Day THREE : Round Three begins

After two busy opening days, all the matches now take place on the Glass Court at the Squash Centre for three days before moving to the Cultural Centre for the semis and finals.

Watanabe joins top seeds in quarters as Sherbini survives HK scare

The first day of Round Three action saw seven of the quarter final places on offer taken up by the seeded players including top seeds Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini – although Sherbini survived an almighty scare when she was taken to five games by Hong Kong’s Chan Sin Yuk.

The only seeding upset came as Japan’s Satomi Watanabe ousted seventh seed Salma Hany in four games.

Reports, quotes and photos below the results …

TTI Milwaukee Kong Kong Squash Open 2023 : Round THREE (top)

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 Chan Sin Yuk (Hkg)   11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7 (50m)
[6]Tinne Gilis (Bel) 3-0 Hana Moataz (Egy)   11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (22m)
[9/16] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 3-1 [7] Salma Hany (Egy)   14-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (57m)
[3] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-0 [9/16] Amina Orfi (Egy)   11-5, 11-8, 11-1 (29m)

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Patrick Rooney (Eng)   11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (35m)
[6] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-1 Omar Mosaad (Egy)   11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10 (45m)
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Raphael Kandra (Ger)   11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3 (44m)
[3] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Youssef Soliman (Egy)   11-13, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (62m)


Tinne races into Quarter-Finals

[6] Tinne Gilis (Bel) 3-0 Hana Moataz (Egy) 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (22m)

Belgium’s Tinne Gilis became the first player to reach the quarter-finals as she dominated in her first meeting with Egypt’s Hana Moataz.

“I’m very happy. I think it’s the first time I’ve played Hana in PSA, so it’s nice to play someone new and she had two tough matches and I was hoping she would feel it a bit in her legs.

“I tried to focus on my game plan and it was good to have Greg in my corner today because his knowledge of the game is so good, he sees things I don’t see so it’s good to have him in my corner and that definitely helped today.

“I wanted to start this game testing her a little bit physically to see how her legs are doing and I tried to hit my shots and my targets. It’s a pretty dead court so I tried to take advantage of that and that worked pretty well for me.”

Sobhy sizzles past Orfi

[3] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-0 [9/16] Amina Orfi (Egy) 11-5, 11-8, 11-1 (29m)

World junior champion Amina Orfi had got close to beating Amanda Sobhy (world junior champion in 2010) at the US Open, but there was no repeat of that today as the American dominated the match from start to finish. The 16 year old Egyptian got closest in the second, but once Sobhy had doubled her lead she raced through the third in double quick time.

“I’m pretty happy considering this is our third time playing this season and we’ve built up a seasoned veteran versus a young ’un battle.

At the U.S. Open it was a little bit close for my liking and I wanted to send a message out today that I can do so much better and once I play with my head and tactics-wise instead of with my ego and emotions, it’s much prettier squash on my end.

“Even though she was really close to beating me at the U.S. Open, I knew I didn’t play good squash and I wanted to redeem myself and I feel night and day better than what I was at the U.S. Open even though it’s been a short amount of time. I just wanted to play and let my squash do the talking this time so I’m really pleased to win in three.”

Tarek keeps the record going

[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Raphael Kandra (Ger) 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3 (44m)

Tarek Momen had won all eight matches against Raphael Kandra going into this match, and the Egyptian eighth seed kept that run going, but it was a great effort by Kandra.

There was little to choose between the in the first three games, and although Momen edged the first two it was Kandra’s turn to finish stronger in the third. That was the end of it though, as Momen ran away with the fourth as the points slipped quickly by.

“I’m very pleased with how I managed to keep it together. Raphael is a very tough contender, he had a good win yesterday and he’s been playing well recently. I knew I was in for a tough one and I already had a tough one yesterday so I wanted to get over it with the least damage possible, but against Raphael it’s not easy so I’m happy with the win.

“I was struggling with the first one and my lungs were opening up towards the second half of the match. The first two games I was struggling with a bit of residual fatigue from yesterday, I’ve had a tough week anyway so I was trying to get myself going and he didn’t make it easy for me.

“He kept fighting and played very well so I was pleased to get through that first one and get it together in the second one. The only one I was disappointed with was the third as I had good momentum at 5-3 up – we had a tough rally, I won it and I was in control and then I made some silly errors which got him back. He stepped up but I was happy to get on with it in the fourth, regroup and play well again.”

Asal rallies to reach R3

[3] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Youssef Soliman (Egy) 11-13, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5 (62m)

Defending Champion Mostafa Asal was given a real test in the opening game by compatriot Youssef Soliman, who started brightly leading 5-0 and 8-3. Asal, error-prone in the early stages, settled and worked his way back into the game but couldn’t quite complete the comeback as Soliman took the lead after 25 minutes.

The next three games took only a little longer than that as Asal continued the momentum to dominate the rest of the match.

“It was a tough match, for sure. There was a lot of errors – six errors in the first game and Youssef  was playing well.

“There was a lot of unforced errors, it was 9-2 up and I got back 11-10 to game ball and I was trying to close it out but I didn’t get it.”

Sherbini survives seismic scare

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 Chan Sin Yuk (Hkg) 11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7 (50m)

At 0-2 and 4-6 with most wondering if the match would last longer than 20 minutes, Chan Sin Yuk staged a remarkable comeback to put top seed Nour El Sherbini under enormous pressure.

Sherbini got to 10-7 in that third, but couldn’t finish it off – tinning one inviting dropshot that would have been a certain winner – as Chan fought back and to the delight of the crowd levelled the match.

They were even more delighted when she got to 10-8 in the fourth, taking that 12-10 also, and at 7-all in the third surely anything – even the unthinkable – could have happened. In the event it was the World #1, World Champion and top seed who kept her bid for a first Hong Kong Open title alive … but what a scare she had !

“It’s hard right now, I don’t really know what was happening, but it was my first time playing her and she beat some good players here in Hong Kong.

“I was in control in the first two games but it was a very tight last three games. She came back and everything was working for her. It was a new player for me so I didn’t quite know what to expect.

“She was going for every shot and having fun and that’s why it was working for her. I lost a little bit of confidence and a bit off my game plan, but I’m just glad I won in the end.”

Big upset for Satomi

[9/16] Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 3-1 [7] Salma Hany (Egy) 14-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (57m)

Japan’s Satomi Watanabe made the quarter-finals for the second year in a row with a sensational upset win over seventh seed Salma Hany. The first game was point for point with tense rallies and plenty of decisions required of the referee. Both had chances to take the lead but it was the Egyptian who edged ahead when at 13-12 Satomi’s pickup was deemed not up on review.

But it was Watanabe who held the edge in the next three games, delightedly closing out the fourth to claim a spot in the last eight, where she will face top seed Nour El Sherbini.

“It was really hard in the first two and the beginning of the third because of the stoppages, but I just told myself to make no comment and to get on with it because if you care too much about it I can’t actually stick to my game plan and get blinded in my head.

“If you’re hitting the right shot you should be getting the decision anyway, so I just try to play through any kind of contact there is.”

“I’m really looking forward to playing Nour. I played her in the French league quite recently and she chopped me there so hopefully I can give a good game against her.”

Farag tested but safely through

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 Patrick Rooney (Eng) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (35m)

Top seed Ali Farag kept his bid for a first Hong Kong Open title on track as he beat England’s Patrick Rooney in three close games.

Rooney was never far adrift on the scoreboard, but the World #1 and World Champion kept a tight hold on affairs and looked as though he could step up a gear or two if needed.

“I think I played very well. Patrick’s a great player, I don’t really know why he’s not higher up in the rankings, he’s got everything in the book. He moves really well, he volleys really well and I had to mix up the pace and use the entire front wall to get it beyond his reach.

“It wasn’t easy, he stayed in the rallies and to get through in three, I’m really happy.

“He was really structuring the game very well, he was taking my volley away, but I contained it as well as possible. Some points I was outplayed, but I was okay with that, and I weathered the storm and then imposed my game plan when I could.”

Mazen wins all-Egyptian clash

[6] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-1 Omar Mosaad (Egy) 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 12-10 (45m)

Two familiar foes met in the last match of the day, and between them Mazen Hesham and Omar Mosaad treated the evening crowd to some quality squash with entertaining rallies.

The opening two games were close and shared, but after Hesham ran away with the third he looked the likely winner. Mosaad fought back though, and had a 10-8 advantage in the fourth, but a couple of unforced errors cost him and Hesham needed no second invitation, taking the match on a stroke as Mosaad mishit down the middle of the court.

“Mosaad took me by surprise tonight, he switched up his tactics a bit, I think he played how I used to play with him when I was young, like very fast-paced and taking the ball short.

“Even when I won the first game, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. The second game was almost the same, I lost my concentration a bit but the third game was good. To be honest, he made me edgy, sometimes I had to go wide and sometimes he was going with the drives.”

“I think the quarter is going to be a tough match, Ali is on form at the minute and is the man to beat at the moment. I will try to enjoy it as much as I can and make it as hard for him as I can.”