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Raneem El Welily

DPD Open - Day Four: As It Happens

The quarter-finals of the DPD Open Squash in Eindhoven, Netherlands are staged today with some tasty fixtures in store, including a meeting between the ElShorbagy brothers in the last match of the day.

The action begins at 12:00 local time (UTC+2) when England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry faces Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb for a place in the semi-finals.

They are followed on court by England’s men’s No.1 Declan James, who caused an upset in the last round with his straight-games victory over Mohamed Abouelghar, who will take on Germany’s World No.4 Simon Rosner.

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.


El Tayeb Downs Perry in Blistering Performance

Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb downed England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry in straight-games to advance to the semi-finals of the DPD Open Squash in a blistering performance in Eindhoven.

The Egyptian, who finished runner-up at the PSA World Championships in February, showed that she was a true contender for the PSA World Tour Gold title as she was ruthless to claim an 11-6, 11-8, 11-0 win against Perry.

A strong start saw El Tayeb quickly find her targets to take the first game as she executed her short game to perfection, as Perry, who is still making her comeback after an elbow injury, struggled to find her length in the opening exchanges.

Perry looked to have got back on track at the start of the second as she started to pin El Tayeb behind her and into the back corners, but the Egyptian soon came back to quickly reign the Englishwoman back in and double her advantage with her attacking squash.

It was then full steam ahead for the World No.3 in the third game as she took 11 points without reply to romp home to book her place in the last four of the tournament.

“It’s quite different here,” said the 25-year-old Egyptian.

“The conditions are very cold, as you can see the ball doesn’t bounce very much which I tried to use to my advantage. Also, today is probably the first time in my life that Ali isn’t watching me, so it’s a new experience for me.

“SJ is one of the toughest on tour, we have had so many battles and I’m sure she is still coming back from her elbow injury and I’m sure it’s not going to be the same again.

“I didn’t think it was easy, I know it’s less time on court, but I felt like I was running and working hard. I’m very happy with my performance and to be in another semi-final of a big tournament like this – I’m very proud.

“At 10-0 I didn’t want to win 11-0, but she tinned it at the end so it’s her fault! I lost so many times 11-0 to many players. Nour El Sherbini and Amanda Sobhy have both bageled me before, so I think I’m ok with being bageled or bageling someone. For now I’m happy I’m on the right side of it.”

[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-0 (22m)

Rösner Marches to Semis

Germany’s World No.4 Simon Rösner marched past England’s No.1 Declan James to book his place in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold event.

The German put on a masterclass performance to take out James, who secured a big upset in the last round against World No.8 Mohamed Abouelghar, and secure his fifth win over the Englishman.

Rösner started brightly to charge into an early lead, before James reigned him back in. However, it was not enough to stop the World No.4 who took the first game, before, weathering a storm from James to double his lead in the second with the court conditions suiting his attacking attributes perfectly.

The tall German then powered towards the finish line to close out a comfortable 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 victory in 39 minutes.

“I played really focused from the first point today and I think that was really good for my squash,” said the 31-year-old from Paderborn.

“Especially against someone like Dec, who is a really confident player, if he gets leads he can really destroy you. I was focused from the first point and I kept it throughout the match which was really important.

“Every once in a while I tried to lift it to get back into the rhythm. I just want to thank my coach, Oliver [Pettke], who has been here in the last few days training with me. It made a big difference for me today, if I didn’t have him in my corner then I think I would have struggled even though the result looked like I won quite comfortably.

“We all try to break the big wall of Egyptians that are playing so well. They always have been good, but especially at the moment they are playing brilliant. It’s a good feeling to be one of the non-Egyptians up there trying to give them a hard time and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

[4] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 (39m)

El Welily Battles Past Sobhy

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Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily and United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy played an epic five-game battle in front of a packed crowd at the DPD Open, with the Egyptian booking her place in the semi-finals.

The two players had not faced each other since Sobhy returned from her Achilles injury last year, with El Welily leading the head-to-head record with nine wins to Sobhy’s one.

The American came agonisingly close to claiming her first win over the Egyptian in three years, but El Welily was able to battle past the American, utilising her experience to close out the big points in a match which showcased the strength of the women’s tour.

Recently crowned Texas Open winner got off to the perfect start to surprise El Welily and take the opening game, but , the World No.1 soon found her rhythm to take the next two. Buoyed on by the support of the crowd packed inside the DPD Hub, Sobhy roared back though to level the scores for the loss of just four points to push the match a fifth.

The lead constantly exchanged hands in the final game, when finally at 8-8 El Welily was able to nudge ahead and didn’t look back as she closed out an 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8 victory in 53 minutes.

She will now face compatriot and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb for a place in the final.

“I’m very happy to be through,” said the 30-year-old Egyptian.

“I’ve been waiting for the day to play Amanda since she came back from injury, so this says a lot about her comeback and all credit to her. She played so well and was so sharp today to push me to my limit. At 8-8 in the fifth I was hanging in and I was afraid she was going to fire something into the nick like she did in previous points but I’m very happy that I managed to stay in those rallies.

“It’s been a very good season for me, I’m definitely enjoying myself on the court more than I did in previous years. I don’t want it to stop, I really want to keep on playing and winning as much as I can, but mostly enjoy it.

“It’s less stress not having to worry about his matches, but it’s hard not having me and his support and advice. But he’s earned his rest and hopefully he’s getting ready for Gouna next week.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8 (53m)

Farag Prevails Against Rodriguez

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag was forced to be on his game to overcome Colombia’s British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez in four-games in Eindhoven.

The reigning World Champion looked comfortable in the first game as he found his targets and range quickly to take a two-game lead. However, Rodriguez came back in the third to make it a slightly edgier affair with the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ showing off his skill on court.

Farag took the lead in the fourth, before Rodriguez was forced to take an injury break after going over on his ankle in the early stages.

The injury looked to have affected his movement as Farag regained control of proceedings, however, Rodriguez soon battled back again to dispel multiple match balls held by Farag, before the Egyptian eventually closed out by an 11-5, 11-1, 6-11, 11-9 scoreline.

Farag will now face Germany’s Simon Rösner in the semi-finals tomorrow.

“I guess I was inspired by Nour’s level today,” said Farag following his victory.

“I started off as well as she did. In the first two I felt like I was finding my targets quite well, the court is quite dead in all of the corners. In the third he was coming back at me and he found better targets. Then as I was losing the third I said to myself I needed to regroup and find the back corners again and I think I did that well.

“It was unfortunate the incident he had, and I hope it’s nothing serious because we have another tournament in less than a week.

“That’s the beauty of our sport that you can put a glass court anywhere in the world and we really enjoy it. It’s a great way to showcase our sport and I think Miguel and I did our sport proud today.

“Everyone is improving day after day and we haven’t played since the British Open when he beat me and so I was aware of that today. He has been playing well all season so I was on my metal for the match today.

“Me and Simon have played a lot this season. He beat me at the U.S. Open, but tomorrow is going to be a big one. We have been playing in the latter stages of tournaments a lot and I’m sure tomorrow is going to be another big one.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-1: 11-5, 11-1, 6-11, 11-9 (49m)

Serme Reaches Semis

France’s World No.4 Camille Serme defeated England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro to reach the semi-finals of the DPD Open Squash.

The two players have met 15 times on the PSA Tour previously, with Serme claiming the last five in a row and the Frenchwoman ensured she kept up that good run of form as she overcame the hard-to-beat Englishwoman in four games.

Serme took the first game comfortably, before Massaro, who scrapped past Canada’s Hollie Naughton in the last round, raised her game to battle back in the second and equalise.

However, Serme soon found her range and accuracy again to rattle off the winners and secure her place in the semi-finals by an 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 scoreline.

“I’ve kind of looked up to Laura as a mentor since the beginning,” said the Frenchwoman.

“We’ve had really strong matches in the past and I know how strong she is mentally, and she can always come back from any situation. After the first game I knew not to think it was going to be easy because she can come back strongly, and she did.

“She’s very smart and always tries to find solutions tactically and that’s why she’s been World No.1 and World Champion.

“I had to try and stay focus the whole game and not have ups and downs. I tried to find my length better again and volley again.”

[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [6] Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-1: 11-3, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (40m)

Gawad Pushed by Coll

Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad was pushed all the way in a tight encounter with New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll at the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.

Gawad and Coll have met just three times on the PSA World Tour in the past, with the Kiwi claiming the last two victories. However, Gawad made sure to change that run of form as he came from one game down to take out Amsterdam-local Coll.

The Kiwi found himself 6-3 down in the opening moments, but soon regrouped to get back into the swing of things as he dug in to take the first game.

The next two games went in the favour of the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ and he looked as though he was going to close out relatively comfortably in the fourth game, before Coll once again showcased his mental strength to save numerous matchballs with some controversial decisions along the way.

Gawad was able to maintain his composure, however, and closed out the match at the seventh attempt and will now face either Mohamed or Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the final.

“I’m feeling great,” said former World Champion Gawad.

“Coming back from 6-10, to 10-10 and then almost winning the game shows how good he is and how mentally strong he is. I had to fight from the first point to be able to beat someone like Paul today.

“I have a lot of tactics, I lost to him the last two times we played, so I knew I had to have two or three plans in place to win today. Playing him I only had to play the good basics, if I played the basics good then I’d be able to play a little better than I used to against him. He’s such a great player physically.

“It’s great playing here and having a tournament in Holland is great for all of us in such a nice country. It’s amazing to see how many people like squash here in Holland so thanks to everyone who came and supported us and hopefully they will come in the next two rounds.”

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [6] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 14-12 (75m)

Egypt’s current World Champion Nour El Sherbini was in clinical form to take out Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans in straight-games to set up a semi-final showdown with France’s Camille Serme.

Former World No.1 El Sherbini dispatched eight-time World Champion Nicol David in 21 minutes yesterday and proved to carry on that form today as she didn’t put a foot wrong to close out an 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 win.

Evans battled throughout the match, particularly in the first two games, but it was not enough to disrupt an in form El Sherbini, who proved that she is going to be hard to beat in Eindhoven with her imperious squash this week.

“I’m really happy to win in three,” said three-time World Champion El Sherbini.

“It may have looked easy, but it’s never easy playing Tesni. The first two games were really close, I worked really hard to beat her and I’m very happy with my performance. I’m looking forward to the next round.

“It’s hard to warm-up with it being cold, but once you get on court and start the game, then I felt better. The conditions are better and I’m used to the court more, the seats are full today so maybe that made a difference, but I’m used to it and happy playing on it.”

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [8] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (27m)

Mohamed Masters Marwan

Mohamed (r) met Marwan for the first time in almost a year

Mohamed ElShorbagy was almost perfect against younger brother Marwan, as he booked his place in the semi finals of the DPD Open in Eindhoven.

This was the first meeting between the pair since last year’s El Gouna International. Marwan took the victory in that one on his way to winning the event in his home country.

This time though, it all went the way of ‘The Beast’, as he overcame his sibling in three. The former World No.1 started brightly, and carried on his form to win the match.

Despite the apparent ease on the scoreboard, ElShorbagy knew he had to be on his game from the very beginning against the ‘Jackal’ this evening.

“I had to [be sharp]. When he plays me, or Ali [Farag], or Tarek [Momen], or any of these top guys, he can turn his engine on at any time,” Mohamed said of his younger brother.

“He was once playing at a very high standard. You don’t just lose that all of a sudden, and he can turn it on at any time. I had to be very sharp from the first point, I had to be aggressive.

“I thought it was a high quality match. He definitely made me play at my best today, and that is what I really had to do to beat him.

“He is a very clever player, very streetwise. He knows how to get into his opponent’s head very well and it is never easy. He knows how to stop you relaxing when you are on court and it is something he is very clever at doing and it is a credit to him.

“He is very clever and always, if you try and be as clever as him on court, you are going to lose out. You need to just focus on what you need to do. There were times when he got into my head, especially in the first game, and a little bit in the second as well.”

ElShorbagy will now face another fellow Egyptian in the semi finals, in former World No.1 and World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad.