The quarter-finals of the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & EquiTrust Life Insurance Company take place today, with a number of mouthwatering matches ahead with all of the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.
England’s Sarah-Jane Perry and Camille Serme of France will begin the action and will be followed by a huge clash between Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner and Egypt’s PSA World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy at 13:00 local time (GMT-6).
Other big matches on the women’s draw include an all-Egyptian battle between World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and U.S. Open winner Nour El Tayeb. New Zealand’s Joelle King will take on United States home hope Amanda Sobhy, while Raneem El Welily continues her target of a fourth successive Windy City Open crown against Alison Waters of England.
In the men’s event, Ali Farag takes on Australia’s Cameron Pilley – who knocked out three-time World Champion Nick Matthew in the last round. There’s an all Egyptian battle between Karim Abdel Gawad and Tarek Momen before ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez and top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy complete the day’s action.
Below you will find all of the matches coming up today. You can follow the action as it unfolds here and see all photos in the daily gallery
Here is the order of play
Match:  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Camille Serme (FRA)
Scores: 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (52m)
England’s World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry booked her place in her first ever Windy City Open semi-final after coming from a game down to beat Camille Serme of France.
The head-to-head record going into this match was against Birmingham-born Perry as Serme led 6-1, however, that did not stop the Englishwoman from executing her game plan to perfection to claim a huge win.
World No.3 Serme – who had not dropped a game at the tournament coming into the match – took the opener, despite Perry holding a game ball, as she punished Perry’s cross courts with her deadly backhand volley drop.
However, Perry made sure to cut out her mistakes in the second, putting her game plan into full effect to nullify Serme’s attacking prowess, with the Frenchwoman hitting five unforced errors.
The error count continued to rise uncharacteristically for Serme in the third while Perry remained disciplined to punish the back corners of the French player and followed it up with immaculate backhand drops to the front of the court to claim a solid 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 victory.
“She is quicker than me so there’s no point trying to play someone at their own game,” said 27-year-old Perry.
“I just tried to focus on my game and a couple of tweaks to try and get her off her favourite positions which is in the middle on the volley – she put so many away.
“She has beaten me a lot more than I have beaten her in the past. She’s a fantastic player and you don’t get as high in the rankings and win the titles she has without being a fighter and a great player. Even though I had a lead in the fourth, I just kept telling myself to keep being positive and not let her back in and I’m just really happy to finish it off.
“I’ve been working a lot with my coach on getting in the right positions on court after I have hit certain shots. I’m really pleased I managed to keep my focus and stay positive especially after the first game when I had a game ball so I’m proud of how I dealt with that.
“I didn’t have the best start to the season at the World Series events, but I seem to have just got better as this event has gone on so hopefully I will be even better tomorrow.”
Match:  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Simon Rösner (GER)
Scores: 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (43m)
Egypt’s World No.4 Marwan ElShorbagy comfortably dispatched Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner in straight-games to reach his third semi-finals in Chicago.
ElShorbagy was in phenomenal form to see off Rösner – with the head-to-head’s record between the players tight at 4-4 before today’s meeting – as his performance was one of complete control to never looked troubled by the German.
The Egyptian – who had a comprehensive victory over England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop in the last round – hit better length and width than his opponent from the start, while Rösner made a number of unforced errors to see last year’s runner-up through by an 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 scoreline.
“Simon has been playing really well,” said the 24-year-old.
“He won in New York and reached the final in Sweden. He has beaten me the last couple of times, so I had to study a few things that I did wrong, but I thought I played really well and felt sharp from start to finish.
“Simon likes to play at a fast pace and I knew I couldn’t match him at that, so I was just trying to play my own game and mix it up and it worked well.”
Match:  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Scores: 10-12, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (77m)
World No.3 Nour El Tayeb staged a huge comeback from 2-0 down to knock out World No.1 and top seed Nour El Sherbini in the all-Egyptian quarter-final battle under the chandeliers of the University Club of Chicago’s Cathedral Hall.
It was the fifth meeting between the two players this season, with the World No.1 taking three of those victories and El Tayeb’s last win coming at the U.S. Open – which she went on to win.
El Sherbini looked down and out in the first game as El Tayeb took control of the match, however, the World No.1 clawed back three game balls to win 12-10 on the tie-break after putting together a string of winners.
The second game saw the same fate as El Tayeb once again took the lead before her compatriot saved game ball to go on and win on the tie-break, once again, doubling her advantage.
Showing the same amount of resilience she displayed in her round two encounter with Welshwoman Tesni Evans – where she saved four matchballs to win 3-2 – the U.S. Open winner turned things around to claim the next three games and book herself a semi-final place where she will now face England’s Perry.
“It was an unbelievable match,” said El Tayeb.
“Nour is an unbelievable player and we have had a lot of battles this season. It’s always hard to play her, she’s a good friend and a good fighter – she’s the World No.1 of course.
“My coach and Ali [Farag] told me to dig in and told me not to worry about the first two games because I was playing well, and it could have gone either way. I had to stick to my plan and I have no idea how I won – I’m going to watch the match and see how I did but I’m very happy.
“2-0 down against Nour El Sherbini is probably the hardest thing in the world on a squash court but I just though I am playing so well and so I just let loose and at 2-0 down I just thought maybe I should let myself relax a bit and then I played better but it was close all the way.”
Match:  Ali Farag (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Scores: 11-9, 11-1, 15-13 (46m)
A masterclass from Egypt’s World No.3 Ali Farag saw him defeat Australia’s Cameron Pilley in straight-games to join his wife, El Tayeb, in the semi-finals of the Windy City Open.
It was a good start from Australian Pilley – who dumped three-time World Champion Nick Matthew out of the previous round – as he raced into a 5-1 lead, however, Farag began to find his momentum to take the first.
In the second, the momentum was fully in favour of the Egyptian as he went through the gears to put in a masterclass performance against Pilley, racing into a 9-0 lead before taking the game 11-1 in just six minutes.
Pilley refused to go down without a fight though as he played some fantastic squash to match Farag in the third, before the Egyptian just managed to edge ahead to take it on a tie-break, 15-13, and will now face Marwan ElShorbagy in the semi-finals.
“I just wanted to start well because it’s not easy to start after watching Nour’s match,” said Farag.
“Cam started off very well going 5-1 up and I had to be on my metal until I found my rhythm and thankfully I won that won because then I found my rhythm and won the second much better and credit to Cam because he came back well in the third.
“He took the game to me, stepped it up and was in front of me for most of it, but I got away with it luckily.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day, both of us winning our matches and hopefully the tournament is not over for us, we have very tough competitors tomorrow. The Tour is very deep now and everyone is playing so well but we hope to keep going forward.”
Match:  Joelle King (NZL) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
Scores: 11-8, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 (44m)
New Zealand’s World No.9 Joelle King put in a strong showing to defeat United States home hope Amanda Sobhy to reach the semi-finals of the Windy City Open for the first time since 2014.
Both players had big wins in the previous round as King came from behind to knock out number four seed Laura Massaro and Sobhy recorded her first victory over a top six opponent in Nouran Gohar since her return from a career-threatening injury.
A good start from King saw her stay in front for the majority of the match to take the first two games as she took her shots early to put Sobhy on the back foot.
In the third game, Sobhy showed great spirit to get herself back into the match, levelling the scores at 8-8 and then saving one match ball to take the third.
However, King proved too much in the fourth as she extended her lead and looked sharp on court to take an 11-8, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 victory in 44 minutes.
“She’s had an amazing tournament already,” said 29-year-old King.
“I knew that she was going to be really hungry to come out here and beat me. We played last week, and I won in three but she’s just getting bigger and better each week so I had to regain my focus and come back and play my game in the fourth.
“Sobhs and I are really good friends and she was one of the first people to message me and be there for me when I got injured so it was nice that I was able to offer the same sort of advice and help guide her through the process.
“It’s really impressive to see her back, it took me a lot longer to get to this level so well done to her.”
Match:  Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Scores: 16-14, 11-8, 11-3 (53m)
Egypt’s World No.7 Tarek Momen edged out a tight 3-0 battle with compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarter-finals of the Windy City Open.
The two players constantly exchanged points in a very tight first two games as Momen just narrowly got the better of his compatriot taking the first two by a 16-14 and 11-8 margin.
Both players played some excellent squash as they constantly battled against each other, but it was Tournament of Champions runner-up Momen who managed to race home in the third as Gawad appeared to start struggling with an injury.
Momen will now face either compatriot and top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy or ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez in his first ever Windy City Open semi-final.
“I’m so glad that I’m having a great week here,” said Momen.
“It is my first semi-final at the Windy City Open. Karim has been my teammate for the past ten years, we spend a lot of time together – he’s a younger brother to me.
“We have had a lot of tough battles in the past and usually they go to five with a lot of them going in his favour and I’m really glad that I came through tonight in three.
“The first two games were extremely tough and were highly contested and it was very disappointing for me to see him suffering with an injury towards the end and I hope it is nothing serious.”
Match:  Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG)
Scores: 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 (32m)
Raneem El Welily notched up her 18th straight win at the Windy City Open as she continued to storm through the draw to keep her title defence alive, seeing off England’s Alison Waters in straight games.
The World Champion has been in emphatic form throughout the event, reaching the semi-final stage without dropping a game and proved too clinical and powerful for Waters, leaving the former World No.3 unable to find a way to counter El Welily’s all-court threats.
The victory means El Welily hasn’t lost in Chicago since 2014, and leaves her just two wins away from a fourth straight title.
“I’m trying to do the best I can and play each rally as best I can and leave it all on court,” said El Welily.
“Obviously Tarek was playing before me so I was warming up during his match and it’s fantastic that he won today. He’s been playing well and it’s a big win for him and I’m happy that we’re both in the semi-finals – it doesn’t happen that often.
“For me, it’s nice to win 18 matches in a row here, hopefully I can make it 19 tomorrow.”
Match:  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Scores: 11-7, 14-12, 11-4 (39m)
Mohamed ElShorbagy marched into the semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Miguel Angel Rodriguez, ending the entertaining Colombian’s run at this year’s Windy City Open courtesy of a controlled and disciplined performance.
Rodriguez delighted the crowd with his wins over Max Lee and Paul Coll to reach the last eight and he continued to produce spell binding squash, interspersing unorthodox winners and diving, breath-taking athleticism to leave the crowd gasping in awe, but it wasn’t enough to take ElShorbagy out of his rhythm as he dealt with everything Rodriguez threw at him.
The World Champion took the opener 11-7 and the showed the kind of fighting spirit and determination that has seen him collect plethora of titles already this season as he battle back from multiple game balls down in the second to break Rodriguez’s spirit and take take a commanding 2-0 lead.
After coming through the second ElShorbagy then grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck in the third, closing down the court as the Colombian’s legs began to tire, pressing home 11-34 to seal the win that takes him into the semi-finals to meet compatriot Tarek Momen.
“I think the match was great quality – he’s back playing well and he’s hungry at the moment,” said ElShorbagy after the match.
“With some of the shots he plays at times he’s just too good. He came back strong in the second game and all credit to him for that, but I’m pleased with how I dug in and how the match went.
“It’s great to have my brother in the semi-finals as well. A lot of the Egyptians have been playing well this season. I think we’re giving something different to the sport with the way we’re all playing at the moment. But I’ll be happier when it’s the older ElShorbagy who wins the tournament.”
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