Top seeds lift San Francisco titles
Egypt’s Raneem El Welily and Mohamed ElShorbagy are the Oracle NetSuite Open 2019 champions after winning their clashes with compatriots Nour El Tayeb and Tarek Momen at the amazing Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco.
World No.2 ElShorbagy lifted the Oracle NetSuite Open trophy for a second time, after he got the better of second seed Tarek Momen in a deciding fifth game at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco.
The pair were meeting for the 21st time on the PSA World Tour, and it was Momen who got the better start, but ‘The Beast’ was able to fight back quickly to gain the momentum in the first game, taking it 11-6 in just nine minutes.
The top seed also had an advantage in the second game at 6-3, but ‘The Viper’ won seven of the next eight points to sit pretty at 10-7. However, ElShorbagy was able to save all three game balls to push it into a tie-break.
‘The Beast’ then saved another game ball, but Momen would eventually get over the line to win it 13-11 to tie the match. The third game was a reverse of the second, with the World No.3 having to save several game balls. ElShorbagy, though, was able to get over the line 11-9 to go 2-1 up in the match.
Momen had control throughout the fourth game in his quest to send it into a decider. He won it 11-7, but he was unable to keep his levels of performance up in the final game, as ElShorbagy proved too strong, winning the match in 70 minutes and claiming his second Oracle NetSuite Open title, following his 2017 victory.
“The way Tarek has been playing, the consistency he has had is unbelievable. I think the way the match went. It was cat-and-mouse. We both kept doing different things and luckily I won the first game so I had the advantage,” ElShorbagy said.
“Matches like this, when they go to a fifth, anything can happen. Whoever has the better start in the fifth usually pulls through. Luckily, I had that better start today.
“We are going to play a lot this season and hopefully we will some more amazing matches for the fans to enjoy.”
In the women’s final, World No.1 El Welily cruised to victory as she defeated compatriot Nour El Tayeb in straight games to avenge her China Open final defeat from three weeks previous.
She needed just 23 minutes to complete the victory, her 13th over El Tayeb on the PSA World Tour, although the World No.5 did seem to be carrying some sort of shoulder issue throughout the match.
The first game was tight in the opening exchanges, but El Welily was able to find her game in the cold conditions in San Francisco to reel off six straight points to take the first 11-5.
She then started the second in the same imperious form, but the ‘Black Widow’ was able to fight her way back into it. However, the World No.1 reeled off a string of points again, five this time, to take the second game by the same scoreline.
The third game went much the same as the first, with a tight start to it before El Welily was able to power on to victory. She completed a hat-trick of 11-5 game wins to take the 3-0 victory, clinching the title for the first time.
In winning the title, the World No.1 took revenge for losing in the final in San Francisco last year, and also on El Tayeb after missing out on the China Open title earlier this month.
“I definitely felt good out there today! I just was trying to play all the way to the end and not to give any loose shots or give any cheap points. I wanted to try as hard as I could and I think that was what kept me going through to the end,” El Welily explained.
“Nour is a great shot maker and I know she goes for shots anytime. Whenever you give her a loose shot, she just kills it straight away so knowing that, I could not be relaxed on court. You are always on your toes to try and get up as far as possible, before moving quickly back to retrieve whatever she does next.
“Whenever I think about the word revenge, it does not do me good. I try to keep that out of my mind and keep calm. I try to just play, no matter what happened in the past. I try not to think about it too much because it never brings any good. Especially me, I tend to overthink too much anyway!
“We are all trying to do our best every tournament. Everyone is fighting out there, and I am just glad to be a winner out there today, and maybe she will be next time.”
The PSA World Tour moves across the United States to Philadelphia for the US Open, which takes place from 5-12 October.
All-Egyptian finals set in San Francisco
An Egyptian quartet will feature in the finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open 2019, as Raneem El Welily, Nour El Tayeb, Mohamed ElShorbagy and Tarek Momen were all victorious in their semi final clashes in San Francisco.
Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy was the victor over his younger brother, Marwan ElShorbagy, in the most anticipated match of the night, advancing to the final for the third consecutive year.
The siblings had met 16 times, with the older brother Mohamed holding the 13-3 advantage, and he continued that momentum into the first game, as he restricted the World No.11 to just four points.
The second game had more ups-and-downs in it, with Mohamed eventually taking the victory with his seventh match ball, booking his place in the final against compatriot Tarek Momen on Monday evening.
“I am really happy to reach the final for a third consecutive year. It is not easy and it is a very different tournament this year with the best-of-three,” Mohamed ElShorbagy admitted,
“You have to play with a very different tactic for each match. Matches are short and sharp, especially in the colder conditions. I am really happy with how I played and I always think the top guys have a way of adapting and here we are, myself and Tarek, the top two seeds are in the final together.”
Momen was always in control against Colombia’s Miguel Rodrigues, winning 11-6, 11-3 in just 23 minutes.
In the women’s draw Nour El Tayeb caused the only upset on the glass court at Embarcadero Plaza, as she defeated Camille Serme in three games to reach the final.
The match started off in a very tight fashion, with neither player able to break away. However, it was the Egyptian that eventually broke loose, winning the last four points of the game to take it 11-7.
Serme came back fighting in the second game, moving out into a quick-fire 6-2 lead and taking it 11-7, forcing a decider. The third game was always under control for the Egyptian, though, as she got an early lead and never looked like relinquishing it.
“First of all, it is nice to win a match on this court. I haven’t been here for the last three years, so I am happy to come out with a win in the semi finals,” El Tayeb admitted.
“I have played a lot of squash over the last couple of days. I played for an hour this morning. I just wanted to have a little bit of soreness, like Camille, who was probably feeling a little bit sore from yesterday. I have been resting for over 48 hours without a match but it was worth the wait.”
El Tayeb will face top seed Raneem El Welily in the final after she defeated India’s Joshna Chinappa in straight games in just 17 minutes in the last match of the evening’s action.
Quarters Part Two : Second seeds through to semis
Egypt’s Tarek Momen and France’s Camille Serme are both into the semi finals after winning their quarter final matches at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco.
Momen came from behind in his last eight clash with Wales No.1 Joel Makin to take the victory. The pair had only faced off once before on the PSA World Tour, with that meeting coming in the quarter finals of last year’s Qatar Classic, a match that the Egyptian won.
“At the end of the game, it seemed like I could not put the ball away. Wherever I put it, he just dived and got it. It made me a bit edgy,” Momen admitted.
“I am happy with the way I played after the first game. It is best-of-three and you cannot lose focus. I did not start as sharp as I wanted, but I am very happy to have been able to have got back into a rhythm, and it was a pretty exciting match for the crowd as well.
“It is always a pleasure to make it all the way. We [along with wife Raneem El Welily] are still looking for that double final appearance, but let’s just take it one day at a time!”
The Egyptian will face Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez in the last four after he defeated Scotland’s Alan Clyne in straight games in the final match of the night.
In the women’s draw, French No.1 Camille Serme got the better of Tesni Evans to reach the last four. Serme had never lost to the Welshwoman on the PSA World Tour prior to this clash, having been successful in all ten of their previous meetings.
“To be honest, it is cold right now. Event hough we have been running around. I know it is the same conditions for all the players, but it is tough. It is not easy to get your targets in the back,” Serme admitted.
“As I said, we are running but I am still cold. I was just trying to stay positive despite the conditions. If you find a good shot, it is pretty hard to get it back.
“I am very excited to be through. Last year I did not make it to the glass court, so I am happy to have made it this year. I have added another round on that as well which is a positive so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Serme will face Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb on Sunday night, who progressed to the semi finals following the withdrawal of Amanda Sobhy due to an adductor injury.
Quarters Part One : Welily dethrones Perry, Chinappa ousts Kin as ElShorbagy brothers set up semi
Egypt’s Raneem El Welily is into the semi finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open 2019 after knocking out the defending two-time champion Sarah-Jane Perry in straight games on the glass court at the spectacular Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco, on a night which saw India’s Joshna Chinappa upset the seedings and Egypt’s ElShorbagy brothers win contrasting matches to set up a semi-final clash.
The pair had met ten times on the PSA World Tour, with their last meeting being that final in San Francisco in 2018, where Perry won an epic 57 minute five game battle 3.
“It just shows how strong the women’s tour is. Everyone is such a strong contender to win every tournament and everyone has chances to win,” El Welily said.
Round Two : Kandra and Clyne join seeds in San Fran quarters
In the men’s draw, unseeded Raphael Kandra overcame compatriot Simon Rösner in the final match of the night at the University Club.
Despite being from the same nation, this was only the third time that the pair had met each other on the PSA World Tour, with Rösner having been successful in the previous two.
“Two days ago when I beat Iker, I had a similar strategy of precision and pressure, and it worked quite well even though it was a different court at the Bay Club,” Kandra said.
“With the new format, you get punished for your bad shots or when you go for a silly shot. Almost 50% of those opportunities for him went into the tin luckily for me. I was trying to stay as mentally sharp as I could. With a maximum of three games, physically you can push yourself, but in my head I had to stay sharp and make the precise shots.”
Elsewhere on day three, Alan Clyne got the better of No.7 seed Declan James in a terrific three game tussle, and the top two seeds, Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Tarek Momen, safely made it through to the last eight, defeating France’s Mathieu Castagnet and Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, respectively.
England’s World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry is through to the quarter finals after defeating compatriot Emily Whitlock at the Bay Club in San Francisco.
Perry, who won this event in both 2017 and 2018, needed just 18 minutes to win her second round clash, as she fought back to beat her fellow Englishwoman in both games.
Perry will face Raneem El Welily in a repeat of last year’s final. The World No.1 had to come from a game down to defeat United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford Clyne.
There were no seeding upsets in the women’s matches, with the other quarter-finals being Joelle King v Joshna Chinappa, Amanda Sobhy v Nour El Tayeb and Camille Serme v Tesni Evans.
The action moves to the spectacular glass court in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza for the quarter finals and onwards, with play there beginning tomorrow.
Day TWO : Salazar Twins Advance
Both Arturo and Cesar Salazar are through to the second round of the Oracle NetSuite Open after defeating Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi and Faraz Khan at the Bay Club in San Francisco.
Arturo Salazar, the older of the pair by just two minutes, faced off against Qatar’s Tamimi for only the third time on and the Mexican went a game down to the World No.43 before taking the next three games.
Meanwhile, younger brother Cesar also needed to come back from a game down, as he got the better of American wildcard Khan and will now play No.2 seed Tarek Momen on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Scotland’s Alan Clyne got the better of England’s George Parker, while Mostafa Asal beat Mohamed ElSherbini in an all-Egyptian clash.
In the women’s draw, Hollie Naughton, Milou van der Heijden, Salma Hany and Nele Gilis all won their first round clashes at the Bay Club to move into the last 16.
Day ONE : Home interest boosted on opening day
American duo Olivia Fiechter and Olivia Blatchford Clyne are through to the second round of the Oracle NetSuite Open after victories in San Francisco.
World No.39 Fiechter saw off Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in the first round, overcoming her higher-ranked opponent in straight games on the traditional court at the Bay Club.
Over at the SquashZone venue, Blatchford Clyne got the better of Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in straight games to book her place in the second round. The American No.2 will now face the World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the last 16, while Fiechter meets New Zealand’s Joelle King.
Elsewhere on the opening day England’s Emily Whitlock and Frenchwoman Melissa Alves made it through to the last 16, Alves upsetting 9/16 seed Millie Tomlinson while Whitlock edged past Canada’s Danielle Letourneau.
In the men’s draw, there was a quartet of different nationalities that made it through. Germany’s Raphael Kandra and France’s Mathieu Castagnet are the two Europeans through to the second round, and both face tough second rounds – Kandra up against compatriot Simon Rosner while Castagnet meets top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy.
New Zealander Campbell Grayson and Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi also booked their places in the last 16, beating 9/16 seeds Cameron Pilley and Tom Richards.
Action continues at various SF clubs for the next two days until the quarterfinals – still on a bast-of-three format move to the Glass Court on Friday and Saturday.
Going for Gold in San Fran
The first PSA Gold event of the season starts at clubs across San Francisco before moving to the glass court by the waterfront. Mohamed ElShorbagy and Tarek Momen are seeded to meet in an all-Egyptian final, while – after the withdrawal through injury of Nour El Sherbini – Raneem El Welily is seeded to meet Camille Serme in the women’s final.