Day Five: David comeback denies Tayeb


David comeback denies Tayeb as Mohamed and Marwan set up quarter-final meeting

sp_22204We’re down to the last sixteen in both draws now, and while the matches are still split over two days, all the action now takes place on the ASB GlassCourt.

Monday celebrated Junior Day presented by Zarett Rehab & Fitness with a special volunteer award presentation by the SquashSmarts family.

There were no seeding upsets today, but a number of extended matches, the highlight being three-time champion Nicol David‘s comeback from two games down to deny Nour El Tayeb, while there were four Egyptian winners including Mohamed and Marwan Elshorbagy, who now meet in the quarter-finals.

Other dramatic five-game winners were England’s Alison Waters and James Willstrop and South African Steve Coppinger. Reports below the results …




Raneem hits back

sp_22145Boasting a head to head 9-0 record against Joelle King, Raneem El Welily started heavy favourite in today’s first match, and she came out on top of a titanic first rally.

That was her only point in the first game though, as King dominated the rest of the game to take the lead 11/1, and advanced to a 9-6 lead in the second.

sp_22148Welily fought back with five points in a row to level and was ahead throughout the third as she took the lead 11-7. The fourth was point for point, but with King leading 8-7 Welily again got the better of a tremendous rally, drawing applause from the crowd and her opponent alike.

sp_22150The Egyptian was determined to win today, and with the bit between her teeth she closed out the match 11-8 in 50 minutes.

“Joelle playes fantastic squash at the start,” said Weiliy, “the best I’ve ever seen her play. What made the difference for me is that, like Shabana says, I played today as if I wanted to win, rather than playing as if I didn’t want to lose.”

Willstrop in five

sp_22154After an impressive three-game upset against 2015 Omar Mosaad in the first round, former world No. 1 James Willstrop came up against another Egyptian in first round of sixteen men’s match in the form of Mohamed Abouelghar.

sp_22157A frantic match ensued with splitting the first two games 11-9 each with Abouelghar claiming the first and Willstrop responding. Willstrop regained control in the third 11-6, before Abouelghar came on court a changed man in the fourth.

sp_22158There he streaked to an 8-0 lead with impressive winners and despite a brief comeback, forced a fifth 11-4. A back-and-forth fifth game saw Willstrop win eight of the last nine rallies to the reception of a standing ovation from the crowd.

“That was an hour and something of frantic intensity,” said Willstrop. “Hats off to him he made me work so hard, I thought he played a good match, he made it so hard, I couldn’t find myself really on there, and that was all down to him.

“I’m so pleased to get through, I want to keep playing! I was quite happy at the end, I just don’t want to stop now, I feel I’m in the groove!”

Waters wins a roller-coaster

sp_22165Alison Waters reached the quarter-finals of the U.S Open for a sixth time after coming through a roller-coaster of a match against Egyptian qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim.

Hany was off to a flyer, chopping in the winners as she went 7-1 and 9-3 up in the first, but Waters fought back to lead 10-9 before finally losing out 14-12 as Hany fired in a volley drop.

sp_22162The next three games were one-sided, Waters romping through the second 11-1, Hany taking a 7-2 lead in the third before taking it 11-7, Waters grabbing the momentum back in the fourth 6-0, 9-2 and levelling again 11-4.

The fifth was more even, Hany leading the early stages 4-2, Waters coming back to lead 7-5, then it was the Egyptian again, advancing to 10-8. Waters saved the first match ball then Hany went for her favourite long drop off the next serve only to see it clip the tin.

sp_22168Waters saved another match ball with a crisp volley drop, then earned a second of her own with the same shot at 12-all, then Waters’ final serve dropped into the back corner and died in the nick, a cruel ending for Salma but a big relief for the Englishwoman.

“It was a tough match,” said Waters, “hard to get into a rhythm as Salma would be putting her shots in and then making a few mistakes.

“I just had to stick in there, trust to my game and it just about went my way in the end.”

Shorbagy tested by Simpson

sp_22185Two days after narrowly avoiding a U.S. Open first round exit, world No. 1 Mohamed Elshorbagy sealed his place in the quarterfinals with a victory against England’s Chris Simpson. The world No. 21 from Guernsey provided the 2014 champion with an early scare, however.

At 10-all in the first game, Simpson pulled off what may go down as the shot of the tournament with a quick-reaction between the legs reflex that found its way just above the tin. Elshorbagy put a ball into the tin on the n
ext point to give Simpson a 1-0 lead.

sp_22172Simpson remained within reach of Elshorbagy in both the second and third games, but in both cases tinned the ball or had strokes go against him at crucial points late in each game that saw the Egyptian go 2-1 up. Elshorbagy made no mistake to avoid a fifth game, ending the sixty-four-minute match 11-5 in the fourth.

sp_22175“Really happy to live in this tournament another day,” said Shorbagy. “I was just one point away from being out from the first round so, I consider myself very lucky to be on court today, and feeling even more lucky to have the chance to play another round here.

” Chris put a lot of pressure on me today, he played great squash. The kind of pace he played at, he is so good at it, so I tried to slower the pace, to confuse him a little bit in the middle but all credit to him, he played really well.”

Sherbini sees off SJ challenge

sp_22178Top seed and world number one Nour El Sherbini made it through to the quarter-finals with a four-game win over Sarah-Jane Perry in which she was at times dominant, but Perry asked more than a few questions towards the end of the match.

The Egyptian was well on top for the first two games, assisted by a number of unforced errors from Perry, but the Englishwoman, who had so nearly won their only previous encounter in the 2011 World Open in Rotterdam, was quickly on top in the third, opening up a 6-1 lead.

sp_22181Sherbini fought back, but it was too late for that game, but the Egyptian kept the momentum for the start of the fourth and, despite Perry’s best efforts, stayed ahead to close out the match and reach her third successive U.S. Open quarter-final after 38 minutes.

sp_22182“There is nothing easy, everyone is dangerous, and I have been watching her in the past tournaments, I was expecting a very tough match and it was,” said Sherbini.

“It means the world to me to have my family around me, my brother, and also my cousin, he is a bit like my brother, we’ve been training together since we are very little, they both came and support me, and that helped me a lot today.”

Coppinger loves his five-setters

sp_22186Stephen Coppinger loves treating Philadelphia to a five gamer. Of his last four matches U.S. Open matches leading into his round of sixteen match against Malaysian qualifier Nafiizwan Adnan, three went to five games, and the only exception was a seventy-minute, three-game victory over Miguel Angel Rodriguez last year.

sp_22190It came as  no surprise then that the South African world No. 24 once again went the distance once again after falling behind 2-1 in Adnan’s first world series round of sixteen appearance. Adnan had already spent more than two hundred minutes on court after two rounds of qualifying and the first round and was nearing three hundred going into the fifth game.

sp_22194The final game remained neck and neck until at 9-all, Adnan tinned twice in a row to hand Coppinger the eighty-two-minute match. Coppinger will face Willstrop for a career sixth time in the quarterfinals.

“I’m so happy to be here in the first place let alone two matches in, three rounds in. So thrilled to bits with the win. I have a few squash things to work on before the next match, but I’m there which is what counts at the moment. What things say on paper and what it takes to get through in reality is often quite different. On paper I should have won quickly. But thankfully sport is not about what’s on paper.”

“James has been playing well lately. Not only this week, but the few months from the beginning of the season. It’s a quarterfinal so who knows.”

Nicol back from the brink

sp_22198Three-time U.S. Open champion Nicol David needed all her renowned determination to stave off a first-ever defeat at the hands of Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb.

David had won all seven of their previous meetings, but was quickly on the back foot tonight as Tayeb dominated the first game and a half, taking the first 11-4 and leading the second all way way to double her advantage 11-9.

sp_22202David has been in these positions before, of course, and once again she dug deep into those reserves, starting the third strongly keeping Tayeb at bay as she extended the rallies, as she does.

sp_22204David took the third 11-4, the fourth 11-6, and although Tayeb took a 4-0 lead in the decider, the momentum was still with David as she mounted one last comeback, taking the lead at 6-5 and finishing it 11-7 with a delighted yell.

“I’m over the moon,” said David. “I wasn’t firing in the first game and a half and she made it very hard for me.

“I knew I had to fight all the way. I trained really hard over the summer during the off season and I wasn’t going to go down without a fight – I pushed to the limit and I’m really pleased to win that.”

Marwan sets up match with Mohamed

sp_22209Starting an hour and a half after their original start time, Marwan Elshorbagy ensured one Elshorbagy brother will reach the semifinals, defeating Peru’s Diego Elias in a streaky round of 16 match between two double world junior champions.

sp_22211In each of the four games, either player pulled away on at least a five-point streak before winning the game. It was Elias in the first through a combination of sharp shot making and errors from the Egyptian. From the second game on, the world No. 6 controlled the match and went on to advance in four games and forty-eight minutes.

“Looking at the draw I kind of expected some long matches today, so I made sure that when I ate I was smart about it, and mentally I ready to play late today,” said Marwan.

“I was very happy with the way that I played. In the first game, Diego did very well. There I wasn’t that sharp with my shotmaking. But happy with the win.”

sp_22217“I’m playing my brother in the next match. I told our mom not to watch. Each time that we’ve played each other our mom was watching from Egypt on SquashTV. This is actually the first time she’ll be here. She’s not going to support anyone. I’m really looking forward to playing my brother in this venue.

“To get the opportunity to play against my older brother when he is world No. 1 is massive for me. We both don’t like it of court, but we’re used to it. We’ve played five times on tour and he beat me five times. So hopefully it won’t be six times.”