Ashour Heads Trio of Egyptians in British Open Semi-Final Lineup
There will be three Egyptian men in the semi-final stage of the prestigious Allam British Open, PSA World Series tournament, for the first time in the modern era after 2013 champion Ramy Ashour led World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad into the last four in Hull.
Ashour downed compatriot Ali Farag in a scintillating 56-minute encounter that saw both players showcase some exquisite squash with Ashour in particular hitting a spectacular corkscrew shot that died in the forehand back corner. The 28-year-old closed out the victory by an 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 scoreline to move in to the last four where he will face World Champion Gregory Gaultier.
“I’m really happy with my performance especially coming back from injury, it means a lot to me and everyone who believed in me,” he said.
“It’s just great to be in the semi-finals but I’m not expecting anything and I won’t get ahead of myself. I wasn’t playing in patches today which is a great sign. I just want to push myself as best I can until my body or my mind breaks down.
“He’s [Farag] a very respectful character and I think he is now the ‘over-dog’ rather than the ‘under-dog’. His movement is unbelievable and he’s definitely a top-10 quality player.”
Rodriguez put in a valiant display but, despite some excellent retrieval skills and a trademark dive wowing an enraptured crowd, Elshorbagy’s class shone through as the man from Alexandria powered to an 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 victory.
“Trying to defend this title is going to mean so much to me and my team,” said Elshorbagy.
“Winning it the first time is always the toughest but, now I have won, I’m relaxed. You deal with each match differently. Today was very tough because it was very hot today and they are the perfect conditions for him and the worst conditions for me.
“I had to deal with it and I was glad I was able to slow down the pace and keep it as tight as I can. He played really well but this is the British Open and I am playing my best squash here.”
Elshorbagy will face compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in the next round after he dispatched the younger Elshorbagy, Marwan, in four games, while World Champion Gregory Gaultier beat Germany’s Simon Rösner to set up a semi-final showdown with Ashour.
Serme played at a high tempo throughout, with a plethora of attacking volleys paying dividends as Massaro struggled to find any fluency in her game and the 26-year-old took the match 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 to complete a stunning victory that dashed any hopes of home success after Nick Matthew and James Willstrop bowed out in the previous round.
“I felt good on court today, a bit nervous at the beginning, but I got more and more confident with my game,” said Serme.
“Last year I was really focused on what to do and I’m really happy. I wanted to play a lot of volleys and try to attack as soon as I could without rushing it. I was trying to find the balance between rushing and not rushing.”
Nouran Gohar caused the day’s big upset in the Women’s draw with a fine victory over close friend and Egyptian No.1 Raneem El Welily, while five-time winner Nicol David required four games to see off Omneya Abdel Kawy. Nour El Sherbini was the other victor with a straight games dismantling of United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.
Quarter-finals Men’s 2016 Allam British Open
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (47m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10 (88m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (56m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (47m)
Quarter-finals Women’s 2016 Allam British Open
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (39m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 (70m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-4, 11-7, 14-12 (34m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-4, 12-14, 12-10, 11-2 (46m)