King wins in five again to move into final four
Joelle King celebrates win
The Windy City Open quarter finals continued from the University Club of Chicago this evening. USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy and New Zealand’s Joelle King opened proceedings looking to book a place in the semi-finals.
Sobhy secured a perfect start, racing out to an 8-2 lead exposing the movement of King by taking the ball in short with great accuracy. King battled back however to win 10 of the next 12 points to take the game 12-10.
Sobhy responded strongly in the second, stepping up the court and taking time away from King to take the game in a tiebreak 12-10. More quality squash followed in the third game as the American continued to push king into all four corners of the court and took a well deserved 2-1 lead.
With only two places between the two players In the PSA ramkings, the match was always going to be extremely close and that’s exactly what unfolded. A tense fourth game was closed out by King 11-9 to force a fifth and final game.
There was nothing to split the two players in the final game as the score reached 6-6. From this moment, King powered on and with help from the errors made by Sobhy, King marched through to her first platinum event semi-final since March 2021, winning the fifth game 11-6.
“I think I’m loving five-setter., every match this week has gone to five games. I’ve had lapses of concentration, obviously playing against a class opponent like Amanda she just never gave it to me, the last part of that fifth was just a blur and I just thought if I’m going to go down then go down swinging and it just went my way today.
“Every day is a new day really, all of us train hard so physicality is not the problem, it’s mostly in your head, I hope whoever comes out on top tonight has a really tough match to give me a bit of a break. I just love playing here, the crowd is always amazing so thanks to them for coming out.
“I love the Sobhy family, I stay with their dad when I got to Cairo, they’re like a second family to me and unfortunately someone has to lose so next time who knows.”
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 12-10, 10-12, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6 (66m)
Momen survives Dessouky battle
Tarek Momen beats Fares Dessouky
An all-Egyptian battle was next onto court featuring two of the most skilful players on the PSA World Tour, Tarek Momen and Fares Dessouky.
Momen got off to a blistering start in the opening game and capitalised on a sluggish start from his younger opponent, winning 11-2 in just nine minutes.
The tide turned in the following two games however as Dessouky battles back to control the middle of the court and force errors from No.4 seed Momen, equalising at 1-1 then managed to hang on well in a decision filled third game 12-10 to take the lead in the match.
Interaction with the referee continued in the fourth game as both players became increasingly frustrated with both each other and the referee. Momen managed to keep his composure better than Dessouky at the back end of the game and set up a decider, taking it 11-8.
Momen’s momentum continued in the fifth game as he started to control his younger opponent, moving Dessouky from corner to corner and forcing errors from the No.8 seed’s racket. A dejected Dessouky handed Momen a 6-0 lead in the game and wasn’t able to claw his way back as Momen booked his semi-final place.
“I’m very proud of this one,” admitted Momen.
“I always like to play free-flowing matches and today I got sucked into a game I’m not comfortable with. Fares is such a good friend of mine and such a good player, the artillery he has is unreal and unfortaunelty sometimes when we have to have discussions with the referee, it’s not how I want to play. I’m not blaming him for it, but I felt like we both were not comfortable with it.
“Halfway through the third, I tried to take it down a notch with the arguing. I let go of a few decisions that I’m wasn’t happy with and things started to go my way. I played well in the fourth and I’m very proud of this win, to beat such a player like Fares after losing to him last month is a good result for me
“Seeing that I was almost knocked out first round I’m very happy to be here. I’ve brought my family all the way from Egypt so I didn’t want it to be an early week, I enjoy having them with me and it’s been great.”
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 11-2, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7 (75m)
Gohar storms past Kennedy to reach final four
Gohar and Kennedy
No.2 seed Nouran Gohar has secured her semi-final place at this year’s Windy City Open as she defeated England’s Georgina Kennedy in three physical games.
Great athleticism was showcased by both players throughout the match as the relentless hitting forced extreme movements into all four corners of the court.
Gohar started strongly and didn’t allow Kennedy any time to settle in the third match of the day. Winning the game 11-4, Gohar looked in terrific form.
The second game was a lot more competitive as Kennedy found her length and imposed her ever-improving short game on the No.2 seed and found herself level at 9-9. In typical Gohar fashion, she played the big points well and moved into a 2-0 lead.
The end came quickly for Kennedy as Gohar sustained her pressure on the Englishwoman. Setting herself up with 9 match balls, Gohar converted the first time of asking 11-9 to set up a semi-final clash with New Zealand’s Joelle King.
“To beat Georgina 3-0 you definitely have to be at your best,” said Gohar.
“She’s the one to watch right now. Thankfully I’ve played her a few times now, we played last month and it’s never easy, even if it’s 3-0. The second game was crucial for me to close it and have a big lead because she’s always pushing, even when she’s down. I have lots of respect for her but I’m glad I had a game plan, I executed it pretty well and I’m looking forward to the semi-final match.
“It has improved a bit, I can smile sometimes. I’m not that kind of person off the court. If people know me, they say ‘you’re really nice and kind, it doesn’t look like that on court’. But it’s business, I have this character and I like it and it’s something I am proud of.
“Last time we played it was in July at the quarters of the World Open, the biggest event of the year, and it wasn’t an easy match, it was a pretty long match, Joelle is a great player and I’m looking forward to this one tomorrow.”
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-1 (33m)
Complete focus from Coll as he makes the semis
In the final match of the day, two of the fittest players on the PSA World Tour, Paul Coll and Joel Makin, faced off for a place in the semi-finals.
In, what was always going to be an attritional battle, Coll produced a completely focused performance to defeat the athletic Welshman in three long games.
Finding a terrific length early in the first game, Coll asked questions of Makin constantly. Keeping the ball extremely tight both in the front and back of the court, Coll gave Makin no opportunities to attack him and took the game 11-6.
The focus from Coll was unbreakable throughout the entire match. Squeezing uncharacteristic errors from Makin only gave confidence to the soon-to-be World No.1. Makin tried his best to get in front of Coll and start to volley but the New Zealander was too sharp and won the next two games 11-5, 11-5 to advance to the semi-finals where he will play Egypt’s Tarek Momen.
Coll had this to say about his victory:
“It was a big day for me today, there’s a bit of pressure on me this tournament. I’ve got my mental coach here with me for a reason. It’s a big event for me and today was a real test. I’m super happy with how it came out, big thanks to my dad for the pre-match pep talk.
“It’s going to be a battle. He looked like he was playing well tonight so I’ll have to be on my game. I’ll enjoy the win tonight, have some dinner and relax and focus on that match tomorrow, it’s going to be a big match but I’ll be ready
“It’s a dream come true, it’s going to be a great day. I can’t wait to wake up but I have a job to do, we’ll enjoy it as a team tomorrow and then quickly focus on the match tomorrow night.”
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (71m)