my length right. I’ve fallen into a trap at some tournaments this year where I’ve got off court really quickly by only attacking to the front and not building a solid game. Sometimes it helps me, but against other players when this doesn’t work and I can’t find my length I get into trouble.

“I wanted to get into this tournament by exploring all four corners of the court. I wanted to find my length from the very beginning, it was the right tactic and I’m not trying a tactic that won’t work against my opponent because of course I want to win. I wanted to double check that I had everything covered so with every match I play better.

“I think I’m a bit more comfortable in this setup. It’s no secret that I don’t like to play outdoors, and in the past six tournaments we’ve played four of them outside. I try as much as possible to adapt to the conditions, but it’s always easier when you go into a tournament when you know you don’t have to worry about that.

“It makes me a bit more relaxed in general. I’m glad that in this tournament and in Qatar we will have a patch of playing indoors, and it’s where I like to play the most.

“I will definitely watch [Rooney v Dussourd] because I’ve never watched Patrick before. I saw Auguste in the last tournament in Egypt, I watched his match against Soliman, so I have an idea of how he plays. Patrick is also a dangerous up-and-coming player and I haven’t watched him yet, so I need to start doing some homework.”


I’m psyched to have won, Olivia’s been playing so well lately. It’s always close with her, we’ve played twice in PSA matches and that’s my first time beating her.

“I went into the match excited, I had a really tough loss in the CIB Egyptian Open and I keep thinking too much about how I play and the rankings. But I let it all go today and I think that’s why my squash has been better. It’s always about the mental game now. She’s [World] No.11 I’m [World] No.14, there’s nothing between us, it’s all about the mental game for me now.”


“I heard it’s very fast and I had a 10-minute hit yesterday on it and it was fast, but today it was cold and dead. It’s a good experience to try the court and it was a good first round.

“It’s amazing, it’s great to have a huge centre only for squash, they have 20 normal courts and two glass courts. You don’t see this in many places, so it’s really good to be playing here in this amazing venue and hopefully we can see many venues like this around the world.

“I’ve reached a couple of finals here and I haven’t won it. This is the only Platinum event I haven’t won so far, so I’m all in for this week and hopefully it will be this time.”


“Last March we played, it went to five and it was a really tough and physical match.
“I had to be very sharp and ready from the beginning. I was happy that I got that draw as I like to get into the matches from the beginning and test myself from the first rally. I was definitely prepared for this match, Lisa is such a physical and strong opponent, so I had to take care of that.
“Whenever I lost a bit of focus or I gave her a loose shot, she volleys it very well. She took the lead [in the second game] and I tried as hard I could to find a way back into the game and thankfully I did.
“It’s very challenging now, I’ve never spoken about it but I felt like it was a little bit unfair for me [the ranking situation] because the rankings were frozen. I won the Black Ball and the World Tour Finals but these were the two events that we played again, so my points were taken off and other players kept their ranking points.
“It’s definitely challenging for me, so I’m taking it as a challenge to push myself and become stronger.
“It will be a tough match for both of them [Abbas and Stefanoni]. It’s never easy to play against an Egyptian, she’s [Abbas] from my generation and we know each other’s games really well, and we train against each other a lot. It will be a tough match against Nada, and if Marina manages to win it will also be a tough one, I’ve seen her in junior tournaments and I know she is fearless.”



Nada Abbas 3-0 Menna Nasser  11-2, 11-5, 11-3 (23m)
Melissa Alves (Fra) 3-0 Sana Ibrahim11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (23m)
Nada Abbas  3-0  Menna Nasser   11-2, 11-5, 11-3 (23m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0 Menna Hamed  11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (29m)
Zeina Mickawy 3-2 Jana Shiha (EGY) 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 10-12, 11-3 (40m)
Farida Mohamed 3-2 Jasmine Hutton (ENG)  6-11, 14-12, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7 (57m)
Emily Whitlock (WAL) 3-0 Mayar Hany  11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (21m)

Karim El Hammamy3-2 Alan Clyne (Sco)  9-11, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 (80m)
Youssef Soliman3-0 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)  11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (35m)

Zeina said

“To be honest I feel relieved. Jana is younger than me and we know that every Egyptian up-and-coming player is always hungry and gives it their all to beat the others.

So I knew it was going to be tricky. I was trying to focus on every point. At the beginning I was feeling a bit stressed, because I knew what was coming. I’m happy to be through and am looking forward to tomorrow’s match. Tomorrow I need to calm down.”