Australia’s Cameron Pilley pulled off the biggest upset of 2016 Hong Kong Open Squash Tournament. The Australian toppled the world’s top-ranked player Mohamed Elshorbagy in the second round after an hour and half of the 5-game battle. Pilley thus avenged his title-game loss to the man, who beat him last year to emerge as the 2015 champion. Last year, Pilley had also upset French World Champion Gregory Gaultier and England’s Nick Matthew on his way to the final but couldn’t win against Elshorbagy. For the semifinal spot this year, the Australian will now take on another formidable Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad. Among women, the Egyptian world no.1 Nour El Sherbini side-stepped the challenge from home favorite Annie Au with a 3-1 victory while India’s Joshna Chinappa couldn’t stand against Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy and lost 0-3 to exit the tournament. The first-time Hong Kong Open contender El Sherbini will next play against compatriot Omneya for a place in the semifinals.
33-year-old Australian Cameron Pilley took his revenge on 2014 & 2015 champion and world no.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy for his 2015 defeat against the celebrated Egyptian. In the process, Pilley also caused the tournament’s biggest upset and moved into the quarterfinals of the 2016 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open. It was a closely fought 5-game battle, in which the Australian began by taking the first game but lost the second. The world no.1 went ahead by also taking the third game at 11-9. In the fourth game, however, Pilley fought ferociously and leveled the game scores with a 14-12 result. The two players brought out their best in the decider but Elshorbagy couldn’t prevent Pilley from creating Hong Open’s biggest upset with an 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 14-12, 11-9 victory after a mind-numbing 91 minutes of court action.
In one more third day upset, World Champion Frenchman Gregory Gaultier lost his second-round match to Egypt’s Fares Dessouky after another 5-game duel. Dessouky produced his best game to defeat Gaultier 6-11, 15-13, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 in an 83minute match. In other results of the men’s draw; sixth seeded Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad defeated compatriot Mazen Hesham 11-5, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7; England’s James Willstrop beat Egypt’s Tarek Momen 5-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-7; Australian Ryan Cuskelly defeated Hong Kong wild card Tsz Fung Yip 11-5, 11-9, 11-4; Egypt’s Ramy Ashour defeated compatriot and no.4 seed Marwan ElShorbagy 9-11, 13-15, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8; Germany’s Simon Rosner beat no.5 seeded Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet and Hong Kong’s Max Lee outlasted Egyptian seventh seed Ali Farag 11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9.
In women’s draw India’s Joshna Chinappa was cut to size by Egypt’s no.8 seeded Omneya Abdel Kawy in just 24 minutes in a second round match. The Indian lost at 8-11, 10-12, 4-11. But an upset was caused by last year’s finalist Nour El Tayeb of Egypt. Tayeb defeated her compatriot and third seed Raneem El Welily on Thursday after the 37-minute match that ended at 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5 in Tayeb’s favor. However, women’s world no.1 Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini inched closer to another title by beating Hong Kong’s crowd favorite Annie Au 18-16, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7. It was the first time that El Sherbini had entered the Hong Kong Open but she needed to work hard for her 45-minute victory. Stiff resistance from the Hong Kong woman saw the first game being decided at 18-16 but El Sherbini dropped the third game as well, before entering the quarterfinals. El Sherbini will meet compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy for a place in the semifinals. Long-time former world no.1 Malaysian Nicol David had a fight on her hands against New Zealand’s Joelle King but David finally prevailed at 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5. The Malaysian is bidding for a record 11th consecutive title victory at Hong Kong. In other women’s matches, no.2 seeded Englishwoman Laura Massaro beat compatriot Emily Whitlock 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-2 and Egyptian fifth seed Nouran Gohar defeated England’s Alison Waters 11-5, 11-6, 11-7.
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