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Gregory Gaultier in action against Borja Golan during day two of the CIB Egyptian Open

Egyptian Open Day Three - Side Courts: As It Happens

Round three of the CIB Egyptian Open, PSA Platinum event kicks off today and we'll be bring you reports and reaction from all four matches at the New Giza Sporting Club.

French veteran Gregory Gaultier takes on Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez in a mouthwatering clash on court two and will be followed by England's James Willstrop taking on Egypt's Mostafa Asal.

On court three, the Gilis sisters, Nele and Tinne, take on Hollie Naughton and Hania El Hammamy, respectively.

You can keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Schedule – all times local (GMT+2)
Court Two
12:45 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [8] Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
13:30 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)

Court Three
12:45 Hollie Naughton (CAN) v Nele Gilis (BEL)
13:30 [6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)

You can also watch the action below

Court Two

Court Three

Gaultier Rolls Back the Years to Defeat Rodriguez

Former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier is through to the quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour event for the first time in two years after a masterclass from the 37-year-old saw him overcome World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez at the CIB Egyptian Open.

Gaultier spent 15 months on the sidelines between October 2018 – January 2020 after suffering a serious knee injury which left him fighting for his career and required two surgeries just to get him back on court.

His return to action was then cut short after just two events due to the global COVID-19 pandemic which brought professional squash to a halt for six months.

But the French General’s mental strength and belief was unwavering and he put on a demonstration of the control and class that has characterised his career as he overcame Rodriguez by an 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10 scoreline to record his first win over a top 10 player since September 2018.

“I’m very happy I kept digging in,” Gaultier said.

“Mentally I stayed focused despite it all, and I’m chuffed to get through, they were two tricky matches in a row

“They were not the easiest of conditions, it was very hard to finish off the rallies. If you hit the ball just a bit too hard, it bounces off very hard, so against Miguel I had to play extremely accurate squash without overhitting and varying the height, and I really had to be very patient.

“It was not the most entertaining squash, but that’s what needed to be done.”

Meanwhile, Belgium’s Nele Gilis has reached the last eight of the women’s event after recovering from a game down to beat Canada’s Hollie Naughton.

Gilis impressed with a superb 3-2 victory to topple World No.7 Amanda Sobhy in the previous round but was slow coming out of the traps as Naughton found her range early on.

Gilis responded by lengthening the rallies though and her fitness really came to the fore as the World No.14 ground out victories in the next three games to seal her place in a Platinum quarter-final for only the second time.

“Today is the day I needed the hard work I did for all those months [in lockdown],” said Gilis.

“This morning I woke up, I was feeling great, I was dancing in my room, but once I got on court, I definitely felt yesterday’s match, both mentally, physically and emotionally. We never played before, but I’ve seen her play and she has been so close to beating the top girls, so I was never going to take her lightly. To be honest, she played better squash than I did.

“I just ground it out today. I made the rallies longer and longer from the second game, hoping to force a few errors out of her. I didn’t have the energy to express my emotions, except at 3-3 in the second, I just let all the emotions out, I screamed. But I didn’t have anything left after that.

“I’m glad I fought until the end. Thank god for that day of rest tomorrow, I will be at the pool, working on my tan.”

Results
Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [8] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 12-10 (63m)
Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (50m)

Asal & El Hammamy Book Quarters Spots

Egyptian youngsters Mostafa Asal and Hania El Hammamy booked their spots in the quarter-finals after they achieved victories in the final two matches to take place at the side courts today.

Asal, 19, is one of the most exciting up-and-coming talents on the men’s tour and he has booked his place in only a second PSA Platinum quarter-final after he got the better of former World No.1 James Willstrop.

In a battle of youth versus experience, it was the younger man who come out on top as he played at a relentless pace which Willstrop just couldn’t cope with on the day.

‘The Marksman’ put in a controlled performance to upset World No.9 Joel Makin in the previous round, but was unable to dictate the tempo against ‘The Raging Bull’, who advances to the last eight courtesy of an 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 victory.

Asal will play either No.4 seed Paul Coll or compatriot Youssef Ibrahim in the next round.

“I swear, I don’t have the feeling I’m playing in a tournament,” Asal said.

“Maybe I miss that fear a bit, but come on, I’m getting my best results in that mood.
I’m doing all the rest, I’m sticking to my nutrition plan, I talk with my coaches every day for the game plans, but I feel free.

“James is one of my role models with [Gregory] Gaultier. We played an exhibition with James back in January, after the ToC [Tournament of Champions]. It was amazing, I cannot express the respect I have for him and the matches he produced today, at 37, taking out Makin.

“I’m happy and lucky I managed his skilfulness and I’m happy I’m playing in the Pyramids.”

At 20, El Hammamy is also one of the world’s leading young players and the CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner earned her spot in the quarter-finals courtesy of an 11-9, 11-4, 13-15, 11-9 win against the dangerous Belgian Tinne Gilis.

“I think I was playing well, really well, at the start of the fourth,” El Hammamy said.

“I managed to play three volley drop shots I couldn’t play for the whole week last week during the CIB Finals, so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then I was 4-0 up, and I just forgot about the rest of the game.

“I’m not happy with the way I handled the situation, I will learn from it and I’m not about to do that again. Tinne is such a great fighter, she’s improved a lot and I’m happy I managed to come back and contain such a good player in the end.”

Results
Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 (40m)
[6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 11-9, 11-4, 13-15, 11-9 (55m)

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