The opening day of action saw five of the eight fixtures go the way of the lower-ranked player, with Indian No.1 Joshna Chinappa proving to be the highest-profile casualty as she fell to World No.28 Nada Abbas as the women’s event began at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt.
Abbas, who was born in Cairo, has showcased some of her best ever form at this venue in the past and reached her first ever major PSA quarter final at the Platinum tier CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open back in 2020. The 21-year-old was on top throughout against World No.12 Chinappa, and she rattled off an 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 victory to seal her place in the last 16.
“I’m really happy to get this win today, even if it took a year and a half [after her last win] on this court,” Abbas said.
“Better late than never. I’ve had a tough year this year and at the end of last year, so to be honest in the last few months I’ve just been focused on enjoying my game, trying to play my best and enjoy what I’m doing. If I’m not enjoying what I’m doing, then it’s useless.
“For now, I’m enjoying my squash, or trying to enjoy it and trying to play my best and not focus on the results or rankings.”
Abbas will play World No.4 Hania El Hammamy – who won the Platinum Black Ball Open in this venue back in 2020 – in the next round. She will be joined there by fellow Egyptian Mariam Metwally, the World No.42, who upset World No.15 Nadine Shahin in five games.
It was a quick-fire five-game battle – lasting just 42 minutes – and Metwally recovered from a slow start to win it 6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4. The 25-year-old will play No.6 seed Salma Hany next for a place in the semi finals.
“I’ve played Nadine many times, we often practice together, so I know the game plan and I was just trying to stick to it as much as I could, and it worked,” Metwally said afterwards.
“The plan was to stay calm as much as I could and play deep shots, and whenever I have the chance to attack I went for it, and that’s what I did today.”
Canada’s Danielle Letourneau was the other top 20 player to see her tournament come to a premature end as she fell to Hana Ramadan. World No.33 Ramadan will take on Nour El Tayeb in the next round. El Tayeb, who has now slipped to No.9 in the PSA Women’s World Rankings, and will make her highly-anticipated return to action tomorrow after 14 months on the sidelines due to the birth of her daughter in July of this year.
“My nerves were all over the place, especially when I was up 2-0,” said Ramadan. For me the best tactic is to stay calm and remember my game plan or go to my plan B. It cost me one game, but fortunately not two more. I just need to stay calm and remember how to keep the pressure on and keep the momentum going.”
Egypt’s World No.27 Farida Mohamed kicked off the day’s upsets with a 3-1 win over World No.21 Tinne Gilis in the opening match of the tournament. The 19-year-old will line up against New Zealand’s Joel King in the second round and she will look to follow up her win over the Kiwi at the same stage of the Platinum Black Ball Open back in March, 2020.
“It was very tough playing Tinne to be honest, but I’m very positive with the way I played today,” Mohamed said. “I managed to do 75 percent of the plan I’d planned today. I wasn’t very angry today, I was trying to keep my focus and I’m happy with this.”