2015 Day SEVEN - Quarter-Finals          open in new window

I canít believe I did it, Nour played so well!

I was disappointed I was not showing my best squash, so I just decided to fight, to use my physicality to make the difference.

But at the end, it was 50/50, it was anybodyís, so glad it went my way today.

When I was down 2/1, I told myself come on, youíve worked so hard in the past two months, and I wanted to play more, I wanted to stay on that court more, and I wanted the crowd more!!!

Last 4, I am soooooo happyÖ

[6] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-2 [4] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)
          6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9 (66m)


Iím sure you can translate that one easily . A gutsy victory/performance for the French number one, against a Miracle girl that didnít do much wrong today. Probably Camilleís fitness/physicality made the difference in the end, but at 9/10 in the fifth, it was truly a toss of a coin.

Camille was like in her first round a bit nervous in that first game, with Nour more relaxed today than she was in her previous matches. 5/2 for Nour, 9/3, game 11/6 in 7m.

Second, this time Camille is taking a much better start, 4/1, Nour scores 4 points, but Camille replies by taking 5 of her own, 9/5, to level it 11/7 in 8m.

Third, if Camille thought she mastered the match, she was bitterly disappointed, as Nour was purely and simply on fire, 5/1, 10/5, with Camille pushing it very hard, but a bit too late, 11/7 Nour in 7m.

The fourth is absolutely crucial, close start, Nour gets a nice cushion, 8/5, we think itís all over, and thatís when Camille puts all her weight on the PUSH HARD buzzer.

She claws back to 8/8, 9/9, and forces the errors from Nourís racquet, 11/9, in 15m, as long as two previous games!

If the 5th is dominated by Nour at the start, 5/3, Cam scores 4 points, 7/5. After that, itís always the French girl in front, just! 7/6, 9/8Ö

She gets her first match ball at 10/8, a quick error takes care of that, 9/10. But the French girl ďjust wants to play moreĒ, and closes it out 11/9 in the longest game of the match, 17m.

[Q] Delia Arnold (Mas) 3-2 [2] Raneem El Welily (Egy)
            4-11, 16-14, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10 (69m)


Amazing performance from Delia, as if the absence of Wee Wern Ė just having had surgery Ė freed her and allowed her to just shine away!!!

If she didnít see much of the first game, 5m, she proved her mental toughness in the 2nd, and the sharpness of an backhand drop shots, volley and long, taking it 16/14 on her 4th game ball, Raneem having had 2 of her own.

The Egyptian didnít have a good start in the 3rd, 5/2, 7/3, but she managed to score 6 points in a row from 6/10 game ball down to take the game in one hand,12/10 in 11m.

We thought that was it. Well, far from it. Delia completely dominated the 4th in 9m, 11/6, still her backhand drop shots and her counter drop making a heck of a damage.

The 5th, we think itís fine, we are used to Raneem losing focus, itís all going to come out nicely in the end, the higher ranked player will prevail. Wrong answer again.

In 15m, Delia never let Raneem out of sight, saved a match ball 10/9 with a gutsy boast, set up her own match ball with the same shot, and get her semi final of the British Open with a stroke, at 29, ranked 29 in the world, having had to qualify from the eventÖ

I canít believe Iím standing here, Iím speechless really, I donít know what to feel.

In the first game, I really couldnít see the ball, Raneem has got good hands, so in the second, I tried to make the rallies last longer.

Iím really surprised, I havenít done anything different, Iím doing exactly the same things, but this week, it all seems to workÖ My backhand drop shots worked really well, I won a lot of points from there. My coach has been telling me what to do, and it worked out pretty well!

Tomorrow, playing Camille, nothing to lose, Iíll do my best and see what can come out of it.

[3] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
           11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (50m)


Amazing to see how the Alien Matthew is able to go from strength to strength.

If he looked a bit wobbly in the first match Ė heíll love that one Ė Nick looked today as dominant and strong as heís ever been.

Itís a joy to see the Wolf back at the front of the Pack, imposing his power/accuracy on a younger opponent that had nothing to lose and played out of his skin.

Not a foot wrong today from Mathieu, but Nick was just too strong mentally and physically. Every time he was down, he just strung the points (up to 7 in the second game) and re-established his dominance.

A superb performance and a strong message to the rest of the players: ďLook who is back and strongÖĒ

I I played well, apart from the start of each game, a bit of a combination of him playing very well, getting his tactics spot on, and me a bit of lack of match practice.

I definitely need to start games stronger. I felt like in each game today I was four or five down before I got going, so considering that I was delighted to win in three.

So, delighted with that result, everybody knows I was not 100% with my preparation, now, itís all a question of resting and getting ready for tomorrow.

I didnít want the whole world to know it, but as the MC mentioned it, I have a bit of a back niggle, Iím going to work with Joe our physio nowÖ

The support of the crowd really got me through, the great atmosphere, so important to get to the semis in three games, as there is no more rest days now, itís thick and fast!

And thereís not too many English players left in the draw so the crowd can save their voices for the home players that are left and hopefully it will be packed out tomorrow!!

The competitive animal that I am, I wouldn't have played just to make up the numbers. I guess if youíd offered me a place in the semi-finals before the tournament Iím sure I would have taken it because it means I would have been feeling healthy but once you get to a semi-final anything can happen - the four guys who get to that stage are all capable of winning it.

So now, I have taken any kind of pressure off myself, I have no expectation, and anything that comes now is a bonus.

Iím going to forget about today, and move on.

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-0
[7] Simon Rosner (Ger)   11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (36m)


Quite astonishing. After Nick showing his extraordinary strength, it was Mohamedís time to shine.

Thirty seven minutes to beat Simon that looked extremely flat and unable to answer any of Mohamedís questions.

Mohamed reminded me that match he played during Ramadan a few years back in the Sky Open. He was playing Olli whereas he didnít have anything to drink or eat for our.

I then described his match as ďFasting and FuriousĒ.

Well, today, Mohamed was in that kind of zone: when he knows heís got to be as fast and accurate as the body may not last.

And what a result. Simon just couldnít compete today.

Nick and Mohamed: two Aliens in Hull.


Disappointment would not describe my feeling right now. Absolutely not the way you wanna finish a season, but looking at the positives...

i had a lot this season - makes me realise how proud i can be about what i have achieved.

Well done to .the deserved winner of today's Match.

   on twitter

Iím very pleased to win in three, such a great feeling, and just happy I was able to step on court today. There was a lot of work happening behind the scenes, Hossan our physio that really has been working so hard to get me back in shape, thanks for all the work youíve done on me.

"I also want to thank Nicol for offering me her physio before the match today as Maurice was very helpful with the amount of work he did on my hamstring before the match "

Nick had so many reasons not to get on court this week, but he has proven the great champion he is, he kept fighting and fighting, Iím learning from him, he is such a strong character.

Same for me, I had a lot of reasons not to step on court this week. But I kept fighting.

And when I spoke with Jonah before this match, I was so out of confidence, he told me: "Iím going to ask you two questions: do you want to win the British OpenĒ, yes I said, I do.

"second question, what do you think is going to hurt more, the hamstring or the sight of seeing somebody else holding that British Open trophy.Ē

I said, the feeling of seeing somebody else holding the trophyÖ So thatís why I kept pushing today.

I think itís going to be a great match between Nick and I. We always have great battles, I hope itís going to be a great match for everybody to like!

Our latest big battle have been the TOC and the World Champs, last two, Chicago I was a bit ill, and El Gouna he was injured.

So this is one that should be the one, we always raise our game against each other!!

The screaming at the end shows how much it meant to meÖ Being in the final last year, and wining it the year before was such an experience, Iím really trying to get back there!

I love coming to Hull, I did a few Press coverage here and also the live draw, I just feel Iím home here.

Today, it was a combination of things, and I think that Joelle is not back at the level she was pre Achilles injury.

She was not moving as well, but itís so great that she was in the quarters and nice to see her having that great recovery!

I hope that tomorrow it will be a good match for the crowd, and that theyíll get behind the English players, we really appreciate itÖ

[3] Laura Massaro (Eng) 3-0 [10] Joelle King (Nzl)
          11-6, 11-2, 11-7 (33m


The New Zealander shouldnít be disappointed with the match. It was just the match too far I feel, she did superbly to come back that far.

But today, was not a good day at the office, and she was struggling with her normally so strong basic game, while Laura, having by now found her rhythm, was controlling 95% of the rallies.

The third was the best game for Joellle, she led 6/4 before Laura just closed out the angles, got her length deep in the back corner, prevented her opponent from finding any kind of opening.

A few too many unforced errors also from Joelle, while Laura kept hers to a minimum.

Excellent preparation match for Laura, who will hope that Nicol and Sarah Jane battle it out nicely for at least two hours Ö


[1] Nicol David (Eng) 3-0 [13] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)
            11-6, 11-8, 12-10 (46m)


Not sure what more SJ could have done today. The English girl gave all what she had, and probably more. She pushed Nicol all the way, come back to 5/5 after a bit of a nervous start 1/4, but Nicol just had too good length in that game, 11/6 Nicol in 11m.

The second was close the whole way, after an excellent start from SJ, 4/0, 6/3, we went 6/6, 8/8, Nicol playing the end of game especially well, scoring the 3 following points, 11/8 in 12m.

Sarah Jane appeared a bit tired at the end of the 2nd, but by the start of the third, she found her second wind and went 8/4, 10/7 game ball, playing superb patient and yet attacking squash. Nicol though went into her ďCairo down 10/6 match ballĒ mode, and just scored the following 5 points, 12/10 in 17mÖ.

I think I was playing well today, I came out strong at the right time, and Sarah Jane was a tough opponent to play, happy to get out of there in 3. In the 3rd, I just didnít want to let it go, and I really wanted to make it to the semis. So I kept fighting all the way.

Amazing what Delia has managed to do this week, you wouldnít believe that such a small country like Malaysia would have two players in the semis of the British Open. She has come through, and Iíll be looking at what she is doing tomorrow.

Iím very grateful to the Malaysian Government which has been funding throughout my career, I need to pay tribute to them, they have always supported me, and they look after me very well.

Iím looking forward to get on court tomorrow against Laura, it should be a good battle, and I hope the crowd will be entertained.

I knew it was going to be very tough, we have played a few matches, and he is like me, very rapid on court.

I think I played the last two games better than the beginning on the match.

Reaching the semis was my goal, I was seeding 4. This is the end of an incredible year for me, 2015 has been my most successful year, I reached two semis of the World Series, and Iím world number 5, and Iím very proud of what I have achieved.

Itís my 4th British Open, and my first semi, Iím fresh for tomorrow, and Iím happy to play either Hesham or Gregory, Iím going to rest a bit tomorrow and then do my best...

[4] Miguel Rodriguez (Col) 3-1 [6] Tarek Momen (Egy)
     11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7 (67m)


There was something in Miguel today that was so powerful that Tarek just couldnít control. The Hunger that comes when you reach the top of the rankings for the first time. It could have cut Miguelís legs a bit, it gave him wings, literally, as heís proven it again and again in his young career.

Tarek, well, made 17 unforced errors. Or so called. Because when you have in front of you somebody that retrieves everything, I mean, EVERYTHING, you have got to get lower and lower close to the tin. And that happens. You clip it.

I donít think Tarek could have done much more today. He plays his game, he stayed in front of Miguel for most of the match, but at the end, he just couldnít keep the Cannon Ball behind me, and the damage was done Ė maybe a bit of cramping at the end from the Egyptian, the work those two have produced was superb, although the match was not that long, 66m, it was bleeping intense.

Miguel was delighted to get in the semis. And he is not thinking for one second thatís the end of his tournamentÖ He wants more, like Camille said earlierÖ

[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Mazen Hesham (Egy)
          11-7 , 11-7, 11-9 (45m).


Greg truly enjoyed this match. It was obvious.

He was pushed a bit, but not too much, and really appreciated the demeanour and behaviour of young Mazen.

 Mazen had a few tough matches and was heavily strapped around the dorsal vertebras and at the top of his right shoulder, not that he never complained or mentioned itÖ

It was an intense match, rallies were long Ė nice that Mazen has added the ďpatienceĒ layer to his game, he is improving tournament after tournament, Abdel Aziz will be proud. The games last rather a long time for a match with a young Egyptians, 13, 12 and 14. Meaning that they both worked hard at it!

The stats tell the story though, if the winners were about the same, 17 for Mazen, 16 for Greg, we had 15 unforced errors for the Egyptian, versus 4 for Greg.

And good to say that there were very few decision, 11 only. It looks like whatever the PSA is putting in place in the Refereeing department is working fine, weíve hardly see any trouble this weekÖ

He is totally Egyptian, so skilful, and you never no what he is going to play, so youíve got to play tight to the wall, and if you open the court, youíve got to run to the front!!

I watched him play a bit against Mosaad, so skilful, good hands, and a very fair player. He is what, 20, playing so well at such a young age, and the level nowadays has improved so much not only squash wise but also as far as the knowledge of sport is concerned.

I feel really relaxed, I did well here in the past two years, I got in the final two years ago, win last year. I want to give it a last push, last tournament of the season.

I struggled with injury in 2015, I couldnít really train and barely play, so now Iím really enjoying the fact I was able to train and I have no pressure on me.

I played Miguel two weeks ago, and I managed to win 3/0 but he is very fit and had a great tournament, he seems to have 5 lungs, I have only 2, but I have much more experience as he has, and Iíll try and just stay focused. I just hope the crowd enjoy it.

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