2015 Day FOUR - more round one    open in new window

[2] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Line Hansen (Den)
           11-6, 11-5, 7-11 , 13-11 (37m)

Raneem struggles through

This won't go down as of of Raneem El Welily's most focused performances, but Line Hansen, after losing the first two games without seriously troubling the world #2, fought back well and made the Egyptian second seed work hard in the end.

To be fair, some of Raneem's third game troubles were her own doing as she put a few balls casually into the tin, but the Dane took her chance and forged ahead to get a game back.

Normal service seemed to have been restored in the fourth as Raneem went 9-4 ahead, but six points in a row gave Line an unexpected game ball. She couldn't take that, or another at 11-10, and Raneem closed about the match with a trademark drop on her first match ball.

"Line played a lot better than last time we met, and she really put me under pressure and made me work hard to fight back.

"I've had some good results recently but I don't take any of that with me, I just try to take it one tournament at a time. It's always good to get the first match over and done with, now I'll just try to rest and hope to play well tomorrow."

Dipika Pallikal 3-2 Emily Whitlock
           9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4 (57m)
Camille Serme 3-1 Joey Chan
          11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5 (46m)

Camille seemed a bit short physically at the end of the second, that seemed to confirm itself in the 3rd where she relaxed for a second and let Joey right back in the match again. Long rallies, intense, and truly a good match to watch.

But after chatting with Camille, it was the stress that paralysed her – the ghosts of her last two counter-perf here in the British Open kept her up all night… What the mind does to you…

As for the Emily/Dipika’s match, it was a seesaw one, with once again some up and downs from the Indian number 1, mixing superb hard hitting/great winners with thoughtless errors. But when she was playing well, she was smacking it like a kiss on a French Cheek!

Emily did the job to perfection. Leading 6/2 in the first two games, she managed to take the first one, 10/6, 11/9, than narrowly losing the second, 6/2, 8/8, 11/8 Dipika.

Mental drop at the start of the third for the English girl, hard to know you were 6/2 and still lost, Dipika loooooved it, 10/5, 11/7. Well recovered in the 4th, Emily forced a decider, but Dipika found her best squash in the 5th, 11/4…

Last year I lost in the first round, 3/2 against Tesni, and this is the most prestigious event of the calendar, so I want to do really well here. I have been training really hard back home to be ready. But I also changed a few things in my game, and that will take a little while to get into action.

Well, I’ve been working on sprinting, instead of only concentrating on ghosting and long distance. Back home, I trained with the Sprinting Indian Team, that helped me, I feel lighter on court. Also, I’ve been working on taking the ball earlier and volleying it more. I used to train those shots, but never implement them.

One of my biggest let down has always been my focus, but I’m really working on that. I have been on the tour for 5 years now, and I’ve matured a lot.

A lot of things have changed in my life, which is now fuller, calmer. I feel settled. And I truly enjoy the travelling and the playing squash. And if before I was contented with just competing with the top girls, now, I want to win all the matches. Not just show up. I want to win.

"No, I was not tired from the season! Since Chicago, we had only the Europeans.

What’s the funniest is that yesterday I was talking with my mental coach yesterday, saying to him I felt fine and relaxed…

And it just hit me last night! couldn’t sleep, the memories of my last two BO that didn’t go well for me, and I could feel the stress paralysing me in the first two games, even if I was controlling it.

Completely tetanised in the 3rd, she found some great shots/rallies, and even if I managed to get a few points in the 4th from 4/4 thanks to good length, I could feel cramps coming up!

Really glad I didn’t have to play a fifth I tell you!!!!"

Qualifier Yathreb Adel beats four-time BO champion Rachael Grinham !!

Yathreb Adel 3-1 Rachael Grinham 11-9, 11-5, 12-14, 11-8 (39m)

Rachael is a really really talented player, it was always going to be difficult to play her. It was a tough first round, especially as she was fresh – it was her first match, whereas I had a massive match yesterday against Millie, only clinching the match 3/2. So I really had to push hard.

Rachael is so dangerous when you get sucked into her game. So I was trying to prevent her from volleying and getting in front of me, cause when she is there, I can’t see what she is doing. So I kept playing lower lines to take the volley away from her.

So happy with that 3/1 result, it will give me confidence for the next round. I’m playing Raneem, who have only played once, like 6, 7 years ago, in a Sharm tournament, she beat me 3/2. I was 12 I think. And she has improved so much as well!!!!

"It feels great to win, especially after I was two-nil down last night!

"There wasn't any pressure on me so I just tried to play my game, I'm delighted to make it to the second round of the British Open!"

[Q] Delia Arnold (Mas) 3-0 [5] Alison Waters (Eng)
      11-8, 11-5, 11-4 (35m)

Huge upset for Delia

Delia Arnold was originally scheduled to be playing at noon, but after coming from two-nil down to win the last qualifying final last night at the University, her match with Alison Waters was delayed until 2pm to give the Malaysian some more rest.

It certainly seemed as though she needed the rest as Waters went into a 6-3 lead in the first, but thereafter the fifth seed just couldn't seem to string her game together, hitting the tin at regular intervals and conceding strokes aplenty as her shots came back towards her.

Delia took full advantage, playing steady squash, and took eight points in a row to take the first game.

Waters continued so struggle as Arnold raced to 7-2 and 10-3 in the second finishing it off 11-5, and a quick 5-0 lead in the third was too much for Waters, who continued to play into her opponent's hands, to counter.

Soon enough it was match ball, on a stroke naturally, and Delia only needed one chance to record one of her best wins.

I’m happy to finally, finally get through this year!

It’s so hard to play Heba, she is my team mate, she is from Alexandria, we used to play in the same club, we train together, since the juniors time [yeah, that’s a loooooong time ago!!! FG] and it’s really hard for me to play against her.

I have a lot of good and bad memories of this tournament, but up to now, the bad upstages the good up to know, so this year, I tried and changed the “curse!”

So happy I managed to get through the first round, although I never felt confident in my squash/shots today….

And boy, just ask me how happy I am not to have to go through training for the World Juniors! I’m not a juniors for 6 months now, which means that my summer is FREEEEEEEE!!!!


[4] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 Heba El Torky (Egy)
         11-2, 7-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 (50m)
[Q] Siyoli Waters (Rsa) 3-2 [15] Jenny Duncalf (Eng)
        11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 0-11, 16-14 (56m)

Sherbini Survives, Siyoli Shocks

One of the weirdest matches so far for Siyoli/Jenny, with Jenny having 2 MB, while Siyoli gets the match on the 4th match ball in the 5th, 16/14, after losing the 4th 11/0. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings…

When you play the top girls, they are so good at being consistent and imposing their game plan while you are waving and out. And Jenny is not only a very experienced player, but also so good at mixing her shots.

At first, the only thing I wanted to do was just compete with her. And you see what I did in the 4th, that’s EXACTLY what I didn’t want. So I made sure in the 5th that would find that length I’d lost in the 4th, back to basics, and really play with her, not just give her points away. Really PLAY.

So I am a bit disappointed with the way I couldn’t close the gap in the 4th, but happy with the way I played and kept it together in the 5th.

A little thank you to Papa Tractor, my father in law, for his support….

I’m still under shock, and surprised, and needless to say, excited."

[6] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 [wc] Adrian Waller (Eng)
              10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (45m)

Tarek works it out

Tarek Momen, taking to the glass court in the Airco Arena immediately after his wife Raneem El Welily had progressed, was by his own admission "taken by surprise" by wildcard Adrian Waller.

For the first two games the tall left-handed Englishman matches his Egyptian opponent all the way. There was hardly ever more than a point between them in the first, but it was Waller who tended to take the lead and he did so too in extra points to take the lead 12-10.

The second game was similar, level all the way but this time Momen managed to squeeze out the important point at the end to level 11-9.

The Egyptian took control from early in the fourth though, and with Waller getting more and more frustrated as his error count continued to rise, Momen closed it out  11-5, 11-5.

"He took me by surprise in the beginning. He was picking up the pace which I didn't expect, and it was a real battle for two games, and at the start of the third,  I'm just happy to be able to get through that."


"If I was to play a normal basic game, Cameron would kill me in 15 minutes. So we basically we both trying to do the opposite. I was trying to pick up the pace, play short while he was trying to play more basic squash to get control of the middle. It was more of a tactical game than a physical one.

For me, playing on the traditional court was difficult, because of the game plan I was trying to implement. So when I saw I was playing on the court, I was not happy, but then again, once I was here, it was not that bad, and less difficult than I thought.

In the first game, and up to 9/5, I was playing everything short – too short – and he noticed it. So he changed his tactic, and started to go to the front as soon as I played the ball. Plus in the 4th and 5th, I couldn’t go for shots, it was too important, too crucial, so I started hitting the ball very hard to make sure my length was going to the back. Happy I finally got the good balance in the end."

Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 Cameron Pilley
         11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8 (80m)

Gawad gets through

Great intense game between Karim Samy and Cameron Pilley, with a suspense ending at each game.

A bit the same scenario each game, Karim taking a remarkable start, 4/0 or 5/0, then relaxing a bit, Pilley rushing in there, both hitting the ball ridiculously hard, both finding great short game too.

Frankly, each game could have gone either way. A few too many lets, but on a warm court with two players hitting hard and fast, it was bound to happen.

A lovely match to watch, although I’m sure they both would have preferred to play on the glass. One little note to Karim, he hit the ball soooooo hard and so clean today, taking Cameron by surprise and outplaying him a few times with his power.

It’s not a weapon that Baby Shabana uses normally. He should…

Zahed Mohamed 3-2 Stephen Coppinger
       8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 3-11, 11-5 (64m)

Incredible Egypt

When you think there are enough talents around, another one pops up! In the new coming up generation, we had the Three Musketeers, as in Birdsbrain Abou, FearLess Fares and IneedAHairCutBadly Mazen. Just trailing behind them, we had Zahed Mohamed. A bit of a rubgy player look, excellent fitness, nice shots but nothing flashy, just solid. But playing an stupendous galore of 3/2. And losing them.

Well, it would seem that D’Artagnan has now joined the Three M. He came out of age on this tournament. That boy just needs to believe in himself. Amr Mansi, El Gouna promoter and his mentor/coach/big brother does believe he has a great future. So do I.

Today, Cops didn’t put a foot wrong. He retrieved everything under the sun, kept pushing, found lovely attacks. But Zahed just had an question for every answer…

I did it.

It was the first time I played Steve, he is a top 20, so I knew how dangerous he was going to be. But I told myself, nothing is impossible.

I played well in the first game, up to 8/5. And then I realised I was about to win a game. And I froze. And starting thinking, never scored another point in that game!

The second, I got more relaxed, and I said “come on this time, just play, and until the end”. Third, it was tough, close, 3/3, 4/4, and I was lucky as he made a couple of unforced errors after we had a few long rallies.

The fourth, he was too good for me, I just was overwhelmed, mentally and physically. Too much. So when I started the 5th I forced myself and thought, ok, this is a training game, this is NOT the British Open, you are NOT 2/2….

So I just played squash, played my game, up tot 5/5. And then my shots started to work….

You know, I never believed in myself. I don’t believe I can win against those top players. Like last year when I was 2/2 against Selby. I just never believed I could do it. But just before I came, Amr Mansi, not only my coach but my brother, he told me that I could do it, that I just had to play each match, and that he believe in me. So I want to thank him, and my other coach Ahmed “Vito”. And of course, Captain Rushdie who coached me throughout the match today.

Tomorrow, I’m playing Tarek, for the first time in PSA…

Joelle King 3/0 [Q] Sabrina Sobhy
        11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (30m)

So nice to see Joelle smacking the ball around and finding those little ridiculously close to the tin volley drop shots… She is fit, she is strong, she is hungry… Lookout Hull, here she comes…

I was just excited today, no pressure or nerves today, just excited to be back on court competing with the top girls, that’s why I do that job, it’s to compete with the best players in the world.

Maybe I was actually too excited in the first two games, and I was tearing around a bit too much, rushing a bit too much, and I only settled down in the 3rd. Nice to get a match on board, looking forward to my next match on the glass. Especially as I didn’t know where I was squash wise, what my level was…

Today, what I felt I lacked a bit was my focus. A bit in and out at times. Training and playing a real match is completely different, and it’s not a physical worry, more a mental one. But no doubt after a few matches out there, I’ll get my match fitness back.

Vicktoria Lust 3-0 Omneya Abdel Kawy
11 4,11-8, 13-11

During El Gouna, Omneya’s Dad passed away suddenly, and I guess the Egyptian lady didn’t have much the heart to train or play squash.

She did her best, but Vicki was so strong physically, hitting very hard, Omneya couldn’t find solutions today.

I felt good out there, I had a basic game plan, but actually, I thought best to just play my game.

She is so very very very very good at reading the ball. So I tried and just play positive instead of just preventing her from doing so.

After that, it was all a question of staying in the rallies….
I think that today, fitness played a big role, but she moves so fast, because she reads your shot so well, she volleys it as soon as you played it.

I’m playing Joelle, she is so keen and hungry…. Nice to have her back


"It's good to be back in competitive action, but a bit like the PSL final last week, this was definitely a case of 'in at the deep end'!

"It's fair to say my short game was a bit rusty and I was loose around the middle of the court until I got settled in. You can play a lot of practice matches but it's not like the real thing.

"I thought I did well to come through the third and that relaxed my shoulders a bit for the fourth."

"It wasn't so much the ourt, I just couldn't get the pace at the start.  She came out so fast, I couldn't get into what I wanted to do, I was just hanging around the back wall for the first two games!

"Sometimes I thought I'd won the point four times then I realised that she had actually got it ... she's not world #1 for nothing!

"I really enjoyed it though!!"

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-1 Joshana Chinappa
          13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 (52m)
[1] Nicol David (Mas) 3-1 [Q] Tesni Evans (Wal)
           11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9 (56m)

David and Massaro tested

Winners of the last two British Opens, Nicol David and Laura Massaro were both given real tests in their opening matches at the Airco Arena.

First up was Massaro, making a return to competitive action after a two month rest, and fir two and a half games Joshana Chinappa match the former world champion every step of the way.

The first two games were shared, but it could easily have been two-nil to either of them, before Massaro finally started getting to grips with the match and her opponent, accelerating away from 7-all in the third and from 3-all in the fourth.

For David it was the other way around - the Malaysian breezed through the first two games against Welsh qualifier Tesni Evans for the loss of six points, but thereafter found herself in a real battle.

Evans started the third well and pressed on, staying ahead as the rallies lengthened and lengthened despite some fantastic retrieving by David.

The pattern continued in the fourth but with David holding a slight advantage throughout, winning it with a perfect length that brought relief and despair to the two players.

The game times tell the story - 5m, 5m, 17m, 16. A cracking match, well played Tesni.

Nouran Gohar 3-1 Samantha Cornett
              11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (43m)

Today I was a bit nervous, I was the favourite on paper, and it was my first time playing Sam, I didn’t know how to play her really, a bit of a “découverte” really!

In the first two games, I didn’t play too badly, even if I was down 6/2, I still managed to win the second, and it’s a cliché, but there is a big difference wining 2/0 or being 1/1.

But then I remember that in Chicago, Misaki was up 2/0 against her, and Sam managed to come back and win 3/2. So I made sure that didn’t happen to me!

After losing the 3rd, Raneem told me to get more precise in the middle, to hit less hard to find a bit more accuracy, and also to be more focused. It was more of a mental problem than a physical one.

I am now playing Laura, I played her in HK, and lost 3/1. So I’m going to play my best, no pressure on me at all.


[Q] Donna Urquhart (Aus) 3-2 [7] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
             5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5

End of the season flatness for Nour El Tayeb, who today just didn’t have the energy to counteract a very hungry Donna, back from surgery a few months back…

It took a lot of hard work to come back from last year’s surgery. You take so long to get back where you were before even thinking of improving your game! I got a lot of help from my coach David Palmer, and it was such a fast track to have him helping me instead of me doing it on my own.

He has helped me improving my game, my fitness is good, and I’m now more in control, not only of my shots but also of my movement which in turn allows me to control my shots even better. I’m also using my height and my reach to my advantage.

Yes this is definitely my best win, it’s been a long time since I beat a girl from the top ten. And I’m enjoying so much being back on the tour it shows in my squash.

It’s nice to have the support of my boyfriend [Scot Greg Lobban], it’s amazing to have him at my side, encouraging me, and I truly enjoy helping him and I really want him to do well in his squash.

Did you see how well he played??? He really played the perfect game to p… frustrate me. He was playing so tight, I couldn’t attack, he made me play the shots he wanted me to play. And you cannot believe that somebody like him, not the tallest player on the tour, can volley that well. He just volley with the end of the racquet, to perfection!

Now I’m playing Mosaad, he knows all my tricks… That’s the great thing about Egypt, we all play each others, we all know each others’ game. But it will be the first time ever I actually play Mosaad in an competitive match, PSA or local tournament. And I want to thank him for coaching me today…

Mazen Hesham (Egy) 3-2 [Q] Leo Au (Hkg)
         11-3, 11-6, 6-11, 10-12, 11-6 (72m)

A remarkable performance from Leo Au, I never saw him play not only that well, but such a great squash. It was such an entertaining match, where the HK boy truly played the game to frustrate Mazen, who as we all never NEVER ever gets nervous, tense or excited!!!

First two games, Mazen was playing his shots and Leo struggled a bit although the score didn’t tell the whole story. But from the end of the second, Leo found the way, counterdropped everything, lobbed beautifully, read the shots and hit hard to surprise and wrongfoot the Egyptian.

Mazen got more and more excited in the 3rd and 4th, cannot remember whatever happened in the 4th, how he lost it, while Leo played out of his skin. But weather the Mazen storm finally took its toll on the HK player that finally run out of steam at 5/5 in the 5th. But what a match! Loved every second of it, and it’s as far as I’m concerned, the match of the tournament so far…

[Q] Tom Richards (Eng) 3-1 Daryl Selby (Eng)
            12-10, 9-11, 11-1, 11-5 (61m)

This was horrible. I hated every second of it. He was on one leg, and was fighting with such determination. I don’t think I played badly the first two games. But I only clinched the first game, and lost the second. Anybody else, I would have thought, make it hard for him, and that will do the trick. But I have seen him being injured, and still beat good players whereas he was truly struggling.

I knew of course that was a good opportunity to come back at a ranking where I won’t have to qualify for these events anymore. I had forgotten how hard it is to go through qualifications. So I needed to seize that opportunity, and being ruthless, against somebody I really and truly didn’t want to be ruthless against. And I’m sure he knows that.

Now I’m playing Greg. I have made no secret that he is the player I enjoy the least playing against. I love volleying, and the way he plays low and hard, prevents me from doing it. I’m always out of position against him, I just never feel comfortable. Plus, he’s got a way of destroying the players that are below top 6 in the world! He blitzes people of a lower ranking!

My aim will be to try and play well against him, although I only manage to play well when I just play him again and again. But this time, I would like to play well when I haven’t played him in a long time, and take a game from him. And see from there!!!


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