US SQUASH

ElShorbagy and Serme Storm into to U.S. Open Semifinals

Mohamed ElShorbagy (l) and Camille Serme

Egypt’s defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy and 2016 U.S. Open champion Camille Serme put in convincing quarterfinal displays against New Zealand’s Paul Coll and Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy Thursday, October 10, to reach the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open semifinals at Drexel University’s Daskalaskis Athletic Center in Philadelphia.

The tournament’s two seeds both prevailed in three games in what had been anticipated to be potential five-gamers or upsets.

Serme, world No. 4, found herself up against home favorite Sobhy for the second time this season, having defeated the American in an hour-long Open de France final last month. Thursday night’s encounter proved to be half as quick, as Serme controlled the entirety of the match against the unsettled world No. 8 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 in twenty-four minutes.

“I’m very happy,” said Serme, who reaches her fourth career U.S. Open semifinals. “I know Amanda has been struggling a little bit with her leg, it’s not easy to know that and play your best. I’m happy with the performance I did today. It was a great battle in France, she played really well. She’s very strong physically and I always try and play on that with Amanda to make the rallies really long and make it as long as I can even if she is going to win the point, I try to make it hard for her.”

Serme will face a U.S. Open semifinal debutante in the form of Egypt’s world No. 5 Nouran Gohar, who dispatched 2018 semifinals Tesni Evans in three games. Friday’s semifinal between Gohar and Serme will be a rematch of the 2019 British Open final, which the Egyptian won in three games.

“I haven’t played Nouran since June at the World Tour Finals, so I’m really looking forward to this match,” Serme said. “It will be a tough match and I’m very happy to be back in the semis of this tournament.”

On the men’s side, ElShorbagy and Tarek Momen will clash for the first time in Philadelphia in what will be their twenty-second career match up on the PSA World Tour. ElShorbagy overcame world No. 5 Coll in an encounter that opened up with two entertaining, attritional games. ElShorbagy saved two game ball in the second in what proved to be a pivotal point in the match. The world No. 2 then pulled away in the third to earn his place in the semifinals 12-10, 14-12, 11-5 after sixty minutes.

“Playing Paul is always going to be tough,” said ElShorbagy afterwards. “You have to accept before you go on court with him that you are going to go through a physical war with him before you can try to beat him. I think the first and second game were crucial, he had his leads in the first game, I had my leads in the second—we both lost focus when each one of us was leading, but I think a little bit of experience got me through them. I had to have courage and go for more winners. I didn’t volley as much as I would have liked in the match and I didn’t go as short but I went for it in the tie-breaks and luckily it paid off.”

In the first men’s quarterfinal of the evening, Momen put in a motivated performance against 2018 finalist Simon Rösner. The German controlled the first game 11-8, but Momen controlled the momentum from the second game onwards 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 in fifty-four minutes.

The result sent Momen through to his first U.S. Open semifinal in his seventh tournament appearance.

“Getting to my first semi-final here is special,” Momen said. “I’ve always wanted to play well here but I’ve never reached the semifinal. The closest I came was last year when I was match ball up in the fifth but lost it in the tie-break, so it’s good that I have gone one step further and hopefully I continue to go further into the tournament. I think every pair of players in the top ten must have played each other in a final. I’ve had big finals against Paul Coll, Mohamed ElShorbagy and Simon, so you just have to think about it as a normal match against a top player and be sharp 100% and execute the game plan as well as possible.”

Friday’s semifinals begin at 5:30pm local time. For more coverage visit usopensquash.com.

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