Egyptian successes continued as eight players reached the quarterfinals of both the men's and women’s contests of the PSA World Championships in Chicago, with a combined $1 million prize on offer, the highest in squash history.
The Egyptian stars booked their places after shining in the fourth day matches that ended early Wednesday.
World number two Ali Farag defeated countryman Mazen Hesham 3-0 in the early hours of Wednesday to follow world number one and title holder Mohamed ElShorbagy, Marwan ElShorbagy (8) and Tarek Momen (4) who already secured their places in the quarterfinals.
“It’s always tough against Mazen. He beat me comfortably last week back home so I knew I was in for a tough one," Farag said after the match.
“I was lucky that he wasn’t firing early on, and grateful to be able to come back in the third," he added.
Mohamed ElShorbagy defeated Leo Au of Hong Kong 3-0 on Tuesday. Marwan beated Ryan Cuskelly of Australia 3-1, while Momen claimed a 3-2 victory over countryman Mohamed Abouelghar.
In the women's draw, Egyptian star and world number two Nour El-Sherbini was the latest to reach the quarterfinals after beating Amanda Sobhy of the USA 3-2, while Nouran Gohar (8) defeated Victoria Lust of England 3-2.
"Since Amanda came back every match we’ve played has been really hard, and I think this was the toughest yet," said El-Sherbini.
“At 2-1 down I told myself I didn’t want to leave the tournament yet, and to keep fighting to the end, and not give up. I’m so happy to come through!”
World number three Nour El-Tayeb claimed a 3-0 win over Melissa Alves of France, while world number one and title holder Raneem El-Welily was also on target after a 3-0 win over Alison Waters of England.
Quarterfinal matches will be played Wednesday and Thursday.
Ali Farag will kick off the Egyptian players' confrontations, facing world number seven Paul Coll of New Zealand, while Nour El-Sherbini will follow, facing world number 10 Tesni Evans of Wales.
On Thursday, where will be two all-Egyptian confrontations as Tarek Momen will face Marwan ElShorbagy, and Raneem El-Welily will take on Nouran Gohar.
The other two confrontations will see Nour El-Tayeb facing world number 12 Annie Au of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Mohamed ElShorbagy will face world number six Miguel Rodriguez of Colombia.
This will be the first PSA World Championships to offer an equal prize fund in the men’s and women’s draws, with a $500,000 prize purse available in both divisions.
The championships are taking place at Chicago’s Union Station, 23 February to 2 March.
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