PSA Day Three Roundup

Egypt’s Abbas downs India’s Chinappa to reach last 16 of Black Ball Open

Egypt’s World No.27 Nada Abbas caused an upset in the second round of the 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open after she took out India’s World No.12 Joshna Chinappa at the PSA Platinum event taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The 19-year-old from Giza produced a skilful performance to take out the Indian No.1 as she played without fear to reach the last 16 at a PSA Platinum event for the first time since the 2017 British Open.

Abbas showcased her skill and athleticism, with a number of impressive dives, as she took a two-game lead, before Chinappa mounted her comeback in the third.

The Indian looked to be getting a foothold back in the match as she took a narrow lead at 4-3 in the fourth, but three unforced errors proved costly to give confidence to Abbas who was able to close out 11-4, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 in 49 minutes.

“I’m very happy to win this match,” said Abbas afterwards. “Joshna is a very experienced player, I had to be focused from the beginning until the end because I knew that if I gave her a chance she would get back into the match and grow in confidence.

“I’ve been playing really well this season, but there are some mistakes I always do in these types of matches, so I always try to learn from those mistakes. When she won the third game, I just told myself to focus on the other game and not let her win, play point by point and not give her any cheap points.”

Abbas will face compatriot and World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the next round after she axed Canada’s Hollie Naughton in four games.

It was their first meeting on the PSA World Tour and Gohar wasted no time in establishing her hard-hitting style of play on the encounter, storming to an 11-7 victory in the opening game.

World No.29 Naughton grew into the match in the second, with Gohar only just doubling her lead by a two-point cushion, but she dominated the third against a war-weary looking Gohar, who gave up on the game mid-way through as the Canadian took it 11-6. However, Naughton wasn’t quite able to hit her targets in the early part of the fourth as Gohar got back on top to take a 7-0 lead.

That lead proved crucial as the Egyptian really struggled with her movement in the latter stages following a collision at 6-0, and she walked gingerly off court after finally dispatching her opponent 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 in 45 minutes.

“It’s completely different this year, we’re playing a World Series [Platinum] and it’s straight after another World Series [Platinum] in Chicago, so to deal with it and recover is a little bit tough,” said Gohar.

Meanwhile, USA No.2 Olivia Blatchford Clyne was forced to come from two games down against compatriot Sabrina Sobhy to book her place in the last 16 where she will face Sabrina’s older sister, Amanda.

Sabrina, who after recently moving to Cairo now trains at the Black Ball Sporting Club, was on fire in the opening two games to take the lead with the higher seeded Blatchford Clyne struggling to break the rhythm of the World No.32.

The World No.16 regrouped well in the third to rally back though and showed her resilience to avoid an upset with a monumental 10-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 comeback.

“I’ve watched Sabrina grow up, literally since she was in diapers, and there’s no doubt that she is an immense talent,” said Blatchford Clyne afterwards.

“I knew that if I could weather the storm a little bit I’d have a chance and I thought if she is going to win this, she’s going to have to pry it from my cold dead body and I will die getting every ball back. Sometimes that’s all you need and to refuse to give in.”

Blatchford Clyne will go up against USA No.1 Amanda tomorrow after the World No.8 powered her way past Egypt’s Mickawy by an 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 margin in 23 minutes.

The last 16 will also see a re-match between France’s World No.3 Camille Serme and Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy following their thrilling five-game battle at last week’s Windy City Open in Chicago.

Serme axed French teammate Melissa Alves in straight-games to advance, while El Hammamy downed her compatriot, Mayar Hany, by an 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 margin.

“It’s the first time we have played each other on the PSA Tour, which is quite lucky,” said Serme afterwards. “But still coming out all the way here and playing each other it’s not nice, but it’s our job and I gave everything to win 3-0 today.”

The other last 16 clash in the bottom half of the draw will see England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry take on Belgium’s World No.18 Nele Gilis for a place in the quarter finals in Cairo.

Perry was at her accurate best to take down fellow Englishwoman Emily Whitlock in 26 minutes, while Gilis enjoyed a straight-games victory over Australia’s former World No.1 Rachael Grinham to book her place in the third round.

“Last time I played Emily it was best of three,” said Perry afterwards. “I had a bit of a sluggish start and she was firing on all cylinders, so I tried to take that attitude into today and come out almost as if it was a best of three and back myself physically and make sure that I’m going from the start.

“I’ve got to two finals in the last couple of months, they were at Bronze level, so really I would like to push on and I reached the semi-finals last week in Chicago. I want to win a title before the end of the season.”

Yathreb Adel has been forced to withdraw from her match against World No.1 Raneem El Welily tomorrow due to an ankle injury, handing a walkover to El Welily.