Tournament of Champions

SquashSite Coverage

Semis

[5] Camille Serme 3-2 [3] Nouran Gohar  7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 16-14 (78m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini 3-1 [6] Joelle King (Nzl)        11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3 (41m)

[4] Tarek Momen 3-2 [1] Ali Farag             11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7 (76m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad  11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)

An incredible semi between the Terminator and the Panthère, Nouran seemed in control in the 5th, 7/3, 9/5, 10/7, but just couldn’t transform either of the 5th chances she had, and it’s Camille that clinches the match on her 3rd match ball…

Mohamed ElShorbagy will reclaim the World No.1 spot from current incumbent Ali Farag if he can overcome World Champion Tarek Momen tomorrow at New York’s Grand Central Terminal when they go head-to-head in the final.  The 29-year-old saw his 12-month reign as World No.1 come to an end when he surrendered a two-game lead to Farag in a final defeat at the 2019 edition of the Tournament of Champions.

But he now has the opportunity to claim top spot for the fourth time after he overcame World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad, while Farag fell to Momen in all-Egyptian semi-finals in the men’s event.

Mohamed ElShorbagy
“Karim just beat me in Channel VAS. I actually think he is more dangerous when he has tough matches before he plays you because he is the most talented player on tour and when he has tough matches, he’s physically maybe a bit more tired, so he starts to go for more winners.

“This was the match that I was most nervous for so far in this event. He was going for it in the first two games and created such a high pace and I was a bit nervous as well with Ali [Farag] losing the match before me and giving me the possibility of maybe going to World No.1 if I win tomorrow – I had all these things going through my mind.

“I had to use all of my experience and I’m really happy to be back here in another final. This is my sixth tournament this season and I’ve made five finals – It’s not easy to back it up every season, but there’s nothing else I would want to be doing than playing finals like this.

“I thought Tarek did so well to win the World Champs because after me, Gawad and Ali were out, some people think that’s easier to win but it actually made it more difficult for him to win because all of the pressure was on him and I thought he dealt with it well. I was very happy for him.”

Tarek Momen
“At no point did I ever think it was over, even when I was 2-0 up. I knew I had to fight for every point. I was in the situation last April in El Gouna when I was 2-0 up and he managed to come back and win it 12-10 in the fifth. I really didn’t want that to happen again and I had a few chances in the third to close the gap or get a lead and I lost it and in the fourth I thought I was very close and then he ran away with it. I came into the fifth and I wanted to impose some character, I didn’t want to succumb to defeat and my strategy was to fight for every point.

“All credit to Ali, the way he’s come back after the tough times he has had is just unbelievable and it shows what kind of a fighter he is and it really shows why he is the World No.1 at the moment.

“I had a strategy in mind at the beginning that I shouldn’t rush things or go too short too quickly because Ali is one of the best movers on court and he can easily get to most of my shots. I wanted to play a long game and see how it goes and it worked for a while but then we kept changing our strategies but towards the end I think it was a high quality match.

“After my World Championship win, I played the World Teams, this is my first PSA tournament of the year, so it’s important for me to show that I can back it up and that I’m hungry for more.”

Nour El Sherbini
“Playing against Joelle is never easy. She played really well yesterday and so I wanted to be sure from the first point. She came back well in the third, so in the beginning of the fourth I wanted to get some points off quickly.

“Camille is one of the fittest players on tour. She has been playing a lot of five setters since the first round. I have a lot of respect for her and for me it will be about my usual preparation for the final.”


Quarters

[1] Ali Farag 3-2 [5] Paul Coll (Nzl)    11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-6 (62m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-0 Mostafa Asal                  11-8, 11-2, 11-5 (33m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 [6] Simon Rösner (Ger)   6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 (89m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 Joel Makin (Wal)                        11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (51m)

[5] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-2 [1] Raneem El Welily     13-15, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 (59m)
[3] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [13] Alison Waters (Eng)                        11-6, 11-8, 11-7 (39m)
[6] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-0 [14] Salma Hany              11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (33m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 [8] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)  11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)

Nour El Sherbini
“Losing once against any player is always hard, but losing three times is harder. Last season I wasn’t happy with the way I was playing and I played her three times and I lost three times. This time I was prepared well and I just wanted to come on and play good, enjoy more and I think I did a good plan with my coaches. I’m really glad it worked and happy that I won in three.
“SJ is very skilful and you can see that she can kill any shot from anywhere on the court. I was trying to take a step forward and be prepared for any shot she played and I’m happy that I’m playing loads better than yesterday and that gives me a huge push for tomorrow.”

Karim Abdel Gawad
“I’m really happy to be through. Simon played really great squash today. He hit amazing winners from all corners today, I was under pressure for the whole match and I really wanted to push and win today to reach the semi-finals. I’m glad I did and I’m glad I’m in the semi-finals and get to play in front of such a great crowd.

“He was reading me really well today. All of the shots I was playing, he was there waiting for it, so I tried changing a little bit in the second game and the other games, I tried playing some crosscourts and not push him a lot in the front corners, because he was moving really well and reading my game well. Another tough battle with a great player like Simon. It’s always tough and nice playing him.”

Mohamed ElShorbagy
“Every match I play is a different game plan. Joel, for me, is the most improved player every year. Every match he plays there is something new that he brings to his game and for me he is a top five player. He is one of the most hungry players that I have come across in my career. When I was in my early 20s, the way he trains and goes on in a match reminds me a lot of the way I was.

“We’ve started training a lot together and having a lot of hard practice matches. He’s actually the first training partner I’ve had, beside my brother, in my career. We get on really well and he has had a fantastic tournament. The way he beat Diego in that second round match after he lost to him at the U.S. Open was very impressive. To then back it up against James is not easy, so full credit to him.

“The hunger grows more every day, the day I lose my hunger then there is no point in playing this event or game. I’m very hungry to try and win titles every time I come back here and hopefully I can try and win my third trophy here.”



Round Three

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 Declan James (Eng)  6-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-3 (43m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 Gregoire Marche (Fra)    11-1, 11-9, 11-9 (37m)
[1] Ali Farag 3-0 Youssef Soliman                             11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (44m)
Mostafa Asal 3-2 Gregory Gaultier (Fra)  5-11, 13-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5 (75m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (Mas)            11-9, 11-4, 3-11, 11-9 (42m)

[1] Raneem El Welily 3-1 [11] Annie Au (Hkg)                11-9, 11-6, 11-5 (24m)
[5] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-1 [16] Yathreb Adel       11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9 (57m)
[3] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [10] Hania El Hammamy             11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (38m)
[14] Salma Hany 3-1 [4] Nour El Tayeb                         8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (41m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini 3-1 Olivia Blatchford Clyne (Usa)    14-12, 11-8, 6-11, 16-14 (53m)

Superb performance from Yathreb Adel today I felt. She has improved her fitness immensely, she is more patient, and has a more mature squash. She could have taken both the second and the fourth. Well done.

Salma Hany
“Nour is an amazing player and obviously she has been chopping me the last few times.

“Every time I go on court with her I learn a lot from our matches. During that break I worked really hard for those kind of matches and me and my coach Wael El-Hindi worked really hard for this match, I’m so glad it worked out and stuck to the plan. Having Danny Massaro with me in my corner has made a huge difference.

Everyone knows that Nour can hit any shot from anywhere on the court, so I was just trying to minimise her options as much as I could. I didn’t feel like I did much wrong in the first, maybe I levelled up my accuracy a little and I stuck to the plan. She is such a fighter and kept coming back stronger and stronger in the fourth, but I’m glad I managed to get the win.

 

Raneem El Welily
“Annie always has a very good lob and drop game. She’s such a skilful player when it comes to that game specifically. The first two games and the end of that third, it’s not easy trying to not get sucked into that game. Today, the ball was a little bit dead as well so that suited her even more, so it was a little more difficult to try and get out of that trap and I’m pleased to be through in three.

“Just like Annie, Camille and I go way back and have had many matches together. Most of them were very close, she is playing very good squash and having to play her in the quarters shows just how good the depth of the game is for the women. It will be a tough match but hopefully I will be up for the challenge.”

 

Ali Farag
“I started off really well. The ball was quite bouncy, so I couldn’t really going for those killing shots I just had to move it around and try to dominate the ‘T’ area which I think I did well for the first game and part of the second game. In the third he came out more aggressive and hitting shots with the racket, getting in front of me for most of the time and what I didn’t like at the end of the third and for the fourth was my body language.

“I don’t mind losing at all but I mind losing without a fight. I wasn’t really putting on a good fight, so Karim Darwish told me if you are to lose just have good body language and push – if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen but then at least you will have no regrets.

“I kept my calm, he gifted me a couple of errors and then I ran away with the game, so I’m really pleased to put on a big fight today.”

 

Tarek Momen
“I’m definitely happy to get through in three games. I’ve known Mostafa probably since he was born. I think I finished my junior career when he was just four or five years old, and to be honest I never thought I’d be competing against him, I always thought I’d have retired before he even joined the PSA. Kudos to him, he has done impressively well to improve and reach that level where he is actually competing on a big stage like this.”

“I’m very happy to be able to handle the pressure because it’s always tough to play an up and coming player. The way I dealt with the situation and I managed to control the errors from the first game, I’m very proud of that.”

Mohamed Elshorbagy
“Any of the top guys are coming here to try and win this title, I’m just one of them who are trying to have a shot at it.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to give it my best here every day and see what happens. I love coming back here every year, I’ve played some great matches in front of the crowd here over the years. I will try to give my best here because that’s what this crowd deserves.”

 

Ali Farag
“He didn’t make it easy for me. I was listening during the pre-match introductions and Youssef has had an amazing year, he’s been beating a lot of top players and he has shown on this court that he has been playing really solidly, so I had to be on my metal from the beginning. He didn’t make it easy but I think a bit of experience at the end of the games made the difference.

“This is our third meeting on the PSA, but we train with each other whenever he is in Egypt at least once or twice a week. We know each other’s game pretty well and I guess it showed in a way today because we could read each other pretty well, I’m really glad to be through today.

“The match against Mazen made me sharper in the head, I think and it made me sharper for this one and hopefully now that I’m through it will make me sharper for the next one.”

Mostafa Asal
“Gaultier is such a legend and I can’t describe the feeling of sharing a court with him. I remember when I was 13-years-old I went on court to practice with him, every single day after his matches in El Gouna, so I want to thank him for the opportunity to play with him. He really is a legend and I can’t describe my feelings to him. I was a child and I texted him to ask if I could play with him in El Gouna and he said yes. I know if he hadn’t of been injured then he would have finished me in about five minutes.

“It’s unbelievable to play here, it’s my second home. It’s the best tournament that I have ever played on the PSA.”

Women Round Two (Bottom Half)

[4] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Donna Lobban (Aus)               11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (22m)
[14] Salma Hany 3-0 Nadine Shahin                       11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (26m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Milou van der Heijden (Ned)  11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (24m)

Nour El Tayeb
“I was excited, but then when the moment came to get on court I was very nervous. It’s my first match in a while and the last match I played was at the end of October, so it’s been a while since we have played. It’s exciting to be back and I’m definitely pleased with how I played and how I won.

“Donna is a tricky opponent and our head-to-head is 1-1 and the match I won, she was match ball up, so it could have easily been 2-0 in the head-to-head. I’m very happy with how I’ve played and to be in the next round.

“It’s exciting to be in tournament mode again, I hope I can keep it going for the whole of the week.”



Men Round Two (bottom half)

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad 3-1 Iker Pajares  (Esp)         3-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 (44m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) 3-2 Zahed Salem          12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6 (72m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)             11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (28m)

Karim Abdel Gawad
“Iker played extremely well today. Today was one of my worst matches in my career, I didn’t find my rhythm or a good balance in the back or front. I was too slow today and I was really outplayed by Iker. I just tried to use my experience and push mentally more than anything else.

“Iker played some really good squash, it is our first time playing together and I couldn’t read him at all from the front or middle. I gave him a lot of winners today and it was very well played from him. He’s still 23 years old and doing great, so I think he will do much better in the coming seasons.

“Today was all about effort from me, after the first game I said to myself that I can’t have another slow start, so I just wanted to push as hard as I could. I just wanted to keep the lead, so it was all about effort today for me.”

Women Round Two part One

[1] Raneem El Welily 3-0 Coline Aumard (Fra)                 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 (22m)
[16] Yathreb Adel 3-0 Zeina Mickawy                            11-3, 11-7, 11-6 (27m)
[5] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-2 Rowan Elaraby     11-8, 3-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (59m)
[13] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-0 Nada Abbas                      11-9, 11-8, 11-6 (31m)
[10] Hania El Hammamy 3-1  Mariam Metwally        9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (36m)
[3] Nouran Gohar 3-0 Alexandra Fuller (Rsa)                   11-5, 11-3, 11-4 (19m)

Raneem El Welily
“For most of the girls it’s been a while since we have played a tournament. We had a bit of a break, which I enjoyed really, it was great to be home for a few weeks.

“I’m very happy to be here, being in New York is always great and so much fun – all of us really enjoy it and we love playing in front of such a big crowd as well.

“I was just trying to get into the groove to settle into the atmosphere that you have here, it’s a bit unusual compared to most of the other tournaments. It takes time to adjust to it, but I’m very pleased with the way I played today.

“Coline is a very good friend off court and I really enjoyed playing her today and wish her all the best.”

 

Nouran Gohar
“The US might be my lucky place!. I was struggling a little bit during the season of 2017/2018, after being so young and winning so many matches, so I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think, with my team, we just tried to calm down, try to enjoy it as much as possible and just focus on tactics and the technique of the game rather than the results because if you think the other way around you just put pressure on yourself.

“We didn’t change much, just changed the mindset and the tactics remained the same, I think. I think I became more flexible, I’m a very straight person in my life, I think things to go really well and I’m a tough person. I started to accept that you can lose some matches even if you are playing well and it happens, it’s just a part of the draw in the end.”


Men Round Two (top half)

[1] Ali Farag 3-2 Mazen Hesham                            11-3, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3 (74m)
Youssef Soliman 3-0 Baptiste Masotti                                    11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (35m)
Mostafa Asal 3-1 [8] Mohamed Abouelghar                     4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (48m)
Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-2 Omar Mosaad               11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9 (78m)
[4] Tarek Momen 3-1 Marwan ElShorbagy                     9-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-9 (56m)

Women Round One

Zeina Mickawy 3-1 Melissa Alves (Fra)                14-12, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6 (41m)
Rowan Elaraby 3-2 Liu Tsz-Ling (Hkg)           11-2, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4 (41m)
Nada Abbas 3-2 Rachel Arnold (Mas)           10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (48m)
Mariam Metwally 3-0 Danielle Letourneau (Can)           13-11, 11-6, 11-7 (33m)
Nadine Shahin 3-0 Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG)                      13-11, 11-7, 11-5 (28m)

Ali Farag
“I know Mazen well, he was No.13 in the world at the age of 21.

“On the day he was the better squash player, and so I had to make it physical, but with physica,  you don’t want to turn into a machine. At the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth, I was forcing it rather than thinking it. I’m really glad I’m through because I could have been the loser today for sure.”

Tarek Momen
“There were a lot of nerves involved. It’s really unfair for either of us to leave the tournament this early. I was never fan of the format, but there is a claim that it makes it interesting from the first day, it is interesting for the people, but it’s so harsh on any of us that are put in this situation.

“This is the third year in a row where I get to play the World No.9 in the first round. It puts a lot of pressure on me coming to New York every time to play a tough competitor in the first round.

“Don’t get fooled by what happened on court, me and Marwan are really good friends. It’s a bit unfortunate that we got a bit nervous and a few rallies were a bit scrappy but overall I think it was highly contested. The second game was crucial for me because I was almost 2-0 down, and that really helped me to get the win today and live to fight another day.”

Mostafa Asal
“I want to thank the crowd, it was really amazing today.

“It’s really tough to beat Abou, I didn’t expect that from the start. I’m happy that I made it, this is a dream court and I love to play here. I’m looking forward to my next match.

“The last two months I have hit a lot of nicks in my practice, I guess it’s the new racquet! I can’t believe that I won today and I want to thank everyone who supported me today.”

Youssef Soliman
“He is such a tricky player and you can’t predict what shots he is going to play,” said the 22-year-old following his win.

“He can go for it or go deep, so I went in with a good plan and I was so happy to keep my head together until the end of the match and I’m glad I maintained my performance.

“Baptiste has a nice backhand line. His forehand is like a rocket and you can’t expect what he will play, so I tried to minimise his angle and that was my plan and it went well.”


Round One:

Youssef Soliman 3-1 Nicolas Mueller (Sui)      11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5 (46m)
Mostafa Asal3-0 Ramit Tandon (Ind)                    11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (53m)
Mazen Hesham 3-0 Alan Clyne (Sco)                     11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (39m)
Tom Richards (Eng) 3-1 Karim El Hammamy   11-2, 9-11, 11-1, 11-3 (32m)
Declan James (Eng) 3-0 Mohamed ElSherbini          11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (44m)

 

As flat as a Swiss crepe

"That's as flat as a Swiss crepe!"Ridiculous winner from Nicolas Müller!! 💥#ToCSquash #ToC20

Gepostet von Squash – PSA World Tour am Donnerstag, 9. Januar 2020

Youssef Soliman

“I’m feeling good and sharp. Nici beat me at the start of the season and he was in good form, so I had to be solid. I had to make sure that I had my basic game because he is so good with his volleys, especially on the forehand. I had to be sharp.

“When someone is tall, like he is, you have to use to your advantage with the counter drop and I knew that he had a tough time last month, I’m sure he will be back stronger than ever.”