J.P.Morgan Tournament of Champions 2016 • 05-14 Jan, New York

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TODAY at the ToC 2016

Tuesday 12th Jan:
Men's Quarters (bottom), Women's Quarters

[8] Nouran Gohar
(Egy) 3-2 [3] Laura Massaro (Eng)
                   10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 (77m)
[10] Amanda Sobhy (Usa) 3-0 [6] Alison Waters (Eng)
                        12-10, 11-3, 11-9 (38m)

[7] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 [4] Camille Serme (Fra)
                       11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8 (74m)
[2] Nicol David (Mas) 3-2 [5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy)
                     11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5 (56m)
[3] Grégory Gaultier (Fra) 3-1 [6] Simon Rösner (Ger)
                         11-8, 8-11, 14-12, 12-10 (78m)
[2] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-2 [8] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy)
                      10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (81m)
Quarters Flipagram - 8 matches, 30 seconds and Kylie

Photo Gallery

Shocks Galore in Grand Central quarters

A number of surprise results lit up the quarter-final stage of the 2016 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions with Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and US #1 Amanda Sobhy catching the eye after they both caused stunning upsets against World #1 Laura Massaro and England #2 Alison Waters, while Nour El Sherbini downed fourth seed Camille Serme and second seed Nicol David needed five games to get past Omneya Abdel Kawy.

In front of a packed and partisan New York crowd, American Amanda Sobhy scored another stunning upset at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in Grand Central Terminal as she defeated 6th seed Alison Waters of England. The 22-year-old Harvard graduate had already eliminated the defending champion and #1 seed Raneem El Welily of Egypt on Sunday.

Waters, a Toc finalist last year, had three game balls in the first game when she took a 10-7 lead. Undaunted, Sobhy reeled off the next five points to snatch the game and take the upper hand in the match.

“I just told myself that I had to keep fighting on every point. I knew that if I won the first game, it would change the momentum in a big way,” Sobhy said, and she indeed dominated the second game, winning it 11-3.

The English veteran regrouped in the third, but the American left- hander brushed back the challenge by winning the game 11-9 to earn a trip to the semifinals on Wednesday. Commenting both on her victory and the incredible roar that emanates in the lofty Vanderbilt Hall confines from the vocal and supportive crowd, Sobhy said,

“This is incredible. The crowd was amazing – their support gives me that second and third extra push. This is best place in the world to play.”

The highest ranking American ever on the PSA World Tour, the Sea Cliff, LI native reached her highest world ranking of no. 8 as of January 1. With this victory, Sobhy also is assured of the best American finish ever in a PSA World Series event.

”This may be the single greatest day in American squash history,” said tournament promoter John Nimick, himself a former high-ranking professional player.

In Wednesday’s semifinal, Sobhy will face the tournament’s eighth seed, Nouran Gohar. The 18-year-old Egyptian registered her own upset in the afternoon’s first match when she defeated the current world no. 1 Laura Massaro by two points in the fifth game.

Nouran Gohar. The 18-year-old Egyptian registered her own upset in the afternoon’s first match when she defeated the current world #1 Laura Massaro by two points in the fifth game.

Massaro, who had secured the top ranking spot at year-end by claiming two titles and a runner up finish in the last three PSA World Series events of 2015, took the early lead with a 12-10 first game win.

The reigning World Junior Champion responded by pounding the ball to the back of the court to win the second game 11-9 and even the match. The fearless teenager continued to go toe-to-toe with her 32-year-old opponent to claim a ToC semifinal berth by winning the last two games -11-8,11-9.

“I am so, so, so happy,” said a wide-smiling Gohar after the match. “To beat the World no. 1 is just incredible.”

As with her semifinal opponent, Gohar was buoyed by the crowd.

“This is my first time playing here in Grand Central, and it is now my favorite. The crowd just gives me so much energy”

She also received a confidence boost from being coached during the match by former world no 1 and three-time ToC champion Amr Sabana. “When I was getting tired towards the end, he just said ‘Just go and play. You do what you think you need to. You do it.”

And Gohar did.

It was a testament to Camille Serme’s strength of will that she fought back after losing the first two games to the two-time World Junior Champion to tie the match at two all.

Nour El Sherbini
matched the 26-year-old Frenchwoman’s fighting spirit with her own competitive intensity in the fifth. It was nip and tuck most of the way through the last game, until El Sherbini nosed ahead from 7 all to and won the match on a tin by Serme.

“I don’t know how I won that match,” El Sherbini said. “I was so tired at the end; I was really glad to see that last bill hit the tin.”

ElSherbini’s semifinal opponent will be Nicol David after she resolutely eliminated Omneya Abdel Kawy in another five game contest.

After winning the first game 11-6 in 9 minutes, it looked like David, who had won her first two matches in 20 minutes or less, might have another short and efficient victory.

But Abdel Kawy, who is an extraordinarily skilled shotmaker, had other ideas and consistently pushed David to the back of the court enabling the Egyptian deploy her shooting game to great effect.

“I knew that in order to keep Omneya from being able to shoot so easily I had to hit the ball more cleanly and deeper to keep her behind me,” said David. The strategy worked as David took control of the T and steamrolled through the last two games 11-3, 11-5.

On the men’s side, Gregory Gaultier of France surprised the full house of fans by breaking out some split dance moves after he got past Germany’s Simon Rosner with a hard fought four game victory.

Rosner had his chances - with the score tied at one game each, Rosner failed to convert two game balls in the third. In the fourth, the reigning World Champion eked out a 12-10 win to secure his ToC semifinal berth.

Nick Matthew had three game balls at 10-7 in the first game of his match against Marwan ElShorbagy, but it was the 22-year-old Egyptian who won the game 12-10 and then took the second 11-7.

The Englishman, known for his extraordinary fighting spirit, settled himself in the third.

“I knew that I needed to re-set and focus on one point at a time,” said the three time World Champion. “I was getting a little upset early on, so I had to calm myself and just focus on playing.”

Matthew proceeded to take control of the last two games, winning each at 11-6.

“It has been a while since I have had a win from 0-2 down, so it is a good confidence boost for me.”

Monday 11th Jan:
Men's Quarters (top), Women's Round Two (bottom)

[7] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [Q] Mariam Metwally (Egy)
                         11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (27m)
[4] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1 [16] Emily Whitlock (Eng)
                         11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11 (52m)

[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-0 [15] Joshna Chinappa (Ind)
                       11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (25m)
[2] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 [9] Annie Au (Hkg)
                       11-2, 11-5, 11-7 (27m)

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (
Egy) 3-1 [5] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
                         9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (76m)
[7] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-0 Borja Golan (Esp)
                        11-3, 13-11, 11-4 (42m)

Photo Gallery and Quarters Flipagram

Castagnet clinches semifinal ToC berth;
David defeats Au

“I can still hardly believe it” said France’s Mathieu Castagnet as he was leaving the majestic confines of Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the site of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and what will now be the Frenchman’s first foray into a World Series semifinal.

After little more than an hour on court against Spain’s Borja Golan in the evening’s last quarterfinal match, Castagnet emerged with a 3-0 victory over 19th ranked Golan to make it, for the first time, to the penultimate round of a PSA World Series event.

I was so nervous for the entire match,” said Castagnet,”even when I was up 9-1 in the third I wasn’t completely confident that I would win. Borja has already been to a few World Series semis, and I never have.

Although he may have been battling the nerves in his head, the Frenchman’s outward demeanor was calm and strong. After securing the first game 11-8, Castagnet jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the second. The strong-willed Golan fought back to even the score at nine all and even had game ball at 11-10.

While his fiery opponent questioned calls and made a string of errors, Castagnet played steady, retrieving squash and recaptured the lead at 12-11 securing the game 13-11. The third game was entirely Castagnet’s as he took an insurmountable 9-1 lead before closing it out 11-4 to win the match.

Tomorrow I will spend all day finding a solution to ElShorbagy’s game,” Castagnet said with a wide smile, referring to his semifinal opponent Mohamed ElShorbagy, the defending champion and top seed.

The world #1 faced off against countryman Omar Mosaad, the tournament’s fifth seed. Two of the sports’ towering figures - literally- (Mosaad is 6’3” and ElShorbagy is 6’1’), both men can hammer the ball and cover a lot of court.

Mosaad snatched the first game 11-9, and went up 8-4 in the second. ElShorbagy, whose competitive drive has kept him at the top of the world rankings for the 15 out of the last 16 months, roared back to win the next seven points, tying the match at one game each. After ElShorbagy won the third, 11-5, the two traded leads in the fourth until ElShorbagy closed out the game- and match – 12-10.

In women’s action, 2014 ToC champion and second seed Nicol David was on and off the court in 21 minutes with an 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 victory over Hong Kong’s Annie Au.

“There is always a nice buzz here at the ToC which is energizing,”
said the eight-time world champion. “And the crowds are incredibly knowledgeable, so it is really fun to play here."

Fun was also the order of the day for David’s semifinal opponent, Omneya Abdel Kawy. The 30-year-old Egyptian eliminated India’s Joshna Chinnappa in straight games, although Chinnapa drew close at 8-9 in the third before succumbing 9-11.

“I didn’t play all that much in December,
” said Kawy,”so I was really hungry to play when I arrived in NYC, and I really enjoyed being on court today.

Kawy found it helpful to be coached by three-time ToC champion and countryman Amr Shabana, who is a hero to most Egyptian players.

“It gives me confidence when he is coaching me,”
said Kawy. “He has all the experience and he knows when you need technical advice and when you need some motivation. And he’s Amr Shabana watching me play, so I feel I must win.”

Rising English star Emily Whitlock extended Camille Serme to four games in their quarterfinal pairing, winning the third 11-8 before Serme closed at the match 13-11 in the fourth.

Bolstered by an enhanced confidence as a result winning the British Open last year, Serme says that winning that prestigious title made her realize that there was no reason she couldn’t win more of the sport's major titles.

Serme will need to defeat 20-year-old Nour El Sherbini, who defeated qualifier Mariam Metwally 3-0, in their semifinal on Wednesday before she can lay claim to a ToC championship.

Play continues on Tuesday with the remaining two men's and all four women';s quarter-finals.


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