England’s World No.10 Georgina Kennedy has reached the quarter finals of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time after she came through a gripping five-game battle against Belgium’s Nele Gilis at the Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family earlier today.
Kennedy, 24, has enjoyed an extraordinary rise up the PSA World Tour Rankings over the past 12 months, moving up from No.167 in the world in February, 2021 to inside the top 10 for the first time earlier this month.
The Londoner showed no signs of slowing down either as she came back from 2-1 behind to get the better of Gilis in a fascinating contest. High-octane, lengthy rallies were the order of the day as both players entertained spectators at the University Club of Chicago, and it was Kennedy who put together a run of points at the crucial stages to cap an 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 victory in 78 minutes.
“All credit to Nele, it’s so difficult to get a point off of her,” said Kennedy afterwards.
“She forced so many errors from me just because I didn’t know how to win points against her sometimes.
“Last year I was just watching SQUASHTV and hoping to be at these amazing events, and to be in the quarters is just way beyond my expectations.”
Kennedy will take on World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the next round where she will look to claim her first win over the Egyptian at the third attempt. Gohar got the better of India’s Joshna Chinappa, winning 11-0, 11-6, 11-8.
Meanwhile, United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy squeezed past Wales’ Tesni Evans in a captivating five-game contest. Evans had fought back from 2-0 down and then two match balls down to level the scores, but Sobhy tightened up and held her nerve in a nail-biting fifth game to progress to the last eight.
“Before the match I was joking that I would continue the trend of my five-set matches never going over the hour mark,” said Sobhy.
“I saw the finish line when I was up in the third, she came with full force, but at the end of the day I’m through and I’m just happy about that.”
An exciting fixture against New Zealand’s Joelle King awaits. King’s match with England’s Lucy Turmel followed a similar pattern as the Kiwi surrendered a two-game advantage, before coming through to prevail in the decider. King has won eight of her nine matches against Sobhy, including the last four in a row.
In the men’s event, No.8 seed Fares Dessouky and World No.9 Mazen Hesham went toe-to-toe, with the former winning the all-Egyptian battle by a 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8 scoreline.
Up next for Dessouky is a meeting with World No.5 Tarek Momen, who saw off former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in impressive style.
“Mazen is one of the most talented players on tour, I have so much respect for him,” said Dessouky.
“We’ve been competing since we were very young and I’m happy today that I won, I felt he was the better player at times and I got a little lucky at the end I think. I’m just enjoying every match, I’m happy to be back here again competing on this court. I’m trying to find my way again and I’m happy to be in the quarters.”
2020 runner-up Paul Coll has also booked his place in the last eight after a 3-0 victory against England’s Adrian Waller saw him set up a quarter final match with Welshman Joel Makin. Makin saw off former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad to advance and he will look to avenge his defeat to Coll at December’s CIB Squash Open Black Ball, where he forced to retire from the match due to injury despite holding a 2-1 lead.
“I wanted a good, solid performance,” said Coll.
“I’m last on and it’s a long day, I just tried to stay switched on and focused and executed my game plan from the first to the last rally, so I’m very happy.”
The Windy City Open quarter finals begin tomorrow (February 27) and play begins at 14:00 (GMT-6). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Results – Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half): 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 11-1 (33m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 6-11, 11-8 (66m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8 (74m
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (39m)
Draw – Men’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): To Be Played February 27th
 Ali Farag (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Ikar Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
Draw – Men’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played February 28th
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Results – Women’s Third Round (Bottom Half): 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8 (64m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Lucy Turmel (ENG) 3-2: 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 1-11, 11-8 (64m)
Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-2: 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 (78m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 11-0, 11-6, 11-8 (30m)
Draw – Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): To Be Played February 27th
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Salma Hany (EGY) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
Draw – Women’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played February 28th
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Joelle King (NZL)
Georgina Kennedy (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)