Day Three Roundup

Eain Yow Reaches Maiden Platinum Quarter Final at the CIB Egyptian Open

Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng continued his hot streak of form with a 3-2 victory over Colombia’s World No.11 Miguel Rodriguez to reach his maiden PSA World Tour Platinum quarter final at the CIB Egyptian Open.

The two players met just last month at the Allam British Open when Rodriguez claimed a brutal 101-minute win over the Malaysian. However, today was the turn of Eain Yow as he continued his thrilling run in Egypt.

The 23-year-old claimed a huge upset over World No.8 Mostafa Asal yesterday and further backed that up as he saved two match balls to put Rodriguez to the sword and set up a quarter-final showdown with top seed and training partner Mohamed ElShorbagy on the glass court in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza.

“About three weeks ago, we played at the British Open and we had a massive match and at the end of the fourth, I fully cramped,” said World No.18 Eain Yow afterwards.

“Today I was thinking, it’s the same and there was a bit of that fear at the start. I just told myself: ‘Play your game, be confident’ and I just started to do just that.

“People who know me, my team, they know how hard I’ve been working over the last few years. Coming from winning the World Juniors, I wasn’t coming up as fast as I wanted to and the people close to me know how bad I was struggling with that. After being away from my family for a whole year in Bristol, it’s starting to pay off. The two ElShorbagy brothers toughen me up, and the reward is to play Mohamed in the next round.”

ElShorbagy made his way into the quarter finals after an 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 victory over compatriot Karim El Hammamy as squash made its return in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza for the first time this week.

Top seed ElShorbagy ensured he got off to a good start on the glass court, on his first appearance in front of the Pyramids since 2016, as he overcame a resilient El Hammamy to progress.

“It’s an honour to be back here playing in front of the Pyramids and in front of an Egyptian crowd,” said ElShorbagy. “It’s never easy to be back playing in Egypt because there is so much pressure, but I feel blessed every time I can go on court and perform.

“I’m playing Yow in the quarters, he’s like a younger brother to me. We live in Bristol and I’m really happy for him to be in the quarters. It’s our second meeting, we practice a lot in Bristol, but I think our match in two days will be a bit different.”

Elsewhere, Egypt’s former World Champion Tarek Momen put in an imperious display on the glass court as he comfortably made his way past Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu to reach the last eight.

Momen, who finished runner-up to Ali Farag at this event last year, laid down the gauntlet to show he was a contender for the title once again as he was at his accurate best to defeat Pajares 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 in 27 minutes.

The World No.4 will face compatriot Zahed Salem for a place in the semi-finals after he came from a game down to defeat USA’s World No.45 Shahjahan Khan on the traditional courts at the New Giza Sporting Club earlier in the day.

“Today, I think I did pretty well throughout the whole match,” said Momen in his post-match interview. “I wanted to start a little bit sharper than yesterday, I played well yesterday but I just didn’t start well, so I wanted to flip that. I’m very happy with the way I managed to keep my errors at a low rate and pleased to get through in three games.

“I’m playing Zahed next, he is a good friend of mine and is a really good player. He hasn’t been playing for a while, he hasn’t been able to travel, so it’s good for him to come here after such a long break and make it to the quarters.”

In the women’s event, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini continued her title defence in front of the Pyramids as she overcame Canada’s World No.20 Danielle Letourneau in straight-games.

The World Champion, who has won two titles in front of the Pyramids in her career already, was put under pressure in the early stages as Letourneau brought the challenge to the home favourite to find herself two game balls up for the lead.

The nerves looked to get the better of the Canadian though as errors began to creep into her game to allow El Sherbini back into contention and eventually sneak the first game. That proved to provide a big dent to Letourneau’s challenge as El Sherbini comfortably powered to the finish line in the end by a 12-10, 11-5, 11-3 scoreline.

“It’s a tournament that every player dreams to play and it’s one of the iconic venues,” said El Sherbini. “It’s really great to come back, I have a lot of great memories here and I’m glad to be here again.

“Danielle is a really good player. First game was very tight and I’m glad I got it at the end, I think that made a huge difference in the match being 1-0 up and losing the first game. I’m really glad I went through.”

El Sherbini will face compatriot Farida Mohamed in the next round after she defeated England’s Lucy Turmel to reach her maiden PSA World Tour Platinum quarter final.

The World No.34 claimed a huge victory yesterday when she sent out World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry for the second year in a row and Mohamed ensured she kept that form to overcome Turmel, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8.

“Lucy played really well, she was fighting till the end,” said Mohamed afterwards. “She was game ball in the first game, and she won the second, so it wasn’t easy at all. Her physicality is amazing, and she plays really great length, so very tough to move her out.

“It’s my first Platinum quarters and first time at the Pyramids. I really wanted to play there, and against Nour, I hope it will be a better match than last time I played against her.”

The other quarter final in the top half of the women’s draw will see France’s World No.4 Camille Serme face Egypt’s World No.10 Rowan Elaraby after they claimed respective wins over Scotland’s Lisa Aitken and England’s Jasmine Hutton.

Serme has been struggling with injury in recent weeks after she was forced to withdraw from the Allam British Open and the Frenchwoman suffered from a sluggish start in front of the iconic Pyramids in Egypt as Aitken came storming out of the blocks.

The Scot took the first game as Serme took time to cement her physicality on the match before eventually taking a 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 win.

“To be honest with injury, I haven’t been able to train properly,” said Serme. “I haven’t played a proper match since Chicago, so I needed to find my targets again, even my rhythm and footwork. I knew Lisa could be tricky and a very difficult opponent, she has been playing well.”

Elaraby, meanwhile, has also been struggling with injury since the British Open last month, but she looked to have put that behind her as she put World No.43 Hutton to the sword by an 11-6, 11-2, 11-7 margin.

“I have been struggling with my body since Manchester,” admitted Elaraby afterwards. “It’s not the best timing, I have been struggling with my movement for three events now. I try to be on court, mentally more than physically. It’s the challenge now.

“At 10-2, I just felt a pinch in my leg, and it just worried, my mind went blank. I had to regroup and thankfully I got it back, I don’t know how I would have reacted had I lost that game to be honest.”