Day Five : Quarter-Finals

It’s Quarter-Finals Day at Hong Kong Squash Centre, the last day before action moves to the Xiqu Centre for semis and finals.

Seven of the eight matches went to seeding with Paul Coll‘s defeat of second seed Diego Elias the only upset result, but there were dramatic moments along the way, particularly from Amanda Sobhy and Mohamed ElShorbagy who both squeezed out five game wins.

Check out the reports and quotes below the results …

TTI Milwaukee Hong Kong Squash Open 2023 : Day FIVE, QUARTER-FINALS

Women’s Quarters :

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn)  11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 (42m)
[3] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-2 [6] Tinne Gilis (Bel)  11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 12-10 (51m)

[4] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-1 Siva Subramaniam (Mas)  11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9 (56m)
[2] Hania El Hammamy
(Egy) 3-1 [8] Rowan Elaraby (Egy)  11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (59m)

Men’s Quarters :

[1] Ali Farag(Egy) 3-0 [6] Mazen Hesham (Egy)  11-3, 12-10, 11-7 (34m)
[3] Mostafa Asal
(Egy) 3-0 [8] Tarek Momen (Egy)   11-5, 4-0 rtd (16m)

[4] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Eng) 3-2 [7] Marwan ElShorbagy (Eng)  11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8 (76m)
[5] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 [2] Diego Elias (Per)  11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (40m)


Reports and Reaction

Amanda digs it out to reach semis

[3] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-2 [6] Tinne Gilis (Bel)  11-9, 6-11, 11-3, 8-11, 12-10 (51m)

What a match to start quarter-finals day ! Amanda Soby and Tinne Gilis traded games to set up a decisive fifth.

The American forged ahead to 7-2, only for the Belgian to rally to 10-8 !  But it was Sobhy who took the next four points and the match, Gilis diving into the back corner trying in vain to retrieve the winning shot.

It’s seven years since Sobhy last appeared in a Hong Kong semi-final, so she was understandably delighted !

“It was a bit of a seesaw battle!

“It was very unforgiving at the front and I was doing a lot of court sprints. Tinne has crept into the top ten, highest World Ranking and her biggest patch of play for her for good reason.

“We haven’t played in a while, we’re good friends off court and I knew it was going to be a battle. Maybe it wasn’t as consistent on my end but I’m proud of myself of finding a way through at 10-8 down in the fifth even though I was 7-2 up and I shouldn’t have let it get so close!

“I’m happy to compete in a battle like that and I’m happy to be in the semi finals.”

Sherbini squeezes past Satomi

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn)  11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 (42m)

Taken to five games in her last match, top seed Nour El Sherbini looked to have put those wobbles behind her as she took a two game lead over Japan’s Satomi Watanabe. But the Japanese fought back, taking the third and at 9-all in the fourth another nervous fifth games looked on the cards.

But after a couple of frantic rallies and on match ball Satomi found the tin and Sherbini was through to a semi-final against Amanda Sobhy.

“I’m definitely very pleased to get through today. I didn’t want today’s match to be the same as it was in my last round, but Satomi is a very tough and tricky opponent and she has all the abilities to be in the top ten now.

“I’ve been watching her since juniors and the level is almost at the top ten now and I’m pleased with the way I ended the match.

“She took the third off me and she was more aggressive and attacking more in front of me so I had to start the fourth strong and take the lead and be the aggressive one.”

Asal through as Momen retires ill

[3] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 [8] Tarek Momen (Egy)   11-5, 4-0 rtd (16m)

Defending champion Mostafa Asal is through to the semis after Tarek Momen retired feeling ill part-way through their second game.

“I wish Tarek a speedy recovery. I looked at his face before the match and it seemed that he wasn’t well. I told him before we shook hands that there seems to be something wrong and I wish him a speedy recovery.

“I wanted it to be an amazing match – I know there’s some past history but I’m coming back, lots of respect for the players and Tarek is one of the great Egyptians and at 35 he’s still playing at the best level.”

Farag still on track

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 [6] Mazen Hesham (Egy)  11-3, 12-10, 11-7 (34m)

Top seed Ali Farag kept his bid for a first Hong Kong title on track with a three-nil won over compatriot Mazen Hesham.

The world #1 and world champion was in control in the first game, but found himself 3-7 and 6-10 down in the second as Hesham began to find his range with his trademark winners.

Farag pegged the lead back though to take a two-nil lead, and was always ahead in the third as Mazen found more tins than winners.

“I don’t think Mazen was firing on all cylinders but I took full advantage of it and played well.

“In the second I don’t think I did much wrong up until 9-3 down – he was just firing in winner after winner. I just wanted to give it a big push as the worst thing you can do when it’s 1-1 against Mazen and the first two games aren’t physical enough.

“I wanted to put in a big burst and fortunately it went my way. He started to feel something, not sure if it was his leg, but credit to him he came back strong in the third. But I was happy to close it out in three.

“The plan was to do it at 7-3 down [to extend the rallies], but I couldn’t do it until I was 9-3 down. He won one point at 6-9 and I wanted to put as much work into his legs as possible and into his head as well so I could capitalise on that. I was relieved to see it go my way.”

Hania keeps up senior record over Rowan

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-1 [8] Rowan Elaraby (Egy)  11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 (59m)

Defending Champion Hania El Hammamy maintained her record of not losing to Rowan Elaraby in PSA matches – they shared many junior battles with wins for both – as she came through an entertaining hour long encounter.

Hania opened up a big lead in the first, which Rowan narrowly missed out on closing down, tinning a simple shot which would have given her game ball. She took the second though to level before Hania got the better of the third to retake the lead,

Hania requested a new ball for the third and it seemed to pay dividends as she opened up a lead and never looked like relinquishing it.

“It’s always a tough battle against Rowan, we’ve had a long rivalry since juniors, and I’ve always known what an attacking player she is.

“Whenever she gets an opportunity to go short, she does that, so I had to stay on my toes throughout the whole match. I think it was a very tough first three games in which I pushed her physically, and I think in the fourth, it went in my favour due to all the work I was doing in the match.

“I felt in the third that the ball was becoming slower after playing game after game, so I felt a new ball would suit how I could make it physical and could pick up those winners.”

Nele comes through a thriller !

[4] Nele Gilis (Bel) 3-1 Siva Subramaniam (Mas)  11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9 (56m)

Belgium’s Nele Gilis reached her second Platinum semifinal with a thrilling win over in-form Malaysian Siva Subramaniam.

Siva led 8-5 in the first but Nele managed to claw that back and take the lead, then doubled her advantage with more controlled hitting in the second.

At 10-8 in the third Nele looked to be semi-final bound, but four points in a row for Siva and the match was back in the balance.

The fourth was nip and tuck, but it was the Belgian who got to match ball first and only needed one opportunity – well two since on the initial rally Siva’s ball was called not up the declared good on the review for a let – to seal her place in the semis.

“Siva is such a dangerous opponent and I’m just glad to have found a way to win. “I tried to shut her attacking shots down completely. I tried to slow her down and put her in the back corners and I think I managed to do that pretty well for most of the match. When I wasn’t hitting my targets, she was just hitting winners from everywhere.

“I’m very lucky to have had SJ in my corner, and she just told me to stay focused and reset on my game plan again ahead of the fourth.”

On her upcoming semi-final against Hania El Hammamy: “It’s going to be a completely different game with Hania tomorrow but we’ve had some tough battles in the past. I’m really excited it’s in the semi-finals tomorrow and not earlier!”

Coll stops Diego’s second final bid

[5] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 [2] Diego Elias (Per)  11-8, 11-7, 11-4 (40m)

New Zealand’s Paul Coll reached the semi-finals with an emphatic victory over last year’s finalist Diego Elias, with the Peruvian not at the races for the majority of the match.

Coll took the opening two games, winning the big points, and in the third Diego looked to be putting in sporadic efforts, but often just letting points go knowing the game was up.

“I’ve been looking to put those performances in for a while now and play that aggressively and that quickly. Diego has been in top form and I knew that he was going to want blood from the U.S. Open so I’m very happy with that result and that performance.

“I think there were a few big moments in the match today which I knew I had to win, otherwise it could have been similar to the U.S. Open, where I lost a few of those big moments. Today I was adamant that when it was around 8-8 and it was a big point, I was going to push hard and not give him anything.”

“It’s obviously a new court tomorrow, it’s going to play different so I’ll have to go over tomorrow to see how it plays temperature-wise. It’s almost feeling a little bit like a new tournament tomorrow on a new court and a new venue.”

Mohamed turns the tables

[4] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Eng) 3-2 [7] Marwan ElShorbagy (Eng)  11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8 (76m)

The brothers played out a five game sibling match just over a week ago in Singapore, and there it was Marwan who prevailed. Tonight’s match was just as feisty, just as unpredictable, but in the end it was Mohamed who ran out the winner, moving into the semis in his bid for a fifth Hong Kong title.

With the first four games shared, that win was in the balance in the fifth game as Mohamed pulled up at 6-7 having strained his hip, needing the physio and a self-inflicted injury break. He got back into action, still in pain though.

At 9-7 to Mohamed, Marwan went tumbling trying to get to the ball. He received a conduct stroke for ‘trying to influence the referee’ during the decision process. That put Mohamed on match ball, and if the decision was no let that would be the match. It ended up as a stroke to Marwan making the score 10-8, and Mohamed only needed one opportunity.

“I’m really happy to win. It’s always tough to play against your brother, it was very tense out there today.

“I think he played better today than he did in Singapore, but I was very much up for it at the same time. It was a good match, happy to win and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Mini Gallery – lots more in the full gallery