Macau Open 2018

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Macau Open 2018
27 Mar - 01 Apr, Macau, China, $50kx2

01-Apr, FINALS

  [2] Nouran Gohar
(Egy) 3-1 [7] Salma Hany (Egy)  
               11/8, 11/8, 9/11, 11/7 (50m)
  [5] Tsz Fung Yip
(Hkg) 3-2 [2] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
              9/11, 6/11, 11/4, 11/5, 11/7 (55m)

Gohar retains Macau title
as Yip wins his biggest yet ...
Alex Wan reports  

It was a night that belonged to Yip Tsz-Fung as the home crowd favourite came back from two games down to win the biggest title in his career, while Nouran Gohar once again came out tops against compatriot Salma Hany.

Nouran Gohar halted the run of Salma Hany in an entertaining match lasting four games, thus successfully defending the title she won last year. As many expected, it was a close contest between the pair.

The first game started with Gohar taking an early lead before Hany coming back to nudge ahead at 4-3 and then 6-5. Right after, Gohar went on a rampage and took four points in a row for a three-point cushion and never looked back, winning 11-8 for the lead.

Gohar’s rampage continued in the second as she quickly raced into a 6-0 lead. A spirited effort from Hany to come within a point at 8-9, but Gohar was not going to let this slip away for a 2-0 lead.

The third was an even contest with both women trading points right from the start. Hany led early 3-1, then 6-4 and 10-8 before finally closing the game out 11-9 to give herself a lifeline.

Gohar saved her best for last as she went from 5-4 to championship ball with a commanding display of power which left Hany flat footed. The big lead from that was too much damage as Hany finally succumbed on her fourth championship ball down, and Gohar successfully defended her title.

“I didn’t have the best season last season, so hopefully winning this, it will help boost my performance this this year. We have the El Gouna next up which is big especially it will be held back home, and then finish off with the British Open, so I hope this will help kick start me once again,” said a jubilant Nouran Gohar who walks home with US$ 7,671.

In the men’s event, Hong Kong’s Yip created a major upset as he beat former champion Omar Mosaad. After a very close first game where both players played cautiously. It was Mosaad who played the last few crucial points better and went ahead 11-9.

The second game looked good for Yip as he nudged ahead to 6-4, but some very careless play and perhaps a loss of concentration on his part led to a disastrous 6-11 defeat, with the last two points on a stroke from his loose attempt into the nick.

With two games down, many wouldn’t be faulted to think the third would be a tame affair. Tame it was, but it was on Mosaad’s end as he seems to struggle very much with his movement, often guessing the shots when Yip was on the attack. It was a one-way traffic with Yip going to 7-1 quickly before wrapping up 11-4, and close in on the main score.

There was lots left to be desired with the refereeing in the men’s final tonight as there were quite a few surprising calls and even worse, the consistency of calls. This led to the fourth game being a contest between the players and the referee, as both players seem to be trying to push the buttons of the referee. It was not a pretty game and Mosaad continues to struggle, which could possibly with the humidity in court. 11-5 to Yip and we have a decider.

It was clear from the start, Mosaad was making one final assault in this game, as he chased down everything in the start and even went ahead 3-1. But he soon ran out of gas as Yip was playing with a lot more patience now, sending the ball all over the corners of the court in a bid to move the Egyptian around. At 6-5 up, Yip made his move and starting from a tin from Mosaad which allowed Yip to go 7-5, there was no turning back. After just under an hour, Yip won his biggest title to date.

“First of all, I am very happy to have won, what more a $50k event. But it was very tough in there, especially being 2-0 down. I am very glad I managed to come back, and Omar is a very tough opponent, so to win this is very special.

"I didn’t lose concentration after seeing Omar was struggling. In fact, I feel that gave me a boost as I felt I have a better opportunity now. I was also helped by my coaches Faheem (Khan) and Chris (Robertson) who asked me to use the whole court and be less tensed.

I would like to thank all my coaches – my fitness coach Jamie, squash coaches Faheem and Chris. I also want to thank my girlfriend and all those who came to support me,”
a very happy Yip Tsz-Fung told us after his heroic feat.


Macau Open 2018
27 Mar - 01 Apr, Macau, China, $50k
Round One
29 Mar 
30 Mar
31 Mar
01 Apr
[1] Borja Golan (Esp)
12/10, 11/2, 12/10 (56m) *
[Q] Iker Pajares (Esp)
[1] Borja Golan

11/8, 11/9, 11/3 (40m)

[5] Tsz Fung Yip
[5] Tsz Fung Yip

11/5, 11/13, 11/5, 11/5 (56m)

[3] Leo Au

[5] Tsz Fung Yip


 9/11, 6/11, 11/4, 11/5, 11/7


[2] Omar Mosaad

[5] Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg)
11/9, 11/4, 11/4 (33m)
[Q] Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy)
[8] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
5/11, 11/5, 11/6, 11/3 (35m)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)
[8] Omar Abdel Meguid

13/11, 11/4, 11/3 (42m)

[3] Leo Au
[3] Leo Au (Hkg)
5/11, 11/3, 11/4, 12/10 (42m)
[Q] Karim El Hammamy (Egy)
[Q] Edmon Lopez (Esp)
11/5, 17/15, 7/11, 11/1 (56m)
[4] Max Lee (Hkg)
[4] Max Lee

11/8, 11/5, 12/10 (38m)

[6] Mazen Hesham
[4] Max Lee

11/7, 5/11, 13/11, 11/6 (53m)

[2] Omar Mosaad

[wc] Steven Liu (Mac)
11/4, 11/2, 11/8 (17m)
[6] Mazen Hesham (Egy)
Raphael Kandra (Ger)
13/11, 9/11, 11/8, 5/11, 12/10 (70m)
[7] Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat)
[7] Abdulla Al Tamimi

6/11, 9/11, 11/7, 11/9, 11/4 (62m)

[2] Omar Mosaad
Karim Ali Fathi (Egy)
11/9, 11/6, 11/3 (37m)
[2] Omar Mosaad (Egy)

Karim El Hammamy (Egy) 3-2 Todd Harrity (Usa)   0-11, 14-12, 6-11, 12-10, 11-1 (97m)
Edmon Lopez (Esp) 3-0 Mazen Gamal (Egy)                             11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (39m)
Iker Pajares (Esp) 3-0 Chris Gordon (Usa)                               11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (52m)
Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy) 3-0 Nathan Lake (Eng)                    11-8, 11-8, 11-6 (41m)

Round One:
Todd Harrity (Usa) 3-0 Chi Him Wong (Hkg)                            11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (33m)
Karim El Hammamy (Egy) 3-2 Tsz Kwan Lau (Hkg)  11-13, 11-8, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6 (59m)
Edmon Lopez (Esp) 3-0 Austin Van (Mac)                              11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (20m)
Mazen Gamal (Egy) 3-0 Manoel Grassman (Mac)                     11-1, 11-5, 11-2 (16m)
Iker Pajares (Esp) 3-0 Wu Ka Chon (Mac)                              11-3, 11-2, 11-6 (16m)
Chris Gordon (Usa) 3-0 Carlos Chan Gassmann (Mac)               11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (17m)
Mohamed ElSherbini (Egy) 3-0 Dimitri Steinmann (Sui)              11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (31m)
Nathan Lake (Eng) 3-0 Mike McCue (Can)                              11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)
Macau Open 2018
27 Mar - 01 Apr, Macau, China, $50k
Round One
29 Mar  
30 Mar
31 Mar
01 Apr
[1] Camille Serme (Fra)
11/5, 11/3, 11/7 (29m)
[Q] Yathreb Adel (Egy)
[1] Camille Serme

11/9, 11/8, 11/9 (53m)

[7] Salma Hany
[7] Salma Hany

10/12, 11/3, 11/6, 8/11, 11/2 (46m)

[6] Joey Chan

[7] Salma Hany


 11/8, 11/8, 9/11, 11/7 (50m)


[2] Nouran Gohar

[7] Salma Hany (Egy)
11/4, 11/9, 11/7 (29m)
Nele Gilis (Bel)
[6] Joey Chan (Hkg)
11/4, 11/6, 11/9 (32m)
[Q] Milou van der Heijden (Ned)
[6] Joey Chan

11/6, 5/11, 11/3, 13/11 (43m)

[4] Olivia Blatchford
[4] Olivia Blatchford (Usa)
11/2, 11/2, 11/4 (16m)
[wc] Gigi Yeung (Mac)
Coline Aumard (Fra)
12/14, 9/11, 11/7, 11/4, 12/10 (62m)
[3] Annie Au (Hkg)
[3] Annie Au

11/6, 5/11, 11/3, 13/11 (43m)

[5] Emily Whitlock
[3] Annie Au

 12/10, 12/10, 3/11, 11/0 (38m)

[2] Nouran Gohar

[Q] Hollie Naughton (Can)
11/8, 9/11, 11/6, 11/6 (42m)
[5] Emily Whitlock (Eng)
[Q] Haley Mendez (Usa)
12/10, 11/2, 12/10 (56m) *
[8] Mariam Metwally (Egy)
[8] Mariam Metwally

11/5, 14/12, 11/3 (35m)

[2] Nouran Gohar
Liu Tsz-Ling (Hkg)
11/5, 11/7, 11/1 (25m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (Egy)

Hollie Naughton (Can) 3-0 Vanessa Chu (Hkg)                   11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (24m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0 Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg)                    11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (25m)
Haley Mendez (Usa) 3-2 Lee Ka Yi (Hkg)         11-3, 8-11, 1-11, 11-9, 12-10 (50m)
Milou van der Heijden (Ned) 3-1 Ho Tze-Lok (Hkg)  11-8, 13-11, 3-11, 12-10 (36m)

Round One:    
Vanessa Chu (Hkg) 3-2 Chan Sin Yuk (Hkg)    6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3 (40m)
Tong Tsz-Wing (Hkg) 3-0 Tessa ter Sluis (Ned)             11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (31m)
Yathreb Adel (Egy) 3-0 Jemyca Aribado (Phi)                 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (17m)
Haley Mendez (Usa) 3-0 Liu Kwai Chi (Mac)                   11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (16m)
Lee Ka Yi (Hkg) 3-0 Leong Leng Lam (Mac)                    11-2, 11-2, 11-3 (11m)
Ho Tze-Lok (Hkg) 3-0 Li Dongjin (Chn)                          11-2, 11-3, 11-7 (17m)
Milou van der Heijden (Ned) 3-0 Yeung Wai Leng (Mac)   11-2, 11-6, 11-5 (18m)
Egyptian trio make Macau finals as Yip ousts Au
Alex Wan reports

Egypt dominated the evening as all three of their semi-finalists won their matches.

The women’s final will be an all-Egyptian affair between defending champion Nouran Gohar and Salma Hany, who will feature in her first ever $50k final. In the men’s, Yip Tsz-Fung, who won the all-Hong Kong encounter, will also be playing his biggest final, will face former champion Omar Mosaad.

In the first match of the evening, Omar Mosaad saw off a spirited challenge of Hong Kong’s Max Lee, who was making his third semi-final in four years here. The first game saw some cautious play from both the players, with Lee taking the early lead 5-2. But two burst of points from the big Egyptian saw him take the lead 11-7.

The second game started in similar fashion with Lee taking the lead once again, but this time, he never looked back as he slowly inched home the game 11-5.

The next game was probably the most important game. It was close and intense, with both players trading point for point mostly. It took a while, but Mosaad eventually inched away the game on his fourth game point.

With the lead, Mosaad played with a lot more confidence in the fourth. A quick lead at the start to 3-0 and 5-1 did the damage, as Lee was too far behind and never manages to come back. 11-6 to Mosaad after 53 minutes, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.

“I’m just focussed match by match. I know I had a tough match last night, a 5-setter. You know, sometimes you have to play in less perfect circumstances and today, I had to concentrate fully on every single point, and I think I did a very good job in the third game, and I am very happy with my win today,” Mosaad said after.

The second match of the evening saw Salma Hany and Joey Chan play the match of the evening, with the Egyptian triumphant after 46 minutes. It was a match of momentum as both players seem take turns taking charge, but in the fifth, it was Salma Hany all the way as she went to a 6-0, 10-2 and eventually wrapping up 11-2 after 46 minutes on court.

“So I had a very slow start in the beginning, I was never very into the match. So I told myself to push through the second and the third. The second was very crucial, and to take the lead in the third. I lost a bit of concentration in the fourth and in the fifth, I just pushed for every point.

"Joey is such a tough opponent and I cannot let her play her game. So I am glad in the end, I managed to get the win,”
said Hany who will tomorrow feature in her first $50k final.

Yip Tsz-Fung is the only Hong Kong player to come through after scoring only his second win over more illustrious compatriot Leo Au. As expected, it was a close affair given that they both know each other’s game inside out.

But this evening, Yip was playing exceptionally well and was controlling for most parts of the match. While he lost the second game closely, he won convincingly all the other games.

Yeah it’s only second time, but whichever time it is, it always feels good to win. I’ve been here many times and today is only the first time I got into the semis, and now I am in the final, so naturally, I’m very happy about it.

"Today, I felt my concentration was very good and I was able to stick to my game plan. There was a phase where I was off focussed but I managed to regroup. I think the mental focus was the key,”
said Yip who has made it to his biggest event final.

In the final match of the evening, a repeat of the last three years' semis, Nouran Gohar made it three of three as she beat Hong Kong’s Annie Au in four games.

It was very, very close in the first two games, with both players matching each other very well. But it was Gohar who manages to play the final points better to win both on the tie-break.

The third was all Au as she chopped her way through with her trademark shot-making, winning for the loss of just three points. But Gohar regrouped, and returned the favour in the fourth, winning in commanding fashion 11-0.

“It was very crucial to win the first two games, especially the second one. Annie is playing really well and she was dominating a lot. These days everyone is playing so well and you just have to wait and take any opportunities that come.

"I’m happy with the mental side of my game today, I tried to stay tough and that was the most crucial thing to do today. Hopefully I will stay positive again tomorrow and I am really glad to play my second final in Macau and hoping for a good match tomorrow against Salma,”
said the defending champion.

Top seeds beaten in Macau shockers
as HK and Egypt dominate
Alex Wan reports

There will be no top seeds in the finals of the Macau Squash Open for the second year running as both the men’s and women’s top seeds were shockingly shown the door in similar fashion.

Hong Kong’s Yip Tsz-Fung and Egyptian Salma Hany both put in stellar performances to eject Borja Golan and Camille Serme in straight games.

Both Yip and Golan are known to play a very disciplined way, and today was no different. Two bursts of a few points at the start of the each of the first two games allowed Yip to nudge ahead with a small gap, which he never lost. In the third, it was all one-way traffic, as Yip went to 5-1 and 9-2, before wrapping up 11-3 in just 8 minutes, half the time of each of the first two games.

“I played pretty well today and I’m especially happy with how I managed to concentrate throughout the match. Maybe Borja (Golan) was a little distracted but I am glad I managed to stay focussed and truly happy I managed to get through this round. If Leo (Au) wins too, we’d both be fighting for a spot for the final tomorrow, and that would be a brilliant thing for Hong Kong squash. So, I hope he will put on a good show later,” Yip said after.

Hong Kong are guaranteed a finalist in the men’s event Yip Tsz-Fung’s opponent in the last four tomorrow is compatriot Leo Au, who overcame first game jitters to oust Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid in a somewhat physical encounter.

“I was a little nervous in the first game and I was lucky to have gotten the last few points. After that my coach reminded me of the things I should be doing more and things were a lot better then. Tomorrow, I hope Yip and myself will play a good match for everyone to enjoy,” Au said.

Max Lee, one of the crowd favourites here in Macau, returns to the last four once again, after faltering in the last eight the previous year. The 2015 champion saw off the challenge of tricky Egyptian Mazen Hesham in 38 minutes.

There was nearly another upset in the final match of the evening as Qatari Abdulla Al Tamimi blew a two game and later a 9-6 lead in the fourth against the “Hammer of Thor” Omar Mosaad. The former world championships finalist had to dig deep into his experience to come through after just over an hour in court.

Hany, the 21-year-old from Alexandria pulled off the other upset of the day as she took out Camille Serme in three games. After losing to Serme twice last year, this time, it was her turn to shine. An incident in the second game where Hany’s follow through caught Serme’s nose shouldn’t mar the win of the young Egyptian who played courageously.

“I’m very happy with my performance today. Playing Camille (Serme) is always tough and yeah, I’m just happy with how I did in court and managed to get the win.”

When asked if the incident where she hit Serme in the nose could’ve affected the Frenchwoman, “I think Camille (Serme) is a top player and I think she manages to handle these situations. She’s had to face such situations before,” said a jubilant Hany.

There was more joy for Hong Kong as both their women Joey Chan and Annie Au also booked their places in the last four, with Chan upsetting her higher ranked American opponent Olivia Blatchford in four games.

Having won the first, she lost a little concentration in the next and allowed Blatchford a run of eight consecutive points to draw level. She manages to refocus to take the third, before having to save a game ball in the fourth to wrap up the win on her second match ball after 43 minutes.

Annie Au, however, had an easy day in the office as she found her range very early in the match to see off England’s world number 17 Emily Whitlock in under 20 minutes. Her precise lobs and holds had Whitlock on her back foot right from the start, and she never allowed Whitlock to settle in each of the three games.

Annie will face Nouran Gohar in the last four tomorrow in a repeat of last year’s meeting at the same stage here. The Egyptian hard-hitter came through after beating compatriot Marian Metwally in straight games. Apart from the second game where she was forced to save two game points, Gohar was never truly troubled.

“I’ve always loved to play tournaments in Asia, whether it’s Hong Kong, Macau or China, it’s always nice. Winning the title last year was very special for me, so I was very excited to come back here and play some good squash.”

“Even with Camille (Serme) out, all the matches are really tough these days. Salma Hany is playing really well and the fact that she beat Camille, it makes her an even harder player to play because you’d be playing someone who has no pressure and they’ve just beaten the top seed. For all players, when you are the higher seed, there is so much more pressure on yourself, so it’s she’d be a really tricky one to play,” said Gohar who was asked to comment if the path seems clearer for her to retain her title now.

Semi-Finals move to the Glass Court, which will be streamed live ...


Players and officials at the opening dinner

29-Mar, ROUND ONE:
Serma and Golan lead seeds into quarters

Alex Wan reports

Top seeds Borja Golan and Camille Serme led all seeded players into the last eight of the 2018 Macau Squash Open, with the Spaniard beating good friend and fellow countryman Iker Pajares and Serme halting the run the qualifier Yathreb Adel.

It was not a walk in the park for the top seeded Spaniard as he had to dig deep in his 3-0 win. The score line of the first and third games, and the 56-minute duration is a testament of how close the match went.

“It was very difficult to play Iker (Pajares) because we are very good friends and we are from the same country. I played the PSA tour for many years (alone) and seeing them (Spaniards) on tour now is very new to me, and they are improving a lot, so I feel the pressure. It was a hard 3-0 and I am happy to win to get through,” said Golan after.

Macanese Steven Liu has been looking forward to get on court with Egyptian Mazen Hesham and he was not disappointed. Despite losing out in a one-sided encounter, he was in good spirits as he said,

“It was fun in there and it was a pleasure experiencing his trademark drops first hand. I managed to get some of them, but his cross court drops were amazing as most of them just went into the nick. I should watch more and learn to drop like him!”

Hong Kong trio Max Lee, Leo Au and Yip Tsz Fung, who recently helped Hong Kong win the Asian Team Championships, all made it into the last eight.

Lee had the toughest day in the office as he was stretched by Spain’s Edmon Lopez and kept in court for close to an hour, before earning his ticket to face “The Falcon” Mazen Hesham tomorrow.

Au too didn’t quite have it easy as overturned a 1-0 deficit to win 3-1 against Karim El Hammamy, while Yip Tsz Fung came through comfortably in the second and third games after a tough opening game against Mohamed Elsherbini. Au’s opponent tomorrow will be Omar Abdel Meguid of Egypt, who took out Finnish veteran Olli Tuominen.

In the bottom quarter, crowd favourite and second seed Omar Mosaad won the all-Egyptian battle against Karim Ali Fathi and faces Qatari number one Abdulla Al Tammimi tomorrow. Tammimi showed gutsy nerves as he battled through a five-game encounter against German left hander Raphael Kendra before winning in 70 minutes.

Women’s top seed Camille Serme looked impressive and well deserved her commanding win against a tricky first round qualifier, Yathreb Adel. On a good day, the former world number 25 would be great trouble to any player and she had proved this a year ago on this stage. But the disciplined game of Serme proved too much for her today as the top seed moves on.

“I’m very happy to be through the first round. I thought Yathreb was a very tricky and dangerous first match. It’s been a while I haven’t played her but Coline (Aumard) played her a few weeks ago, so I knew what to expect.

"I know she did really well here last year and I didn’t want to think too much about it because that’s dangerous, and you start to stress out, and I didn’t want to feel pressured. So, I’m really happy I won today,”
said the French number one who now goes through to play another Egyptian Salma Hany tomorrow.

Hany won with relative ease against Belgium’s Nele Gilis and would be one of three Egyptians in the last eight, after Mariam Metwally and second seed Nouran Gohar also won today against American Haley Mendez and Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling in straight games. Gohar will be gunning for her second consecutive title here after winning against Joelle King in the rain interrupted final last year.

Hong Kong’s left handed pair of Annie Au and Joey Chan also made it into the last eight, but in rather contrasting fashion.

While lower ranked Chan won in three, Au had to come back from 0-2 down to draw level, before having to save three match balls at 7-10 in the fifth to clinch her quarters, winning five points in a row at the end. She faces England’s Emily Whitlock tomorrow, who won in four against Canadian Hollie Naughton.

Annie later said, “I think she was a little tired after the first two games, and I on the other hand, was more relaxed in the third. I told myself there’s nothing to lose after losing the first two, so let’s go for it. I didn’t quite change my game plan and just went for my shots, especially in the fifth where I was facing the match balls. I’m just glad it worked out for me in the end.”

Local wild card teenager Gigi Yeung was no match for her American opponent, as Olivia Blatchford spent just 16 minutes on court for the loss of eight points.


Men’s top seeds ejected as Hong Kong women
falter in qualifying finals ...

Alex Wan reports

Men’s qualifying top two seeds faltered as the Egyptians reigned supreme in the qualifying finals of the 2018 Macau Squash Open this afternoon.

Karim El Hammamy, Mohamed Elsherbini and Yathreb Adel made it through to the main draw with the men turning the tables on the seeding, as they took out the qualifying top two seeds.

After surviving a stern match yesterday, El Hammamy survived a much longer marathon today as he bounced back from being bagelled in first game to edge out top seed Todd Harrity of the United States in a long contest lasting 97 minutes. Having arrived just an hour before his opening match yesterday, playing through a five-setter and again today, a very happy Karim said:

“I am very tired! But I am also very happy to get through, as Todd is a very good player. There were lots of ups and down throughout the match, but today I did not want to lose more than usual and that is what pulled me through. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me in the main draw.”

Elsherbini made it two for Egypt after taking out England’s qualifying second seed Nathan Lake  in three entertaining games.

Mazen Gamal was the only Egyptian casualty of the evening as he was tamely beaten Spain’s Edmon Lopez, who now faces 2015 champion Max Lee in the main draw.

Edmon will be joined in the main draw by compatriot Iker Pajares, who edged American Christopher Gordon in three close games in 52 minutes. However, a tough job awaits tomorrow as he has drawn the top seed and fellow countryman Borja Golan.

Things were different in the women’s event as all matches went to seeding. It was certainly not a day to savour for the Hong Kong camp as all four of their women were on the losing end of the matches.

Egypt’s world number 42 Adel had another impressive display today as she saw off Hong Kong’s Tong Tsz-Wing in straight games. Having taken out top seeded compatriot Raneem El Weilily in the opening round last year, the 22 year old will now have another crack at the tournament top seed as she is drawn to face Camille Serme tomorrow.

“I’m very happy with my win today as Tong (Tsz-Wing) is one of the strong players. I have been focussing and getting ready for the match. You never know who you’re going to get tomorrow so hopefully, tomorrow is going to be a new day, a new match and I can keep going forward,” said Adel.

Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yi would be disappointed to have come so close after just losing out to American Haley Mendez 12-10 in the decider. Having come back from a game down to take a 2-1 lead after a clinical 11-1 win in the third. However, the 24 year old New Yorker came back gutsily to force the decider, which went to the distance in her favour after 50 minutes.

“I had Olivia (Blatchford) and Nathan (Lake) coaching me, so they sort of gave me a game plan and keep me calm between games and I was able to refocus and play one point at a time,” said Mendez when asked how she managed to turn around in the fourth and fifth game after losing the third tamely.

Qualifying top seed Hollie Naughton made it three North Americans in the main draw after she won clinically against Vanessa Chu in just 24 minutes and will take on England’s Emily Whitlock.

Second seed Milou van der Heijden did not have it as easy as she had to battle past a gutsy Ho Tze-Lok before winning 3-1 in 41 minutes in the final match of the evening. The win earned her a match against
another Hong Kong player in Joey Chan tomorrow.


Seeds through to Qualy finals
Alex Wan reports

There were no surprises on the opening day of the 2018 Macau Squash Open as all qualifying seeds made it through to the next round, but a few were stretched to the limits by their lower ranked opponents.

Men’s top seed Todd Harrity of the United States leading the way with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hong Kong’s Wong Chi Him in slightly over half an hour of play.

Things were not as straightforward for Egyptian Karim El Hammamy who had travelled to the courts straight from the airport. The world number 71 was made to slog and had to twice come back from behind to edge out Lau Tsz Kwan from Hong Kong 3-2.

“I’m happy to survive my match today, especially after I had just arrived an hour before my match. It was hot in there, but all credit to my opponent who played very well today,” said the relieved Egyptian.

Spain’s Edmon Lopez and Egyptian Mazen Gamal both overcame young local hopefuls easily, winning in under 20 minutes, dispatching Austin Van and Manuel Gassmann respectively. Seventeen year old Gassmann however, was not too disappointed with his performance :

“I personally think I played better in this one (compared to the year before). Every tournament I feel I am improving, and my shot selections has been better than before. I still think my skills are not up to mark yet so it’s something I need to improve a lot.”

Iker Pajares and Christopher Gordon both also won against locals to double up Spain and United States’ representation in the next round, while Egyptian Mohamed Elsherbini and England’s qualifying secondseed both won 3-0.

In the women’s event, four Hong Kong women made it to the next round in rather contrasting fashion. Vanessa Chu, fresh from her recent title at the Contrex HK Challenge Cup, was stretched to the limit by her much younger compatriot Chan Sin Yuk in a marathon match that went to the distance.

The world number 56 twice came back from a game down and merely sneaked through the fourth before dominating the 15-year Sin Yuk in the decider.

Tong Tsz-Wing then had three close games against Dutch Ressa ter Sluis before winning in 31 minutes, while Ho Tze-Lok was in dominating form in taking out China’s Li Dongjin in 17 minutes. But it was Lee Ka Yi who had the easiest match of the afternoon as she took just 11 minutes to see off local Leong Ieng Lam 11-2, 11-2, 11-3.

Yathreb Adel, the Egyptian who stamped her mark back on the world tour after a long injury break here a year ago, is back in Macau for hopefully another giant killing run this year. She looked good in her straight game victory over Philippines’ Jemyca Aribado, winning in straight games in under 20 minutes.

“I’m very happy to be back here again. Last year I had a great tournament and hopefully this time it will even be better. Today’s match was good to start with, and I have to get focussed and I’m taking it step by step. Hopefully I will be getting better and better with each match to come,” said Adel.

Tournament secretary Liu Kwai Chi, a regular feature of the event, found time to participate once again but lost out to a much stronger opponent in Haley Mendez.

“I think I performed a little better this time round. I’m playing in the qualifiers, so somehow there is a lot less pressure and I feel less tensed. My shots are more stable now after I’ve put in some work over the past few weeks, but I still made far too many mistakes, which I feel is the reason I lost,” said Liu of her performance today.

In the final match of the evening, Milou van der Heijden beat local Yeung Wai Leng 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 to wrap up the day.

Serme makes Macau debut as Golan tops men's draw

The 2018 Macau Squash Open marks the seventh consecutive edition of the event. It will once again offer a total purse of US$ 50,000 in each of the men’s and women’s categories.

The event will run from 27 March to 1 April 2018 and has attracted participation from a total of 16 nations. All earlier rounds will be played at the Macau Bowling Centre while the semis and finals will be played on an all-glass court erected
on Tap Seac Square.

France’s highest ever ranked women’s player and world number 5 will make her debut in the Macau Open as top seed. Defending champion Nouran Gohar of Egypt returns to defend her title and is seeded to face Serme in the final, whom she beat in their last meeting.

Local favourite Annie Au is the third seed and she will be looking to go one better than last year where she went out in the last four. American Olivia Blatchford, the world number 13, rounds up the top quartet of the draw.

Egyptian Yathreb Adel, who last year took out top seed Raneem El Weilily en route to a surprise semi final appearance, also returns to the event to play through qualifying and will be looking once again to spring up a surprise or two.

Local challenge will be headed by wild card Gigi Yeung, who is drawn to meet American Olivia Blatchford. Gigi is returning to the event after a year’s absence being abroad in Canada on studies, where she has been training with Mike Johnson.

“I’m very happy to be back playing at home. Training abroad with Mike has given me the opportunity to play with a lot of different players and I’ve gained valuable experience from that. These experiences have helped improve my game a lot and I hope to put up a good showing,” said Leung.

Leung will be joined by compatriots Liu Kwai Chi, Yeung Wai Ling and Leong Leng Lam in the qualifiers.

In the men’s event, Spaniard Borja Golan heads the seeding with 2013 champion Omar Mosaad of Egypt coming in as the second seed. Hong Kong’s Leo Au comes in with his highest seeding of the event at 3 and for the first time, at a higher position than his compatriot Max Lee, who is seeded fourth.

The Hong Kong pair, who are home crowd favourites here, could possibly make it an all-Hong Kong final as they have been drawn on different halves.

Seasoned local, Steven Liu will be the wildcard in the men’s event and will have the opportunity to take on “The Falcon” Mazen Hesham of Egypt, arguably one of the most exciting players on the tour. The 24-year old is looking forward to the match, saying:

“Mazen is a very talented player amongst the top players. His trademark drop shots are just spectacular and I would love to see that on court with him. I will do my best, try not to make too many mistakes and give away cheap points.

Austin Van, Manuel Gassmann, Wu Ka Chon and Carlos Chan Gassman make up the other four local men in the qualifiers.

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