PSA Day 3 Round Up – 9 June 2022

 PSA Day 3 Round Up – 9 June 2022



Even though some of them were pushed yesterday – especially Paul Coll and Mohamed ElShorbagy – the top 4 seeds will be featuring in the semi-finals of the Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Presented by Beachcomber Resort & Hotels (Men’s Gold, $110,000) on Saturday. In the $30,000 women’s tournament, Coline Aumard bid farewell to the PSA World Tour while Mélissa Alves made the comeback of the week against Julianne Courtice.

The top seeds prevailed on Thursday at the Necker Mauritius Open and will be featuring in the semifinals, but some of them were pushed in the quarters. World No.2 Paul Coll crossed path with Baptiste Masotti: the World No.26 looked very determined as soon as the match started, being patient while seizing his attacking opportunities when they came along. The Frenchman took the lead, but we know that this is no guarantee of success against the Kiwi, who levelled at 1-all. As often in this type of match, the business end of the third game was key, and at 8-8 Coll relied on his bigger experience to take a crucial lead. At 2-1 down, it was a mountain to climb for Masotti, but he can leave Mauritius with the satisfaction of having shown what he’s capable of to the packed crowd of the RMClub Mauritius. Another Frenchman, World No.13 Grégoire Marche made life difficult for Mohamed ElShorbagy. The World No.3, who now represents England, dominated the first game but his opponent then raised his level and played a superb second game, using his exceptional retrieving abilities to push the Beast of Alexandria to make some errors. Marche converted his fourth game ball to clinch it 15-13, and going off the court he asked the crowd to make even more noise. He started the third game in the same manner, but at 8-8 the Frenchman twisted his ankle and had to take a 3-minute break. Even though he came back to court, his movement was clearly hampered and he could no longer defend his chances: Marche bowed 3-1 and left the court understandably frustrated, given how good he was playing before the incident. “I thought the match was very high quality and played in the right spirit,” said ElShorbagy in his post-match interview. “I have great respect for Greg for continuing, I hope it is not too serious. Thanks to the crowd for coming and supporting us every day. You guys make it really special for us.”


Paul Coll (on the left) had to do some work to beat a very determined Baptiste Masotti

In the last match of the day, World No.6 Tarek Momen was on top of fellow Egyptian Omar Mosaad in the first two games, before the 2015 World Championship runner-up started to be more proactive and reduced the deficit. But Momen – who came to Mauritius with his wife, former World No.1 Raneem El Welily and their son Shahir – was able to take control of proceedings again, and closed the match in 4 games, setting a clash with Mohamed ElShorbagy (see A DREAM LINE-UP IN THE SEMIS). In the other match, Paul Coll will be facing good friend and World No.5 Diego Elias. Against a clearly injured Mazen Hesham, the Peruvian Puma was able to maintain his concentration and moved the ball around the court to expose the movement of his opponent, and as resuly spent only 21 minutes on court yesterday. Which means he’ll ready for a big battle against the number 1 seed …

On Friday, the RM Club crowd will be treated with two classics of modern squash in the semi-finals of the Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Presented by Beachcomber Hotels & Resorts. Paul Coll and Diego Elias have faced each other five times since August 2021: the New Zealander won three of these encounters, but it’s against Coll that the Peruvian won the first major of his career at the Qatar Classic. As far Tarek Momen and Mohamed ElShorbagy are concerned, they will go head-to-head for the 26th on the PSA World Tour! The latter leads 20-5 and won the last seven, often relatively comfortably and will have the odds in his favor, especially he’s been making an impressive return to form lately. On the other hand, although Momen has been looking for a big result since his triumph at the World Championship in 2019, he keeps displaying incredible consistency. In his last 50 PSA events, only four times the Viper failed to make at least the quarterfinals.


Back to his best in the last few weeks, Mohamed ElShorbagy (inn white, against Grégoire Marche in the quarters) will face Tarek Momen on Friday at RM Club Mauritius


On Wednesday, the RM Club paid tribute to Grégory Gaultier, who came out of his retirement especially for the Necker Mauritius Open and played his last PSA match against Mazen Hesham. Yesterday, it was Coline Aumard’s turn to say farewell to the World Tour, as Gaultier’s compatriot had announced a few weeks ago that the RM Club Women’s Open would be her final PSA appearance. Fittingly, she played her 304th and final match against her best friend Tinne Gilis, who was the anticipated favorite and won in straight games, even though Aumard fought until the bitter end. “I have mixed feelings,” said the number 1 seed, who will be facing another Frenchwoman, Enora Villard, in the semis (Enora came through after Lisa Aitken’s withdrawal due to illness). “I’m her last match on the PSA World Tour so I’m honoured in one way, but very sad on the other side because I don’t want her to leave!” Coline Aumard and her husband, former PSA player Adam Auckland, will now be moving to Mauritius, where the Frenchwoman will be in charge of developing the RM Squash Academy. ”It’s very hard to find words but I think you can see how happy I am to be here, it’s happy tears! Something very nice is coming for me and Adam and I feel very honoured to be on this court day to play my last match because it’s where I’m starting my new chapter.”


The RM Club Mauritius team paid tribute Coline Aumard (third from the left) yesterday

We’ve been short of upsets and rollercoasters in Mauritius so far, but Mélissa Alves produced a fantastic comeback to beat Julianne Courtice on Thursday afternoon, in the quarterfinals of the RMClub Women’s Open 2022 Presented by Expression Networks (Challenger 30, $30,000). Being 2-love down against an inspired Julianne Courtice, the player from French Guiana managed to completely turn things around. After levelling at 2-all, she even finished the match with a flurry of winners in the fifth game. We caught up with the World No.29 a few minutes later.

“I don’t really have an explanation for how I started the match, because I did prepare very seriously. One thing for sure, I didn’t expect Julianne to play so well – she had very good lengths – and as far I am concerned I did not think I would have so much trouble finding my marks on court. (We told her that after the first two games, we did not see how she could turn things around). Neither did I, and to be honest I was picturing myself packing my bag! Having the support of the crowd certainly helped, even if coaching is not allowed between games at the moment sharing a look with your team can be sufficient to give you a boost and that’s what happened for me. I told myself that I simply could not lose 3-0 playing like that, and that the least I could do was fight for every ball.


After a complicated start, Mélissa Alves was able to turn things around completely and make her way into the semifinals

As soon as the third game started I had better lengths, which made my life a lot easier. Besides, she was getting tired and made more errors. It’s true that it’s not easy to face a player who’s suddendly playing much better, I know that because I went through the same thing against Zeina Mickawy in the first round of the World Champ. In the fifth game, all my attacking shots went in, including an unlikely boast that went into the nick, at that moment I knew that I could no longer lose (laughs). I am very motivated about my semifinal against Farida Mohamed, we’ve never played before. I am going to prepare as well as I can and watch some matches, especially those she played against girls that have a similar style to mine, for example Nada Abbas or Jasmine Hutton. We know she has a very physical style of play, but I don’t mind a good fight … I think I have a fair chance if I manage to play the right tactic. Because if you play on her strengths and leave the ball mid-court, she is certainly lethal …”

Results – quarterfinals, Thursday the 9th of June

Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Presented by Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels (Gold, $110,000)

[3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY): 3-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-3)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Gregoire Marche (FRA): 3-1 (11-6, 13-15, 11-8, 11-5)
[1] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [8] Baptiste Masotti (FRA): 3-1 (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4)
[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY): 3-1 (11-4, 11-2, 7-11, 11-7)

RMClub Women’s Open 2022 Presented by Expression Networks LLC (Challenger 30, $30,000)

[3] Farida Mohamed (EGY) bt [7] Marie Stéphan (FRA): 3-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-7)
[6] Enora Villard (FRA) bt [4] Lisa Aitken (SCO): forfait
[1] Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt [5] Coline Aumard (FRA): 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-7)
[2] Mélissa Alves (FRA) bt [8] Julianne Courtice (ENG): 3-2 (3-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-1)

Schedule – semifinals, Friday the 10th of June (local time, GMT+4)

Necker Mauritius Open 2022 Presented by Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels (Gold, $110,000) 

6:30pm: [1] Paul Coll (NZL) – [3] Diego Elias (PER)
8:30pm: [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) – [4] Tarek Momen (EGY)

RMClub Women’s Open 2022 Presented by Expression Networks LLC (Challenger 30, $30,000)

17h30 : [1] Tinne Gilis (BEL) – [6] Enora Villard (FRA)
19h30: [3] Farida Mohamed (EGY) – [2] Mélissa Alves (FRA)