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World No.1 Ali Farag

DPD Open - Semi Finals: As It Happens

The semi-finals of the DPD Open Squash in Eindhoven, Netherlands take place today as the remaining players battle it out for a place in the men’s and women’s finals.

The action begins at 15:00 local time (UTC+2) with an all-Egyptian battle between World No.1 Raneem El Welily and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb.

The two players last faced each other in the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships, when El Tayeb stunned El Welily to reach her maiden World Championship final in a thrilling five-game battle in Chicago.

They are followed on court by Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag and Germany’s World No.4 Simon Rosner in the men’s draw.

The two players have met four times already this season, with three of those meetings coming in the last four stage and Rosner will be looking to disrupt the Egyptian charge on European soil.

The other two semi-finals will see France’s World No.4 Camille Serme take on Egypt’s reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini in what is sure to be another thrilling battle.

The last two times the players have met it went to five-game with El Sherbini sneaking the win, however, Serme will be looking to change that run and book her place in the PSA World Tour Gold final.

The final match will see the battle of Egypt’s former World No.1s and World Champions Karim Abdel Gawad and Mohamed ElShorbagy.

The two Egyptians are familiar rivals and will not doubt bring the curtain down on an exciting day of semi-final action.

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

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


El Welily Pushed All the Way by El Tayeb

World No.1 Raneem El Welily was forced all the way to five-games for the third time this week in Eindhoven as she overcame compatriot and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb.

The last time the two players met saw El Tayeb claim a shock victory in a five-game thriller in the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships in Chicago and El Welily ensured she avenged that defeat with another five-game epic, this time in the Netherlands.

El Welily started strongly to open up the lead, before El Tayeb grew into the game and hit her stride to push El Welily all the way in the first, but the ‘Enigma’ was able to close out to take the opener.

El Tayeb came out firing in the second though to open up a huge lead, however, El Welily continued to rattle off the points to come within closing distance of her compatriot, before hitting the tin to allow El Tayeb to draw level.

25-year-old El Tayeb continued her hot streak to take the lead for the first time in the match, however, El Welily soon roared back to push the match to a decider after claiming the fourth game in a quickfire four minutes.

The World No.1 continued to show good composure as she came back from going 3-0 down in the fifth to hold two match balls. However, El Tayeb refused to go away taking things right down to the wire on the tie-break, but it was the World No.1 who was able to reach the final with a 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-2, 12-10 victory.

“I think it was a bit scrappy today,” said 30-year-old El Welily.

“Probably most of the match, but it was a well fought match today and that’s what matters. This match and the fans deserved a better ending but I guess today was my luck to finish this way. Nour played really well and maybe better than me in some parts of the match, but I just hung in there and tried to push myself to fight until the end and I live to see another day.

“It’s something I’ve been working on. My attitude and personality on court they help me get to where I am today and it’s definitely something I’ve been working on and I’m happy to be in another final this season.

“The crowd is absolutely fantastic. It’s been a while since we’ve played in Europe, that’s not England, so it’s very exciting to have a different crowd. I’ve seen so many people the last few days and hopefully they will come to many more tournaments.”

[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-2, 12-10 (60m)

Farag Reaches Final with Dominant Display

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag continued his strong form to take out Germany’s Simon Rösner in straight-games and advance to the final.

They were facing each other for the fifth time this season and it was reigning World Champion Farag who powered to victory to reach his eighth final of the season.

It was a gallant effort from the big German, particularly in the first game, as he took the lead with some explosive moments of squash, before Farag came back at him to take the lead on the tie-break.

That lead proved to be crucial as from then on Farag was able to continue his momentum to double his lead in the second, before closing out comfortably in the third.

He will face either compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy or Karim Abdel Gawad in tomorrow’s final.

“I’m really happy,” said 26-year-old Farag.

“Winning that first game was really important because I know it could have been totally different if I lost that one. I think my movement got me through today, I don’t think my squash was the best, he was dominating the ‘T’ area for most of the time. I’m just glad I was moving well and picking up a lot of his balls. It’s always tough against Simon, tough but very fair, so it’s always a joy to play against him especially in front of this crowd.

“After Nour lost that last point, it was tough but the two of us are used to it by now. We’ve played one after the other quite a few times this season, but she put in a great display of squash, so you can’t really be disappointed.

“I would like to improve my length hitting and my short game a little – I think it was a little better yesterday, but one thing I’m definitely happy about is my movement.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [4] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-5 (38m)

El Sherbini Overcomes Serme in Five

Egypt’s reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini overcame France’s World No.4 Camille Serme in five-games to book her place in the final, where she will take on Raneem El Welily.

The last two times the Egyptian and the Frenchwoman have met it has gone to five-games in the favour of El Sherbini and this time was no different as Serme pushed the 23-year-old all the way once again.

El Sherbini showed the kind of form that has seen her not drop a game so far this week as she rattled off the points with her immaculate hitting to cause problems for Serme and hit outright winners to take a two-game lead.

Serme didn’t do much wrong in the opening two games but was unable to unsettle El Sherbini, until the third game when the Frenchwoman stepped up the court and swung the momentum completely in her favour to draw level, winning the next two games for the loss of just five points.

However, the resilience of Serme waned in the fifth game as three-time World Champion El Sherbini regained control to close out in the fifth and reach the final by an 11-9, 11-4, 2-11, 3-11, 11-6 scoreline.

“It is the third time that I have beaten Camille 3-2,” said 23-year-old El Sherbini.

“That shows how hard and tough the match is every time, unfortunately we have played the last three tournaments against each other, back to back, but I’m really glad to be on the winning side.

“After being up 2-0, she really came back strong and was attacking everything when I was a bit passive and flat. In the fifth I tried to get myself back and be mentally strong, I had good advice from Raneem and I’m really glad I came back strong and won.

“The top ten are really strong and every match is hard. You can expect anyone to win against the top players now. I’m trying to be as consistent as I can even if I win every tournament.

“Raneem has been coaching me in all the matches, so she knows all my weaknesses now. We have been fighting for a long time now, but every match is different and it depends on the situation and the day. Hopefully I will be more fresh than her tomorrow and hopefully it will be a good match.”

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [4] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 11-9, 11-4, 2-11, 3-11, 11-6 (52m)

ElShorbagy Reaches Final After Showcase with Gawad

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy defeated compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in four games after a spectacular match with showcased the best of both players ability.

The head-to-head record was heavily weighted in ElShorbagy’s favour, but former World No.1 Gawad did not make it easy for his compatriot as he put his shot-making skills on full display, much to the delight of the packed crowd inside the DPD Hub.

ElShorbagy took the opening game, before Gawad battled back in the second to draw level in the battle of the former World No.1s with both players pushing each other to play their best squash.

The tight affair continued in the third, with ElShorbagy just being able to sneak ahead of 27-year-old Gawad to regain his lead in the match before an epic battle in the fourth, which ElShorbagy was able to close out.

He will now face compatriot and World No.1 Ali Farag in tomorrow’s final.

“Believe me, I was clapping as much as the crowd,” said 28-year-old ElShorbagy.

“I am one of his fans too. At the beginning he was just hitting winner after winner and I was clapping and I just had to focus. Before you play him you just have to accept that he will make you look like a fool and once you accept that then you maybe have a chance of beating him.

“We have been battling it out since we were nine-year-olds. I’m sure we will play many more battles and to be part of a match like this when you feel like everyone enjoyed it, is what we play for.

“You hope for the best and that he can give you a few errors here and there. He’s definitely the most talented squash player we have on tour now. You have to get the physicality into the match and make him work hard. The players who like making squash look easy don’t like playing players that make it look tough.

“I felt like I put a lot of work into him in the first two games and it was a really high quality match in the end.

“This is the first time we play where he is No.1 and I’m No.2 now, so it’s reverse pressure a little bit, I think he is going to feel what I always feel when I played him before. It’s going to be a new experience for both of us, he has been having an unbelievable season. He raised the bar for all of us and we are all trying to get to that level and I’m sure it’s going to be a great match tomorrow.”

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (49m)