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Castagnet Clinches Semifinal ToC Berth; David Defeats Au

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January 12, 2016
by Brad Burke

16TC33089New York, NY – January 11, 2016. “I can still hardly believe it” said France’s Mathieu Castagent as he was leaving the majestic confines of Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the site of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and what will now be the Frenchman’s first foray into a Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series semifinal. After little more than an hour on court against Spain’s Borja Golan in the evening’s last quarterfinal match, Castagnet emerged with a 3-0 victory over 19th ranked Golan to make it, for the first time, to the penultimate round of a PSA World Series event.

“I was so nervous for the entire match,” said Castagnet,”even when I was up 9-1 in the third I wasn’t completely confident that I would win. Borja has already been to a few World Series semis, and I never have.” Although he may have been battling the nerves in his head, the Frenchman’s outward demeanor was calm and strong. After securing the first game 11-8, Castagnet jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the second. The strong-willed Golan fought back to even the score at nine all and even had game ball at 11-10. While his fiery opponent questioned calls and made a string of errors, Castagnet played steady, retrieving squash and recaptured the lead at 12-11 securing the game 13-11. The third game was entirely Castagnet’s as he took an insurmountable 9-1 lead before closing it out 11-4 to win the match.

“Tomorrow I will spend all day finding a solution to ElShhorbagy’s game,” Castagnet said with a wide smile, referring to his semifinal opponent Mohamed ElShorbagy, the defending champion and top seed.

The world #1 faced off against countryman Omar Mosaad, the tournament’s fifth seed. Two of the sports’ towering figures – literally- (Mosaad is 6’3” and ElShorbagy is 6’1’), both men can hammer the ball and cover a lot of court. Mosaad snatched the first game at 11-9, and went up 8-4 in the second. ElShorbagy, whose competitive drive has kept him at the top of the world rankings for the 15 out of the last 16 months, roared back to win the next seven points, tying the match at one game each. After ElShorbagy won the third, 11-5, the two traded leads in the fourth until ElShorbagy closed out the game- and match – 12-10.

In women’s action, 2014 ToC champion and second seed Nicol David was on and off the court in 21 minutes with an 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 victory over Hong Kong’s Annie Au. “There is always a nice buzz here at the ToC which is energizing,” said the eight-time world champion. “And the crowds are incredibly knowledgeable, so it is really fun to play here.

Fun was also the order of the day for David’s semifinal opponent, Omneya Abdel Kawy. The 30-year-old Egyptian eliminated India’s Joshna Chinnappa in straight games, although Chinnapa drew close at 8-9 in the third before succumbing 9-11. “I didn’t play all that much in December,” said Kawy,”so I was really hungry to play when I arrived in NYC, and I really enjoyed being on court today.”

Kawy found it helpful to be coached by three-time ToC champion and countryman Amr Shabana, who is a hero to most Egyptian players. “It gives me confidence when he is coaching me,” said Kawy. “He has all the experience and he knows when you need technical advice and when you need some motivation. And he’s Amr Shabana watching me play, so I feel I must win.”

Rising English star Emily Whitlock extended Camille Serme to four games in their quarterfinal pairing, winning the third 11-8 before Serme closed at the match 13-11 in the fourth. Bolstered by an enhanced confidence as a result winning the British Open last year, Serme says that winning that prestigious tittle made her realize that there was no reason she couldn’t win more of the sports major titles. Serme will need to defeat 20-year-old Nour El Sherbini, who defeated qualifier Mariam Metwally 3-0, in their semifinal on Wednesday, January 13, before she can lay claim to a ToC championship.

Results – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY
January 11, 2016
Women’s Quarterfinals
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) def. [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (27 mins)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) def. [16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11 (52 minns)
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v [15] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (25 mins)
[2] Nicol David (MAS) v. [9] Annie Au (HKG) 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 (27 mins)

Results – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY
January 11, 2016
Men’s Quarter-finals
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) def. [5] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (76 mins)
[7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) def Borja Golan (ESP) 11-3, 13-11, 11-4 (72 mins)

Schedule – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY
January 12, 2016

Women’s Quarterfinals
1:30 PM [3] Laura Massaro (ENG) v. [8] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
2:30 PM [8] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v. [6] Alison Waters (ENG)
7:00 PM [4] Camille Serme (FRA) v. [7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
9:00 PM [2] Nicol David (MAS) v. [5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)

Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals,
6:00 PM [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [6] Simon Rösner (GER)
8:00 PM [8] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [2] Nick Matthew (ENG)