Nouran Gohar
Nouran Gohar

Day Two Afternoon Roundup

All the top seeds in action in the afternoon session of day two took victories, as the British Open continued in Birmingham.

World No.1 Nouran Gohar was in action in the first batch of matches, taking to the court at midday. She got the better of Frenchwoman Melissa Alves in straight games, to book her place in the third round.

“It was a good match, Melissa (Alves) is a great player and it wasn’t an easy first round match for me. I like these kind of matches to get me going in the tournament and now I’m looking forward to my next match,” Gohar said.

“It’s a good feeling to win in three – you’re fresh for tomorrow’s match, especially when you don’t get a rest day because everything is back-to-back. I’m happy with my performance, it wasn’t easy, but it’s good to be breathing high and running a bit. I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to getting back out there. 

“You tend to practice on traditional courts so there’s not much of a difference and it feels like a practice match! But it’s good sometimes as you can get sick playing on the glass all the time! It’s a different atmosphere and vibe but I’m so happy to be on the glass tomorrow.”

New Zealand’s Joelle King and Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby also joined the World No.1 in the third round. They got the better of wildcard Katie Malliff and Egypt’s Yathreb Adel, respectively, to make the last 16 of the competition.

Nada Abbas and Salma Hany also added to the Egyptian contingent through to the third round, with Belgium’s Nele Gilis, American Olivia Fiechter, and Hong Kong’s Tomato Ho also moving through.

Three-time British Open champion Mohamed ElShorbagy is appearing at the tournament for the first time representing England, and he started his 2023 campaign in Birmingham with a confident 3-0 victory over Leonel Cardenas.

“I’m very happy to win. It’s been a very tricky two or three weeks for me, especially during Canary Wharf. The match today was about getting confidence, excited and motivated to be playing well. I’m looking forward to the next few days – it’s a big next few days for me with Diego (Elias). We’re both battling for World No.1 – everyone’s battling for the British Open title – but there’s an extra bit of pressure for us. It’s amazing to be competing that with him and at this stage of my career. I really hope we both have an amazing event,” ElShorbagy said.

“World No.1 for over four years. If you get it back again it’s more of a bonus rather than a goal. Every time I got to World No.1 I knew I was going to get there, whereas this time it’s a goal because I’m not 27/28, where before I knew how to put the work in in training and work out my opponents I knew I was going to get there. This time I know I’m playing against guys who are at their peak: Diego and Asal. This time is exciting and this time it’s a goal to be No.1 and playing for England makes this more motivating because I would like to do it for England. I’ve done it so long for Egypt, so this time I want to do it for England with the support I get from here. 

“It gives me plenty of confidence. Not just with the way I was playing squash today, but the way I was moving – that was the most important thing for me today to make sure everything was on the right track. My team have done an amazing job to get me here today and I’m very lucky to be competing at this event. I’m going to give it my best this week – I’m not just doing it for myself but for my team who have worked hard to put me into a situation as at the start of this season I was World No.5 and not really winning anything last season to winning five already this season and I’m competing for World No.1 So hopefully I can do it for them as much as doing it for myself. If it doesn’t happen this week then maybe soon.”

The Egyptian trio of Ali Farag, Tarek Momen and Mazen Hesham also went through to the third round as part of the top eight seeds, with the latter having to go the distance to down American Timothy Brownell. Meanwhile, Farag and Momen got the better of Karim El Hammamy and Cesar Salazar, respectively.

The other match to go to five in the afternoon session saw Spaniard Iker Pajares Bernabeu knock out World No.20 Patrick Rooney in the deciding game. The Spanish No.1 was featuring for the first time in six weeks, and was able to win the fifth 11-5 to set up a clash with Momen on Tuesday afternoon.

“Very happy! Over the moon to have made it to the last 16 of the British Open. Obviously, after the World Champs, it is one of the biggest tournaments on Tour, it is something very big for me!” Pajares said.

“I couldn’t play the tournaments in the last month because I couldn’t get in [the draws] so I have been training hard with my coaches in Barcelona. I am so happy to see that all the work I have been doing in the last two months has paid off today.

“Tomorrow, I am playing Tarek Momen. I have never played Tarek being fresh, I always play him after brutal matches. I have 24 hours to recover now, I am on the glass court so we will see!”

India’s Saurav Ghosal also beat English opposition, as he downed Adrian Waller in a tough four-game battle. Baptiste Masotti and Mohamed ElSherbini were the other two men to advance to the last 16 from the afternoon session in the men’s draw.

Men’s Results: Afternoon Session Day Two

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 11-2 (25m)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 (25m)
Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) bt Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2 (46m)
[7] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-2: 11-5, 11-13, 11-13, 11-4, 11-5 (68m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 2-11, 11-5, 11-2 (36m)
[4] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (30m)
Iker Pajares (ESP) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-2: 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 (76m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5 (70m)

Women’s Results: Afternoon Session Day Two

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Melissa Alves (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-3 rtd (11m)
[6] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (22m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7 (63m)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 9-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-2 (36m)
[4] Joelle King (NZL) bt [WC] Katie Malliff (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-5 (30m)
Tomato Ho (HKG) bt Jasmine Hutton (ENG) 3-1: 6-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-3 (37m)
Salma Hany (EGY) bt Aifa Azman (MAS) 3-1: 11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 11-4 (49m)