Join us here for reports and reaction from day two of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open, where matches will be split between the incredible glass court at the Peninsula Shanghai – which overlooks Shanghai's famous Bund – and SECA Academy.
The likes of World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, World Champion Raneem El Welily, World No.5 Simon Rösner and British Open champion Miguel Angel Rodriguez begin their seasons today at the glass court, while Malaysian superstar Nicol David faces the formidable World No.7 Laura Massaro at SECA Academy in the day's standout match.
Serme Avoids Defeat While Makin Upsets Mosaad
French World No.5 Camille Serme narrowly overcame England’s Alison Waters in a thrilling five-game contest at SECA Academy to earn her place in the last eight.
Serme, a semi-finalist at last year’s tournament, had beaten Waters in seven of their previous nine meetings but struggled early on as Waters, the World No.10, dictated the tempo of the match and played some tidy squash to take the opener 11-4.
Waters already had a game under her belt at the traditional courts housed at the SECA Academy while Serme was making her first appearance of the tournament after receiving a bye due to the new PSA Tour structure that came into place in August.
And Waters’ superior match practice looked to be showing as she continued to make life difficult for her French opponent, with only a late rally from Serme enabling her to draw level on the tie-break.
It was nip and tuck for much of the next two games as both players took a game apiece but Serme’s mental resilience saw her battle back from 8-6 down in the fifth to close out the win.
“I was mostly down in the fifth and you kind of think ‘this is it, she’s better today’ and then I relaxed and started playing better,” Serme said, who will play either New Zealand’s Joelle King or India’s Joshna Chinappa in the quarter-finals.
“I never give up, I just thought that maybe I was going to lose today but I played better and came back to 9-9. Then the last two points I played perfectly tactically.
“Alison put in a great performance today, she was really fit and when you give her the ball on her racket on her forehand she’s really good. I’m glad I won.
“I felt like it was really hot today, she must have felt the same yesterday and knew what to expect today. I was a bit surprised, so I think playing another match can actually help a lot.”
Welsh World No.38 Joel Makin is through to a first ever PSA World Tour Gold quarter-final after he upset the odds to defeat former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in 65 minutes in the men’s event.
Gohar, who has finished as runner-up at this tournament in each of the past three years, lacked her usual ferocity and was on the verge of suffering a surprise early exit.
She was taken to a tie-break in each of the next two games but discovered her fighting spirit to come out on top and closed out the final game 11-7 to earn her place in the next round where she will play either World No.1 Nour El Sherbini or Wales’ Tesni Evans.
“It’s never easy to play the first match, you have a lot of butterflies and you have been training so hard throughout the summer but it’s completely different in a squash match,” said Gohar.
“I took a while to get used to the conditions and Salma’s way of playing is really tricky. You have to be alert from the very first point but I’m very proud with the way I kept fighting, even if I wasn’t playing my best squash at all.”
Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi is also through to the quarters after he defeated Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller in three games.
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Alison Waters (ENG) 3-2: 4-11, 13-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 (69m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt  Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 13-11, 11-3, 11-1 (31m)
Joel Makin (WAL) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 (65m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Salma Hany (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7 (56m)
El Sherbini Begins Tournament with a Win
Nour El Sherbini (left) goes up against Tesni Evans (left)
Defending champion Nour El Sherbini picked up where she left off at the end of last season as she kicked off the new campaign with a 3-0 victory over Welsh World No.12 Tesni Evans to reach the quarter-finals.
El Sherbini, the reigning World No.1, has been the dominant force in the women’s game over the past two years and lifted seven PSA Tour titles last season, beating fellow Egyptian Nouran Gohar to win last year’s China Open.
She quickly hit her stride against Evans and won the opener 14-12 despite a tenacious showing from her opponent, who fought back from game ball down on five occasions before finally succumbing to the skill of the Egyptian.
El Sherbini will line up against Gohar next and will look to extend her current win streak over the World No.6, which stretches to eight matches.
“I’m definitely pleased, Tesni has been doing great over the last season and she has been playing very tough matches with all of the top five players.
“It’s the first match of the season and it’s never going to be an easy match but I’m really glad I won in the end.
“It’s amazing to be playing in front of this view [of Shanghai’s Bund], I think it’s one of the best venues.
“I’ve been playing Nouran for a long time now but we never train together because she’s in Cairo and I’m in Alexandria. It’s another tough match, another tough battle in the quarter-finals and I’m looking forward to it.”
Joshna Chinappa (right) on her way to beating Joelle King (left)
There was a big upset in another of the women’s round two matches when India’s Joshna Chinappa overcame New Zealand’s World No.4 Joelle King in five games.
Chinappa will take on France’s Camille Serme in the next round, while World No.3 Nour El Tayeb and World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry will line up against each other in the last eight after wins over Victoria Lust and Joey Chan, respectively.
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 14-12, 11-5, 11-5 (29m)
Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 3-2: 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8 (61m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-6 (30m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (25m)
Rösner Books Quarters Spot
Men’s top seed Simon Rösner is through to the quarter-finals after he defeated Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan in a straight games victory.
The German laid down a marker for the rest of the tournament as he put in a powerful performance despite the humidity and he gave Adnan little time to settle on the ball.
World No.40 Adnan was forced into a number of tough movements as Rösner controlled large periods of the match and the title favourite closed out an 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 triumph in 45 minutes to ensure that he will play Welshman Joel Makin in the last eight.
“I’m feeling good but missing a bit of match practice and competition,” said Rösner.
“I started quite well and I had to push through the match because obviously the conditions are very difficult for us to play on, it’s around 30 degrees and it’s around 80-90% humidity.
“It’s very good to get off with a 3-0 win and I’ll be able to save energy for tomorrow’s match which will be another tough one as always.”
Also through to the next round is 2015 Gregory Gaultier after the ‘French General’ claimed a 3-0 victory over England’s Adrian Waller, winning 11-7, 11-5, 11-1.
Gaultier will go up against Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar in the next round after he beat Tom Richards, while New Zealand’s Paul Coll got the better of Scotland’s Alan Clyne to ensure he will play Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in the next round.
Paul Coll warms up before his match
“The conditions are hot and Alan’s fit so I knew it was going to be a test of who can play the most accurate squash.
“I’ve been doing a lot on that over the summer and I was really pleased with the performance and how I executed my game plan.
“I don’t really know what to expect from Abdulla, he’s very talented and I think it will be very fast. I’ll have to watch him a lot because he’s very tricky and skilful so it should be a good test tomorrow.”
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt. Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (45m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt. Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 14-12, 11-3 (35m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt. Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 (35m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt. Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-0 (39m)
El Welily to Lock Horns with David in Last Eight
Raneem El Welily (left) v Li Donjin (right)
World Champion Raneem El Welily will contest a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with Malaysia’s former World No.1 Nicol David after she overcame tournament wildcard Li Dongjin, while a spellbinding performance from David saw her dismantle World No.7 Laura Massaro.
El Welily didn’t quite hit her stride in the early parts of the encounter, with Li – who upset former World No.4 Omneya Abdel Kawy in the previous round – holding game balls on four separate occasions as she threatened to take an unlikely lead.
The 25-year-old’s relative inexperience showed though as she snatched at a couple of drop shots which saw her let the advantage slip and El Welily came back to take the first game 15-13.
From that point on it was plain sailing for the World No.2 and she claimed 11-6 victories in the second and third games to earn her place in the last eight.
“The first match of the season is always tough mentally, you’re still trying to work things out and see how you feel on court,” said El Welily.
“It wasn’t a very good start in this match but that will teach me to be more sharper and more focused tomorrow. I’ve played with her before, I think she’s improved a lot and yesterday she beat Omneya.
“You can tell her squash has improved, she’s moving better and she’s got a plan and tactics. I’m happy to beat her today and hopefully I’ll play better tomorrow.
“I always expect the unexpected from Nicol, she’s so good and she definitely played really well to beat Laura today. I’m excited to see how she’s playing and to see how I can play against her.
“Hopefully it will be another good battle.
David rolled back the years at SECA Academy as she put in a superb display reminiscent of the ones she enjoyed during her nine years at the summit of the World Rankings.
The eight-time World Champion – who saw her unprecedented reign at World No.1 ended by El Welily in September 2015 – had lost to Massaro on four of their previous five meetings but she got the better of the English player this time around, winning 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 to earn her place in the quarter-finals.
“I had a good run throughout the match today against Laura and was very pleased with my performance to win 3-0,” said 2013 China Open champion David.
“It’s been some time [since] playing her and I knew we would have a battle, so I was going to push hard today. I’m so excited to be on the glass [court] tomorrow.”
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [WC] Li Dongjin (CHN) 3-0: 15-13, 11-6, 11-6 (25m)
Nicol David (MAS) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (29m)
Kandra Foils Rodriguez in Day Two Upset
Raphael Kandra (right) lunges during his match with Rodriguez (left)
World No.22 Raphael Kandra sent number two seed Miguel Angel Rodriguez crashing out of the tournament after a sublime display from the German saw him claim a victory in straight games against the’ Colombian Cannonball’.
Kandra ended the 2017/18 season on a high with a breathtaking run to the semi-finals of the British Open, with eventual title winner Rodriguez – who last week won gold at the PanAm Squash Championships getting the better of the 27-year-old in Hull.
But Kandra avenged that defeat with a controlled and almost peerless performance that saw him test Rodriguez in the front corners in particular, with the World No.6 lacking his usual dynamism around court.
Kandra opened up a one-game lead on the tie-break and matters were made worse for Rodriguez in the second when – with Kandra game ball up – he was penalised for a foot fault on one of his serves, which handed the game to Kandra.
The German then powered into an 8-1 lead in the third and, despite Rodriguez coming back to within two points of him, Kandra stood firm to ensure that he will compete in the quarter-finals against India’s Saurav Ghosal.
“I was really motivated, I’ve lost to him the last two times in the British Open so I really wanted revenge today,” said Kandra.
“I felt quite comfortable on the court today, I don’t think he was too comfortable moving towards the front and I made use of it. I tried to put balls away at the front, stay away from his retrieving abilities and it worked out in the end.
“You keep training harder and harder because you want to beat the top guys. I’ve been on the tour for over nine years now and I think the more matches you have on tour, the more experience you get and then suddenly you start to believe in beating the top guys.”
Raphael Kandra (GER) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (46m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 5-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8 (71m)