Day THREE : Round Three begins

Watanabe joins seven seeds in the Quarters

The Everbright Securities International Hong Kong Open continued on Day three with eight Round Three round matches on the Show Court at  the Hong Kong Squash Centre, with the first eight quarter-finalists to be decided.

For the most part the seeded players progressed with some comfort, the exception being unseeded Satomi Watanabe‘s victory over sixth seed Rowan Elaraby, making her the first Japanese player tom reach a PSA Platinum quarter-final.

Find out how all the matches went below the results …

Everbrite Securities International Hong Kong Squash Open : Round THREE (top)

Women’s Round Three :

[1] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Jasmine Hutton (Eng)    11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3 (48m)
Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 3-1 [6] Rowan Elaraby (Egy)  11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9 (44m)

[5] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-1 Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy)  9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3 (33m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Aifa Azman (Mas)  11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (27m)

Men’s Round Three :

[2] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 [9/16] Patrick Rooney (Eng)  11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (42m)
[8] Youssef Soliman (Egy) 3-0 Auguste Dussourd (Fra)  15-13, 11-3, 11-8 (53m)

[6] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Iker Pajares (Esp)   4-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 (42m)
[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Eng) 3-0 Ivan Yuen (Mas)   11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (23m)


Reports and Reaction

ElShorbagy races into quarter-finals

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Eng) 3-0 Ivan Yuen (Mas)   11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (23m)

Mohamed ElShorbagy continued his hot streak as he made it ten wins in succession to progress to the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win against Ivan Yuen in a repeat of their 2009 World Junior Open final.

ElShorbagy, who has won four titles this season already, was behind in the opening game before winning six unanswered points to take the first in just seven minutes. He stormed through the second then recovered from 2-5 down in the third to take the match in just 23 minutes.

“Very happy. Ivan and myself go way back, he was my greatest rival in juniors, but 2010 and 2012 were the last times we played so it’s been ten years and it was good to get on court again.

Mazen in good form, I’m in good form, so people will be expecting a good match from us. He’s won his first title in seven years having a great win against Tarek in the final in Malaysia, and it’s never easy to beat Tarek. He’s going to be full of confidence and I’m looking forward to getting back on court with him.

Hesham despatches Pajares after slow start

[6] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Iker Pajares (Esp)   4-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-5 (42m)

Mazen Hesham battled back from a game down to produce a ruthless display to down Spain’s Iker Pajares.

A slow start from Hesham was punished as Pajares claimed the first game 11-4, but the Egyptian sparked into life from the second as he raced through the next three games, unleashing some trademark holds and winners.

“It was really tough mentally more than physically to back after Malaysia,” said Hesham. “I had a really tough tournament and I was not used to that. To play six matches in seven or eight days is not normal for me. But I’m happy the way I came back after the first.

“I need to give myself some credit though, I’ve done great with the stuff I’ve faced over the years and I’m going to push as much as I can until the end of my career and we’ll see how far I can get.”

Hammamy ousts Aifa in three

[3] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Aifa Azman (Mas)  11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (27m)

Third seed  Hania El Hammamy cruised into the quarter-finals as she swatted aside Aifa Azman 3-0.

Errors from Azman towards the end of a high-paced first game were punished by El Hammamy, who opened up a 5-1 lead in the second. Azman was able to reduce the arrears but Hammamy powered through to double her lead. It was the Malaysian who led in the third, but ftom 2-5 down Hammamy again upped the pace to take the match in three games on her third match ball.

“I’m definitely happy to be through in three,” said El Hammamy. “I played against Aifa many times in the juniors, so I knew what to expect from her and how tricky it can be to play against her. I had to be on my toes and tried to stick to my game plan as much as I could, I’m pleased I managed to do that.

“Nour is  a tough opponent and she’s very talented. I expect it to be very physical between the two of us. I’m going to have a rest day tomorrow, I’m going to come up with a game plan and hopefully I can come out on top this time.”

Tayeb recovers to reach Quarters

[5] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-1 Fayrouz Aboelkheir (Egy)  9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-3 (33m)

Nour El Tayeb fought back from one game down to defeat her compatriot Fayrouz Aboelkheir to reach the last eight.

16-year-old Aboelkheir took the lead when she secured the first game 11-9, but El Tayeb’s experience began to show as she stormed back in the second to level the match with an 11-9 victory. El Tayeb, who reached the final of the Hong Kong Open back in 2014, consolidated an early lead in the third and finished with an impressive display in the fourth.

“We’ve played a little bit back home in Egypt, so I knew what to expect,” she said. “She goes for flashy winners at every occasion. She’s only 16 and I’m approaching 30, so I can’t believe this is the age gap between us.

“I’m very proud of my performance, I had to dig in and I was a bit nervous before the match. She took advantage of that and she plays a game which is not very good if you are nervous because she attacks at every occasion.

“I don’t take these wins for granted anymore, I used to want more and I wasn’t grateful to be in a quarter-final. But now, to be in a quarter-final of a major is very nice.”

Soliman beats Dussourd in three tough games

[8] Youssef Soliman (Egy) 3-0 Auguste Dussourd (Fra)  15-13, 11-3, 11-8 (53m)

Youssef Soliman booked his spot in the last eight courtesy of a 3-0 win over unseeded Frenchman Auguste Dussourd.

Soliman, the eighth seed, won the opening game on a tie-break after a series of lengthy, attritional rallies, Soliman taking the game after initially going 5-0 down.

The second game saw Soliman completely switch up his tactics as he stepped up the court and got on the volley whenever he could, and the second game quickly went in the Egyptian’s favour. It was Dussourd’s turn to attack in the third and he took a 4-1 lead but Soliman was able to work his way back into the game and close out the win.

“The first game was tricky, so it was good to close that one out, things started to become easier and the court is quite tricky so it was good to get used to it,” said Soliman.

“I’m happy to be through in three. I remember I was down [in the first game], so it was good to not lose it because if he took it then I would get more tense and he would relax. I’m glad I won it and kept it up and it made it easier for me. I think if he had it then the games would have been harder.

“I’m excited to get on court with Diego. We’re the same age and we’ve played each other in the World Junior finals, but he’s been playing well and I think I’ve been playing well, too. It’s good to test myself against him, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Elias takes our Rooney in three

[2] Diego Elias (Per) 3-0 [9/16] Patrick Rooney (Eng)  11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (42m)

Peru’s Diego Elias has booked his spot in the last eight for the first time courtesy of a convincing 3-0 victory over Patrick Rooney.

The last meeting between the pair saw Rooney take Elias all the way to five games in a gripping first round clash during May’s PSA World Championships, but it was a more comfortable match for Elias today, who displayed impeccable ball control and shot selection throughout the 42-minute affair.

Elias was able to work Rooney around the court and fire in his attacks whenever the Englishman was out of position. The game was played at a pace which suited the languid Peruvian and his patient approach to constructing the rallies paid off as he closed out victory.

“I think I played a good match today,” said Elias. “Patrick is a very good player, very talented, and I knew it was going to be very tough with a lot of pace from the beginning, so I think it worked.

“We played at the World Championships in May and we went to five games. He played a very good match and I think I didn’t play the right tactics in that match, I think I played too slow and he played very well. Today I didn’t want to give him any time on the ball and I tried to keep the pace high.

“I like this court, it suits my game. I think I played very well today and yesterday and I hope I can keep going like this for the rest of the week.

“I have a rest day tomorrow then I play either Youssef Soliman or Auguste Dussourd. I think that could be a close match, but I’m going to rest and get ready for it.”

Watanabe downs Elaraby

Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 3-1 [6] Rowan Elaraby (Egy)  11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9 (44m)

Satomi Watanabe has become the first Japanese player in history to reach the quarter-finals of a PSA Platinum event after she produced an incredible performance to upset sixth seed Rowan Elaraby. The 23-year-old from Yokohama was sublime throughout and recorded a landmark victory to set up a mouthwatering last eight battle with top seed Nouran Gohar.

There was never much in it, as Watanabe edged the first before Elaraby responded to take the second on extra points.  Watanabe recovered to to lead throughout the final two games, claiming victory on her fourth match ball.

“I’m really happy but I still can’t believe that I’ve done that! There have been a lot of Japanese players on the PSA Tour. It’s really hard to get into the top eight of a Platinum event, even though Misaki [Kobayashi, the highest ranked Japanese player] reached No.29. I’m really happy I have achieved this, but I want to go for more, so I wouldn’t say I’m too happy about it.

“I’ve been playing some really good squash, so that gives me a lot of confidence. I hope this goes on. I’ve never shared a court with Nouran before, but it’s going to be a tough match. I’m really looking forward it to it, and I’ll just try to enjoy the match.”

Gohar first into the quarters

[1] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-1 [9/16] Jasmine Hutton (Eng)    11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3 (48m)

Top seed Nouran Gohar moved into the last eight of the Hong Kong Open after she overcame England’s Jasmine Hutton in four games.

Gohar, the 2016 Hong Kong Open champion, is aiming to reach her 12th PSA final of 2022, which would see her equal the women’s record currently shared by Australian duo Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Michelle Martin.

The 25-year-old played at an unrelenting pace and gave Hutton no time to settle in a one-sided first game. The English player fought back well, competing strongly in the second and just about holding on to an early lead in the third to pull a game back.

A fired up Gohar took no prisoners in the fourth game though, quickly building up an unassailable lead and closing out the match.

“Jasmine played really well today and she brought her ‘A’ game,” said Gohar. Everyone who plays against me brings their ‘A’ game. The conditions were very different, yesterday the AC was on and it was very cool whereas today it was very warm and hot. It was a bit different but I had to adapt and find a way to win.

“She played well from the beginning. When I was 2-0 up, I wouldn’t say it was comfortable, but 11-5 and 11-6 wasn’t too close. She was playing well and I could feel it. There were a couple of errors at crucial times so she could grab the third, but I’m happy the way I came back in the fourth.

“It’s always good to have some long rallies and a bit of a fight to get ready for the next match because it gets harder and harder every single round. I’m very pumped up for the quarter-finals and I can’t wait to compete again.”