In 2016 Allam British Open Squash Championships, Egypt’s stranglehold on the game was evident with 5 men and 4 women from that country securing their places in quarterfinals. The annual tournament, held in London every year, is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious events in squash that no one wants to miss. In the second round on Thursday, Egypt’s world no.14 shocked everyone by beating England’s world no.3 Nicholas Matthew in five tough games to set up a clash with compatriot and world no.5 Ramy Ashour. On his part, Ashour also had to slog for five games against Australian Ryan Cuskelly before coming through. Other men’s players reaching the round-of-eight; were top seed and world no.1 Mohamed El Shorbagy, Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez, Egypt’s Marwan El Shorbagy & Karim Abdel Gawad, Germany’s Simon Rosner and Frenchman Gregory Gaultier. Interestingly, all top 8 world-ranked women have reached the quarterfinals to the utter delight of organizers and spectators. The round-of-eight has world no.1 Englishwoman Laura Massaro, no.2 Malaysian Nicol David, no.3 Egyptian Raneem El Weleily, no.4 Egyptian Nour El Sherbini, no.5 Frenchwoman Camille Serme, no.6 Egyptian Omneya Abdel Kawy, no.7 USA’s Amanda Sobhy and no.8 Egyptian Nouran Gohar. India’s world no. 19 Saurav Ghosal caused ripples on Wednesday by defeating world no.8 Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet but succumbed to Marwan El Shorbagy in the next round to miss out the QF spot. In women’s draw, India’s highest ranked player Joshna Chinappa was eliminated in the first round by unseeded Australian Donna Urquhart.
India’s National champion Saurav Ghosal shocked the winner of last week’s Canary Wharf Classic, Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in the first round. Ghosal is known in squash circuits as the speedy Indian and he fought for 66 minutes before beating Castagnet 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6. On Thursday, however, Ghosal couldn’t carry the momentum in his match against world no.11 Marwan El Shorbagy and retired in the third game after losing the first two 6-11, 6-11. Ghosal’s compatriot and India no.1 women’s player Joshna Chinappa couldn’t even win her first round match against the unseeded Australian Donna Urquhart and lost 10-12, 11-7, 9-11, 5-11.
In Thursday’s matches, the biggest upset was caused by Egypt’s Ali Farag, who defeated world no.3 Nicholas Matthew of England in a five-game encounter. In a see-saw battle, Farag lost the first and third games but held his nerve to oust the Englishman 4-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4. In the QF on Friday, Farag will take on compatriot Ramy Ashour, who defeated Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11. Top seed and defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy lost one game against England’s James Willstrop before prevailing at 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5. Other men’s quarterfinalists had an uneventful progress in their matches.
For the organizers’ great delight, every woman reaching the QF is among the world’s top 8. For the place in the semifinals, world no. 1 Laura Massaro will play against world no.5 Frenchwoman Camille Serme; world no.2 Malaysian Nicol David will take on world no.6 Omneya Abdel Kawy; world no.3 Egyptian Raneem El Weleily takes on world no.8 Nouran Gohar in an all-Egyptian contest, and world no.4 Nour El Sherbini will play against world no.7 USA’s Amanda Sobhy.
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