CHINA OPEN 2019           SquashSite Page


[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [1] Ali Farag          11-3, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8 (60m)
[3] Nour El Tayeb 3-2 [1] Raneem El Welily 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 (70m)

Egypts World No.5 Nour El Tayeb and World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy lifted the first titles of the new season after defeating compatriots and World No.1s Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag to claimChina Squash Open.

El Tayeb stunned defending champion El Welily in a thrilling five-game battle to take the first silverware of the new PSA World Tour season and her first China title, as she displayed a formidable performance on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai.

The last time El Tayeb got the better of El Welily was at the 2018-19 PSA World Championships in Chicago, when she claimed a shock victory over the then-reigning World Champion.

It didnt seem like it was ending, I cant believe Im the winner, said El Tayeb afterwards. Throughout the whole match I was reminding myself that its good to be in the final, even though in the fourth game I was leading and I started to see the finish line a bit. I had to remind myself that I was playing Raneem and that the finish line might not happen.

When she won the fourth I was a bit defeated and then she started the fifth very well but Ali  told me to just dig in. Last match I played last season was against her and I saw where my level was, and I wanted this match to be another indicator of where my level was.

I cant believe I won, it feels a bit like a dream because throughout the match, I was tired and I had to keep reminding myself of one more rally at a time. Its a dream start to the season and hopefully I can keep going."

Meanwhile, ElShorbagy moved a step closer to claiming his World No.1 spot back after defeating current incumbent Ali Farag to win the men's China Open title.

ElShorbagy, the 2016 champion, started on fire as he raced into a 7-0 lead, before comfortably putting himself in the driving seat of the match with an 11-3 win in the first. He kept up the relentless pressure to double his lead, despite a much improved performance from Farag in the second.

Farag refused to go down without a fight, however, as he fought back in the third. But it was not enough to disrupt ElShorbagy's game plan as he took the fourth to win his second China Open title.

Its the kind of match I want to be in this season, said 28-year-old ElShorbagy afterwards I want to be playing finals, especially with him. I want to beat him this season, I want to get his World No.1 spot and Im going to be hard to stop this season. I told him after the match that I hope that if Im going to get it then hes not going to give it to me easy, because I like the challenge and I didnt give it to him easy.

This season Im going to get back at him, every session in the summer break I was thinking about how I could beat him and get the No.1 back. What he did last season was unbelievable, he lost only in the quarters last year, Ive never faced a guy as consistent as him and he is so tough to play.

Im up for the challenge and I look forward to playing against him more and Im sure he will come back strong next time.


[1] Raneem El Welily 3-0 Hania El Hammamy          11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (37m)
[3] Nour El Tayeb  3-0   [2] Nouran Gohar             11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (28m)

[1] Ali Farag 3-0 [3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)                11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (34m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [4] Marwan ElShorbagy  8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (64m)

Nour El Tayeb

Today was one of my best performances. Ive been very focused during the off season and this match just proves that I am on the right track and that Im playing well.

My main tactic was to start well. Usually with her, she catches me by surprise all of the time with her hard hitting, so I think the key for me was to start as early as possible and warming up in the room clearly works for me!

Im very excited to be in the final of my first tournament. It gives me a lot of confidence and obviously it doesnt get any better than playing the World No.1, defending champion and the best player of the last 12 months. Im very excited for it.

Raneem El Welily                 Raneem chats to SquashTV

Im very pleased to be through to the final here in China, it's such a special place for me now, Ive got good results almost every time here now, so Im really pleased.

We train together a lot together back home, as we train with the same coach Haitham Effat, so we see each others games a lot. She is definitely improving every day and she is a solid contender to soon be in the top ten and a top player for sure.

My squash been a bit up and down mentally and playing in patches throughout the entire week. Id like to see myself more consistent and more solid.

"Nour and Nouran are both such strong players and it will definitely be an interesting match coming up between them. Whoever I play, it doesnt matter, as long as we have a good and fair match tomorrow.

Ali Farag               Ali chats to SquashTV

It was a good performance and Im very happy. It is the best I have played all week. I couldnt afford to let Saurav get in front of me and I think I did that very well today. All thanks to PSA Physio, Shonagh I was really sore last night and she spent a lot of time massaging me and then again today and I did a lot of recovery work.

We havent done it every since repeat the U.S. Open victory with wife Nour El Tayeb, even though its not a platinum event, it is still quite a prestigious one and I would love for the two of us to grab the first titles of the season. We know the challenge that lies ahead of us though in Raneem El Welily and Mohamed ElShorbagy, so we will have to be at our very best.

Mohamed Elshorbagy    Mohamed chats to SquashTV

Its very tough, physically and emotionally, to play against my brother. We know each other very well. Mentally its so hard when you know each other, whoever came out of this match was definitely going to feel it the day after. Its something we are used to now on tour, but this is the first summer we havent tried together.

It was a high quality match and played in good spirit as well. Very clean match between us and Im really glad that I pulled through especially at such a crucial time. Its hot and humid, so to get that confidence in yourself is important. Im the type of player who needs to get those tough matches at the start of the season and get out of them as well to get that confidence physically. Winning today will give me a huge confidence in my physicality for the rest of the season.

Im really happy for him to be playing like that. Hes been out and had a hard time last season. Hes definitely up there and being No.11 in the world is going to be so hard for all of us that have to play him in the earlier rounds.

Im taking it each match at a time. Tomorrow is where I want to be and winning tournaments. To play first tournament of the season and to win it would be a huge confidence boost and send a message to the rest of my opponents. Im here to get back to World No.1, Im not here to do the same results I did last season because it wasnt good enough and I fell to No.2.

Im back and want to be playing in finals and winning tournaments and tomorrow is another step towards doing that.


[1] Ali Farag 3-2 [8] Tom Richards (Eng) 14-12, 6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 (66m)
[3] Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 3-1 [9/16] Mazen Hesham 12-10, 11-9, 12-14, 11-7 (67m)
[4] Marwan Elshorbagy 3-0 [5] Omar Mosaad          11-5, 13-11, 15-13 (55m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-1 [9/16] Leo Au (Hkg) 3-11, 11-8, 15-13, 11-8 (68m)

[1] Raneem El Welily 3-0 [8] Salma Hany       11-5, 11-9, 11-4 (25m)
[9/16] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 [4] Joelle King (NZL) 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (50m)
[3] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 [9/16] Nadine Shahin     11-2, 11-1, 11-5 (15m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-2 [9/16] Yathreb Adel   11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6 (54m)

Ali Farag

I felt like he was controlling most of the match. He was playing at his own pace and making all the angles, so full credit to hi. Im extremely proud of myself to get through such a tough match.

This traditional court is quite different, the straight lines on the backhand side arent quite as accurate and I like to play on that side and take advantage of it, but the fact that this wasnt there meant that I had to find another way and this wasnt easy against Tom.

Im expecting a lot of skilful shots from Saurav, he likes to move opponents deep into the corners and varying the pace. With his height, he is fast and picks up a lot of balls, but Im glad to hopefully be on the glass.

Nouran Gohar

It was morea mental performance today. I felt like I was controlling the game well in the first two. But shes very experienced and we have had tough battles since we were juniors, its never easy when you are playing a good friend and you have had a rivalry since juniors.

It was very tricky and Im pleased to get the win at the end. Shes hard to play against, it can seem like shes tired but then she hits really good shots and she reads the game really well, so its tough to play an opponent like that.

I just had to focus on my own game plan and just keep going, even if it wasnt going my way for two games I just really stuck in there.

It will be tough tomorrow, me and Nour always have really tough battles, I think the last one was the World Tour Finals, but we are both tough fighters on court, so Im sure tomorrow will be another tough battle.

Nour El Tayeb       Nour chats to SquashTV

I think I played well. Nadine is such a tough opponent, she just beat Alison Waters yesterday and I knew it would be hard, so I had to be focused from the beginning and I think I found my marks pretty well.

She has beaten Alison more than once, so Im aware of Nadines threats and we train together a lot back home so I know how to play her, obviously she does too but I think I played well today.

Weve all trained together a million times before, so its always hard to play fellow Egyptians. But its a PSA World Tour Gold, so I dont care whether I play an Egyptian or someone from any country. I want to win and hopefully I can keep going.

Raneem El Welily

Im definitely happy to come out of today with a 3-0 win. Salma is not an easy play to face at all. Shes very skilful with the racket and shes proven over the past few years that she is a very strong contender to be top 10 very soon. I havent played her in ages on the Tour at least. We train together sometimes, but on the PSA Tour maybe 2013 or even before.

Its good to have played this tournament against two different faces and Im looking forward to playing tomorrows match.

Weve been prepared for the possibility of a venue change since the start of the week, so when we woke up today and saw the amount of rain out of the window we could tell what was going to happen.

Hania is a very strong player and Im looking forward to playing against her. We train with the same coach Haitham Effat so, Im sure he will be very pleased to have two players in the semis.

Hania El Hammamy

Joelle had to stop at 9/8 in the third, injury break, 15m...

Im out of words. Im really happy with my performance today. I played really well and it was a tough match, I knew it was going to be tough and its a very physical game between me and Joelle, so Im glad to get through it.

The more I do big wins, the more I gain confidence and I go the next match hoping I can win. It feels outrageous [to be in my first Gold semi-final], Im really happy and I just want to win the semi-final as well. Im looking forward to possibly playing the final I dont see why I cant do it.

Its a great experience, I have only seen the photos of the glass court so far. Its an unbelievable venue and Im looking forward to the chance to play there.

Mohamed Elshorbagy   Mohamed chats to SquashTV

I felt like I played better than yesterday. I thought Leo Au played so well today, I think thats one of the best performances he has played against me.

Im pleased with how I kept pushing and that I managed to beat him today and really proud of that performance. Sometimes at the start of the season you want some confidence in your physicality and tough matches like these help to prove that you have trained hard and give you confidence.

After that tough match yesterday and then we had to play on different courts today because of the rain. Top players need to adapt to these kind of situations and you cant make excuses and I always tell myself that you are lucky, that even if they arent the best solutions, our sport has solutions for if it rains because some sports you cant play with rain at all.

Even after that tough third game on the tie-break, I thought I had him, but he kept pushing and pushing. He had a brutal match, the same as me, last night and Im really proud I won today. I felt much better on court today and feeling better every day.

Every summer my brother and I always train together, but this summer we didnt. He actually trained in Egypt, while I was in England, so we havent really seen each other at all in a few months. We always have tough battles and mentally, it is hard to deal with for both of us. I watched him a little bit today and he is definitely back stronger and squash needs different characters in the sport and he definitely brings something different to our sport.

Marwan ElShorbagy    Marwan chats to SquashTV

Mosaad saved 2 match balls and had a game ball as well in that third...

Im very pleased with yesterdays and todays win. Yesterday was a tough match against Iker, who has been playing very well and beating him on a bouncy court is a good result I think. Today, playing Mosaad, he played very well today and we both played well it was tough, but Im glad I won that second and third game because it could have gone either way. Im happy with my squash so far this week and hopefully tomorrow will be a bit different moving to the glass court and playing at that incredible venue.

There is no introduction about my brother and if he wins today, it wont be the first time we have played. We are used to playing against each other now, Ive entered this tournament to play those kind of matches, I want to play those kind of matches against the best of the world.

Ive had a good summer, Ive trained hard and I feel really ready for the new season. Im very hungry to be back to my best again. Recovery is important now and then hopefully tomorrow will be another good day.

Round 2

[1] Ali Farag 3-1 Youssef Soliman     11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4 (41m)
[8] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0 Mostafa Asal  11-9, 111-3, 11-8 (49m)
Mazen Hesham 3-1 [7] Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5 (58m)
[5] Omar Mosaad 3-0 Abdulla Al Tamimi (Qat) 11-5, 11-3, 11-8 (40m)
[4] Marwan ElShorbagy 3-1 Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)  11-4, 12-14, 11-9, 11-4 (60m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-0 Lucas Serme (FRA) 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-2 (66m)

[1] Raneem El Welily 3-0 Milou van der Heijden (NED) 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)
[8] Salma Hany 3-2 Nada Abbas                11-8, 11-7, 11-7
Hania El Hammamy 3-2 [5] Annie Au (HKG)   11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4 62m
[4] Joelle King (NZL) 3-2 Zeina Mickawy   11-5, 9-11, 12-14, 11-9, 12-10 (56m)
[3] Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Rachael Grinham (AUS)               11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (19m)
Nadine Shahin 3-1 [6] Alison Waters (ENG)  4-11, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11 (37m)
Yathreb Adel 3-2 [7] Victoria Lust (ENG)  10-12, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7 (44m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 Danielle Letourneau (CAN)  11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (22m)

Nouran Gohar

Its the first tournament of the year so that makes it extra special as well because you want to prove yourself and see how the summer training has paid off.

Im always looking forward to this tournament. You dont get a lot of chances to stay in such a beautiful hotel and such a prestigious one. The venue is one of the best in the world and I have great memories here beating Nicol David for the first time.

Ive been in the final three times so I hope I can break a little bit. Its just one match at a time, Im in the quarter finals which Im really happy about and Im just looking forward to the next match and we will see what happens next.

Raneem El Welily

Im definitely happy to start the tournament with a 3-0 win against Milou.

Im not sure if weve played each other before or not, she is one of those players who you have either played just once or not at all. Shes skilled with the racket and has such great technique and you could see she has got different plans and tactics on court. She definitely worked me on court and Im hoping that I can continue that form on here tomorrow.

The venue is very beautiful. Ive been here a couple of times and I think by far this is the best court that we have had here. This year past by really quickly for me and before you know it youre in China again to start the season.

Ive had good memories here and bad ones, Im just going with the flow and seeing what happens but hopefully it will be a good memory.

The Gazelle Hania El Hammamy           Little article about Hania...

Im happy with this win. I played Annie once last season and I lost in three in 20 minutes, so I came here today and I wanted to do my best and perform better than last time. I definitely had a game plan compared to last time and Im happy I managed to stick to that.

I wanted to keep it fast, I didnt want to sleep and keep going with her slow pace. Obviously I lost a bit of concentration and my game plan after being 2-0 up, so Im happy I managed to get back to it in the fifth.

Im starting the season with confidence. Finishing last season at my highest ranking has just given me more confidence and Im hungry for more.

Ali Farag

Im very happy. First match of the season is never easy, especially when it comes against someone like Youssef. We know each others games pretty well, we grew up in the same club and now I play for Wadi Degla, but we still play together a lot. Im very happy to get away with a 3-1 win here.

Our sport is beautiful, we get to put it anywhere in the world and to put it on top the Shanghai Bund is amazing. Im really happy that fingers crossed the rain stays out of the area and we can keep playing on this venue.

Im expecting a lot of firey shots from Tom Richards. I wouldnt say he has a traditional English game, he likes to go for it and Ill try to keep my discipline and not get too erratic with him and we will see how it goes.

Mohamed Elshorbagy

Lucas played so well today. We used to train together back in Bristol and have played together for so many years. Im really happy for him to be raising his level that way, he has so much potential and Im glad that hes living up to that now. If he keeps playing that way this season then you can expect so many good things from him.

For me, that was the first match of the season and its always a tricky one. I feel like I train hard and Im ready for the season, but I just went to the court and played with emotion and excited and after I lost that second game, I thought I really need to concentrate with my mind more and stick to my plan.

We had a tough match at the beginning of the third game and from that moment I pulled through and had control of the match after, but all credit to him. I had to dig in deep to win this match and Im very happy to live another day here.

Amazing Mazen Hesham

Today was really good. He was pushing me really hard and I have never seen him play this well against me before. It was very tough, I just kept strong mentally and I think that made the difference. I tried to stay strong in the critical points. The court conditions suit him more than me and I think he has improved so much and it was tiring playing him today.

Today I pushed a lot harder than I do in training. I just go day by day and hopefully I have done enough work to push this hard and this week will show with how my body deals with it.

Round 1

[9/16] Youssef Soliman 3-2 Ivan Yuen (MAS) 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 (76m)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal 3-0 [WC] Zhou Zhitao (CHN)  11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (23m)
[9/16] Mazen Hesham 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 13-11 (56m)
[9/16] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-1 Mohamed ElSherbini 8-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-9 (50m)
[9/16] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1 Karim Ali Fathi  12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 11-2 (51m)

[9/16] Zeina Mickawy 3-0 Hollie Naughton (CAN) 12-10, 14-12, 11-6 (30m)
[9/16] Hania El Hammamy 3-0 Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) 11-2, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
[9/16] Nada Abbas 3-0 Donna Lobban (AUS) 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 (28m)
[9/16] Nadine Shahin 3-0 Haley Mendez (USA) 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (23m)
[9/16] Yathreb Adel 3-0 Julianne Courtice (ENG) 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (30m)

They said....

Yathreb Adel

Julianne has been playing really well. We saw her play last season and her results and I knew that I had to focus from the start and try to push her into the back and find my shots. Im glad it worked.

I was thinking I have to push and win this game because its either going to be 2-0 or 1-1 and then its tight again. You never know whats going to happen next, but I think after the second game I felt more confident and I sort of knew what was going to happen. I was trying to eliminate my errors and just keep going.

I good a pre-season and always when you have some time off and come back to tournaments youre like how did I used to warm up as if you forget everything, but then you start to get into it and it feels good to be playing again. Hopefully it will be another good season for me.

Raging Bull Mostafa Asal :

I was really pleased with my performance today. Playing the wildcard is never easy, especially at his home club. Its difficult to manage the first game, I just played my own game and that worked well today. He is playing well and Im looking forward to my next match.

Tom Richards is a good player and I hope we have a good match. Our head-to-head is 1-1 and we will see what tomorrow brings.

To balance a junior and professional career is tough, but Im happy to finish my junior career with a double World Junior Championship. This tournament is amazing and I hope it continues for me.

Amazing Mazen Hesham :

I started really well, which is good. He started to play better as well, in the third, as he got used to the court and then it became a bit scrappy. Im really glad that I held my nerve and started to get back to the tie-break to win the game.

I dont have the thinking in my mind about if I am ready or not for the new season. You never know, he could have been ready but he came here and lost the first match, so you never really know. It is the first tournament, after the first few tournaments then you know if you are playing well. Im just taking it match by match, trying to be more happy and enjoy myself.

Adrian Waller and I played last season at the World Championships and I think I played him a few times in the summer. I like him, he is a nice guy off court and hopefully it is a good match and I manage to get the win.

What Rachael Grinham had to say about her match tomorrow against Nour

"Its always fun playing Nour El Tayeb. She grew up around me in Egypt, when I lived there for eight years and I played at her club. Ive known Nour since she was about nine-years-old and watching her play squash.

Were good friends, shes a fun player and is a different player which is nice. She varies it a lot and mixes it up, which I admire about her game and Im looking forward to having another match.

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