The opening event of the new season continues in Cairo as the CIB Zed Open reaches the semi-final stage this evening. The top four seeds made it through in both Women’s and Men’s draws, and it was the top two seeds who progressed to the finals.
You can watch the matches Live on SquashTV, follow on Live Scoring, and we’ll have reports, reaction and photos here with a roundup to follow at the end of the day.
Hany downs Mohamed to make Zed final
World No.9 Salma Hany is through to her third final in twelve months after she got the better of compatriot Farida Mohamed in a tense straight games victory at the Zed Park in Cairo.
The 26-year-old, who is looking to claim her first title since 2013, started strongly, and raced out into a quick one-game lead. Mohamed fought back in the second, but it was the World No.9 who was able to maintain the momentum through both the second and the third, winning in straight games.
Hany will now face another Egyptian, in former World No.3 Nour El Tayeb, in the final on Sunday evening, and will be looking to avenge her defeat to her compatriot in the second round of the CIB PSA World Championships.
“Farida is a very dangerous player, she has been playing great. Last season, she had a great season. I had to be really focussed and composed, calm throughout the match. I was just really enjoying my time on court today. I didn’t mind, and I accepted that there might be a lot of calls, some scrappy moments, but it was a fair and clean match. I was just happy with my performance today.
“I feel like I play Nour in every single tournament in Egypt. Obviously, I am very excited to be in a final with her, we go way back and I have always looked up to her. I am just really excited to come here again tomorrow and put on a great match!”
Soliman overcomes Kandra in three
Top seed Youssef Soliman secured the last place in tomorrow’s finals day at the CIB Zed Squash Open in Cairo after a confident performance in the last match of the evening in Cairo to get the better of Germany’s Raphael Kandra.
Soliman came out firing in the opening exchanges, showing his class and putting the German No.1 off his game early on. He took the the first 11-3, and then held a comfortable lead in the second, before Kandra had to receive treatment to a bloody knee.
The break almost did the German good, as he came back on and put together a string of points to hold game ball. However, Soliman saved it, won the game 12-10, and then went on to win the third as well, with the World No.19 struggling with that problem.
“I had my plan, but as you can see, Raphy is one of the most experienced players on Tour. The way he came back after the blood injury, he caught me off guard, so to close out the second game was crucial,” Soliman said.
“Definitely glad that I did close it out and then the third was alright! I am hoping he is okay, nothing too serious, and helpfully not a bad injury!
“For sure, I want to thank my new coach, he is here, so thank you for coming! It is far away for him. My brother as well, he has been with me forever, he has always been there for me! Thank you guys for coming, and we have one more push, let’s do it!”
Crouin reaches biggest final to date
France’s Victor Crouin is through to the biggest final of his short career to date, making it into the final after defeating Egypt’s Omar Mosaad in a four-game contest.
The pair had never met on the PSA World Tour before, and despite having come through two five-gamers in the last two days, it was the young Frenchman who came out firing, winning the first game 11-2.
Mosaad fought back and played some high-quality squash in the second game to level the match up, but then Crouin showed his class, restricting the opportunities for the ‘Hammer of Thor’, to win in four and to advance to his first Bronze level final.
“It was the first time I have played Omar. We played once in training, but it was the first time on the PSA World Tour. I know he is a very dangerous player because he is so tall and he hits the ball so hard. So on the glass court with a bouncy ball, I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to be able to keep control of the ’T’,” Crouin admitted.
“It is a massive result because we are close in the rankings, so to beat him, it is good for me and for my ranking! We are all in competition, so to get that win at the start of the season, that’s great.
“It means a lot,” said Crouin on reaching the biggest final of his career. “I have been climbing the rankings slowly, I had a steady rise. I have won Challenger 5s, 10s and 20s, and then I won a Challenger 30 level event in June. So if I can win a Bronze then it means I have improved to the next level.
“That was my goal coming here, to win the title. it has been a hard week, coming through two five-gamers in the first two matches. It was a little more comfortable today, I hope he is okay because he felt a little hip issue, I think. Yeah I am just really happy to be through.”
El Tayeb dispatches Gilis to reach final
Former World No.3 Nour El Tayeb is into her first final on Tour in almost two years, and her first since becoming a mother, after she brushed aside Belgium’s Nele Gilis in the last four of the CIB Zed Squash Open in Cairo on Saturday evening.
El Tayeb, who is continuing her return to the Tour after giving birth to her baby daughter, is currently the World No.11, and she took on World No.12 Gilis in the semi-finals in Cairo, but was in scintillating form to take victory in half an hour.
It was their third meeting this year, with the last two wins being shared between them. This clash though, was always El Tayeb’s after she won the first game 11-1. In total, she dropped just 11 points across three games, to reach her first final since the Manchester Open in September 2020, when she defeated Camille Serme to clinch the PSA World Tour Silver level crown.
“It’s amazing obviously to be back near the top ten, and I feel like I am playing well. I feel like I deserve to be there so it is nice,” El Tayeb explained. “Today was a tough match. I knew coming up against Nele was going to be a tough one because she beat me a few months ago. I am glad that I played well and i was able to stay focussed throughout the whole match.
“It is still the first tournament. We can’t look too far ahead because I have the final tomorrow, and I am playing a very good player whoever it is. I am definitely excited to be in the final, I haven’t been in a final for a couple of years, so I am looking forward to the final.”