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Laura Massaro celebrates her huge comeback

DPD Open - Day three: As It Happens

Round two continues at the DPD Open begins today in Eindhoven, Netherlands as the final places for the quarter-finals are confirmed.

The action begins at 11:00 local time (UTC+2) when France’s World No.4 Camille Serme takes on Egypt’s Yathreb Adel in the women’s draw for a place in the last eight.

They are followed on court by Canada’s Hollie Naughton, who claimed a big win over England’s Emily Whitlock in round one, and England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro.

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy and reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini will both also be in action today as they get their campaigns under way in Eindhoven. They take on England’s Chris Simpson and eight-time World Champion
Nicol David, respectively.

All matches are on the glass court and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and Facebook (excluding Europe and Japan).

Can’t watch the action? You can also follow the live scores.


Serme Delivers Blow to Adel

France’s World No.4 Camille Serme booked her place in the DPD Open quarter-finals, courtesy of a 3-1 win over Egypt’s World No.18 Yathreb Adel.

The Frenchwoman made a great start to make light work of Adel and pick the Egyptian off with her shot selection to take the first game in just six minutes.

Adel came back stronger in the second to take the lead, however, it was not enough to stop the consistent Serme who upped her game once more towards the end to double her lead.

The Egyptian managed to creep back into the encounter in the third though, to reduce the deficit as she found her rhythm and showcased her racket skills. But Serme tightened up her play in the fourth to ensure she closed out the win by an 11-5, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6 margin to reach the last eight of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

“I knew playing Yathreb would be tricky and I was very prepared for this match,” said World No.4 Serme.

“The court is not easy, it’s pretty dead and cold and really good for Yathreb’s game I think. I was struggling to find my targets at the back, I was trying to hit it hard but it was too short. I’m just relieved to be through.

“It was a bit strange playing early, but at home we do training matches at 11, so I thought ‘you will be fine’ you just have to wake up early and do a good warm-up and I knew I would be ready.

“I was eager to play, I arrived on Monday so I have seen the matches. It’s a pretty cool venue, very different but I’m happy to be back tomorrow and playing on this court.”

[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6 (40m)

Massaro Battles Back from Brink

England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro battled back from the brink of defeat against Canada’s Hollie Naughton in a five-game thriller to reach the quarter-finals at the DPD Open.

The two players had never faced each other before on the PSA World Tour and it was Naughton who was the surprise package as she caused problems for the experienced Englishwoman to leave her staring down the barrel of defeat in Eindhoven.

The 24-year-old from Canada started strongly as Massaro struggled to find the back corners, which allowed Naughton to capitalise and use her variety to put her in pole position with a 1-0 lead against the former World No.1.

Naughton then doubled her advantage with short and sharp rallies going in her favour, with the Canadian clinical with her short game to frustrate Massaro, who struggled to find her range and accuracy.

Massaro responded in the third, however, utilising her experience to come back against the Canadian and ensure she got a foothold back in the match. The Englishwoman continued her onslaught in the fourth as her resilience, which she has become renowned for in her glittering career, came to the fore to push the match to a tense fifth game.

Massaro continued to keep the momentum firmly in her favour as she powered into a quick lead and eventually completing a huge comeback to win 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 in 49 minutes.

Massaro will face France's World No.4 Camille Serme in the next round tomorrow.

“Hollie played well for the first two,” said the former World Champion.

“When you hit things in the ceiling and into the floor, which is what I was doing for the first two, then it’s going to make things easier. She played well on the points that she won and I was awful on some points.

“We’ve never played and she’s never beaten me. I knew that I’ve got a good reputation for being a fighter, so I thought that if I’m going to go down then go down fighting and luckily it was enough in the end.

“Hollie had a really tough match the other day on a plaster court, so if anything she was at more of a disadvantage than me. She played really well, she has got nothing to lose and she took it to me. Hopefully it can free me up a bit and I can play better tomorrow.

“I don’t appreciate being called a blocker, people leave the ball in the middle of the court and I’ve got every right to take my space. I was quite happy because she said it early on and it focused me for the next rallies and probably won me the match in the end.

“I would have liked to have not spent as long on court, but the priority is to win your first match. Camille is a tough player and for once I have no pressure on my shoulders so it will be nice to play that one.”

[6] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-2: 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (49m)

Gawad Through in Five

Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad defeated France’s Gregoire Marche in five-games to secure a place in the quarter-finals at the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

The Frenchman pushed the Egyptian all the way to five-games in a thrilling battle which saw the momentum switch hands multiple times.

Marche took the first game, before Gawad showed his class to prevail in the next two with the duo putting on a masterclass of squash for the crowd inside the DPD Hub.

France’s Marche came back in the fourth to equalise and set up a battle for the finish, but it was the Egyptian who showcased his mental edge to claim the win and set up a quarter-final battle with either Germany’s Raphael Kandra or New Zealand’s Paul Coll.

“Very tough first round,” said former World Champion Gawad.

“The court is a little bit cold, we are used to hot conditions, but he’s a very strong physical player, an amazing athlete and so it was very tough for me today and I’m glad I won to get through to the quarters.

“Raneem did a great job for me today, Ali came late in the fifth game. They helped me a lot in this match and pushed me mentally. I needed that push and to be strong mentally. In the fourth game I was leading by two points and I sensed he dropped physically, but I gave away cheap points and he came back for the fifth game. So thanks to them for the push today.”

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5 (70m)

Coll Dominates Against Kandra

New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll put in a controlled performance against Germany’s Raphael Kandra to secure a quarter-final berth in Eindhoven.

The recently crowned Canary Wharf Classic winner was in unstoppable form as he comfortably put Kandra to the sword in 42 minutes.

‘Superman’ Coll sneaked the first game on the tie-break after Kandra fought back at him, however, after taking the lead it was plain sailing for the Kiwi as he never allowed his German opponent to get comfortable on court.

The Kiwi will now face Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the last eight.

“I felt really good,” said the 26-year-old from New Zealand.

“Even in the first when there was that stoppage, I think I just stopped concentrating and he stepped up and started attacking me. I just had to switch my mentality and get back to my volleying and staying in front of him because he’s very dangerous around the middle of the court and if I took that away from him, I felt like I could get the edge.

“It felt really amazing to win in Canary Wharf, I just lost out in the final the week before, which really hurt. I felt good all week and then to miss out on the title, so to follow it up the following week with a title felt really amazing. I was over the moon to get another win, it has been a couple of years and I feel really good and enjoying my squash.

“I moved over here and the likes of Cameron Pilley were still training here, I really liked the country and I have a lot of friends here. Then I met my girlfriend who is from Belgium and we made a home here and we really enjoy our lives in Holland and hopefully I’ll get some support here.”

[6] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-4 (42m)

El Sherbini on Fire Against David

Egypt’s reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini was on top form to defeat eight-time World Champion Nicol David in straight-games at the DPD Open.

The Egyptian came out of the blocks firing to down David in just 21 minutes as she fired herself to a comfortable victory against the iconic Malaysian, who announced she will be retiring at the end of this season earlier in the year.

She will now face either Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans or Egypt’s Mariam Metwally for a place in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

“It’s really hard to play Nicol, when you know it is the last season for her,” said the 23-year-old Egyptian.

“I always say its really special to play against Nicol, I have played her a lot of times and it is always special. She really did a lot for our sport and I learned a lot from her. I always looked up to her when I was younger, so it’s really tough to play against her.

“I think we played in Malaysia the first time and she beat me 3-0 in 20 minutes. I also beat her in Malaysia for the first time at the World Championships. It was a huge win for me and I beat her 3-2 and it was one of the biggest achievements I’ve done in my life.

“It’s really hard to be against Raneem and at the same time friends, so we are being friends outside the court and when we get on the court, everyone wants to win.”

David added: “Nour is the one that everyone is gunning for and is on a great roll and it’s really great to watch her play.

“I gave it my all but when she is on a roll, it’s so hard to even hit the ball straight.

“It’s very special having won two World titles in Holland, being back here with fans from Squash city they have looked after me for 16 years and worked with me for that long. It’s great to have the support team cheering me on and supporting me until the end.”

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Nicol David (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-2 (21m)

ElShorbagy Through in Three

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy was in clinical form to dispatch England’s Chris Simpson in straight-games and advance to the quarter-finals in Eindhoven.

The ‘Beast from Alexandria’ picked up from where he left off with his victory at the Grasshopper Cup last week as he stormed into an early lead, before Simpson was able to settle into the encounter.

The Englishman gave the Egyptian former World No.1 more of a battle in the second levelling the scores to 8-8 with his accurate hitting. However, once ElShorbagy took the 2-0 lead, he made sure to power to the finish line with an 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 win in 33 minutes.

He will face the winner of Marwan ElShorbagy against Joel Makin in the quarter-finals.

“He played really well,” said the 28-year-old Egyptian.

“He played really accurate, mixing the pace well and put me under pressure at times. The second game when it was 8-8 was very crucial and when I went 2-0 up I felt I had a big advantage there and I’m really happy to be through.

“It’s dead everywhere, I found it hard to get the ball past him and when he was volleying me he was putting me under pressure. It’s a good court if you play it well and clever, but if you don’t then you are going to be in a lot of trouble.

“We are still at the beginning of the year and it was good to win Grasshopper – a title I have never won before – and I had a good week there, but I’m just trying to back it up here. That’s what the top players are about, have one good tournament and come back a week later to do it all over again and then you try to do it for the whole season and then many seasons to come. I’m trying to be the best player I can be and let’s see how far I can go this week.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (33m)

Evans Prevails in Tight Metwally Battle

Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans was forced to battle hard against Egypt’s Mariam Metwally as she prevailed in five-games to set up a quarter-final battle with Nour El Sherbini at the DPD Open.

The last time the two players met, Metwally pushed the Welshwoman all the way to five at the Black Ball Squash Open last month and the Egyptian proved it wasn’t a one-off performance after she frustrated World No.9 Evans.

The Welshwoman took the first game, before 22-year-old Metwally struck back with her accurate and clean hitting to heap the pressure on Evans and ensure she levelled the scores. The Egyptian continued her assault on the front wall in the second, storming into an early lead before closing out 11-6 to take the lead.

Evans found her length in the fourth game to ensure that Metwally was pushed into the back corners of the court and was able to level the scores and force the Egyptian to a fifth.

From then on, Evans had the mental edge as she was able to close out to claim her fourth win over the Egyptian this season.
She will now face Egypt’s reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the next round.

“Since the first tournament of the year we have played in about four out of five events,” said the 26-year-old.

“Which you think would be really good, but she knows what I’m going to do, every time I went to hold it and hit it she seemed to be there and volleying it, not even just getting it.

“That was a really big match for me in many ways. I’m really happy that I dug in and showed some grit and determination, which I think in the end that is what it came down to.

“The last few weeks I haven’t felt myself on court and my main strength is my grit and I didn’t have it. That’s really hard to take when you come off court and you haven’t given it everything, so it was a really big match in so many ways. Even if I was going to lose today, I was always going to be there.

“I think I might need something more than grit against her [El Sherbini], she was coaching then so I’m going to claim 1-0 over her. She’s World Champion and she’s playing unreal. We played recently in Chicago and I took a bit of a lesson from her. I’m looking forward to a no pressure match and I’m just going to give it everything I can.”

[8] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 (52m)

Marwan Masters Makin to Reach Last Eight

Marwan ElShorbagy is through to the quarter finals of the DPD Open

Marwan ElShorbagy is through to the quarter finals of the DPD Open in Eindhoven after a fiesta battle with Welshman Joel Makin on day three of the tournament.

The pair had never met on the PSA World Tour before, but have had encounters in league matches around Europe over the last few years.

The Egyptian took the lead twice in the match, but the Golden Tiger was able to fight back to level it after winning both the second and fourth games.

ElShorbagy was able to secure victory by winning a chippy final game, and conceded that it might well have been the hardest draw he could have got for his first match of the week.

“Joel has been playing at a top ten level. He has beaten the World No.1, he has beaten a few players inside the top ten so I knew that this match was probably going to be the toughest first round match I could have got,” ElShorbagy said after his win.

“I have been watching him and I know he has improved so much, especially in his short game. I know he has been working with his coach and they deserve a lot of credit for this.

“I know Joel is going to be a top-four player very soon. I think this is a good win for me, and I am just happy with this win.

“Physicality is a part of the sport. You put two players inside a squash court, there will always be interference. It is just a part of the game. I probably expected it to get physical at some points of the match, but overall I am just happy with my performance.

“It has been a tough few months for me but I am happy that I am back. I took a break, I had to pull out of the Grasshopper Cup to recover mentally from everything I had to go through. I am still not back at my best yet, but I am only my way back and next season for me, is going to be a big one.”

ElShorbagy will now face his older brother, Mohamed, in the quarter finals tomorrow night, and he is looking to fighting both his older sibling, and the World No.1 next season.

“He [Mohamed] has been having an up and down season. Ali [Farag] has taken the World No.1 from him and he is trying to get that back. They are having a good battle for that. I am looking to fighting the two of them next season.”

[8] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (83m)