Clinical Performance Takes Gohar to Quarterfinals on Opening Night
September 24, 2021 By Jay Prince no Comments
[No. 1 Seed Nouran Gohar Rolls Into Quarterfinals]
September 23, 2021
The men’s No. 1 seed, Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy, opened the evening session on day 1 of the Oracle NetSuite Open by looking to extend his perfect 7-0 record over countryman Mohamed Abouelghar. However, Abouelghar had other plans at the start and raced out to a commanding 8-2 lead in the first game before Elshorbagy stepped up and put away four winners to narrow the gap. Fortunately for Abouelghar, that effort wasn’t enough as he wrapped up the game, 11-9.
From there, Elshorbagy came to play. While the second was close for the duration, Elshorbagy secured it 11-8, before firmly establishing himself in the third to cap his 8-0 record over Abouelghar.
Next up was the first women’s match of the evening, which was methodical, clinical, and relentless. That pretty well sums up top-seeded Egyptian Nouran Gohar whenever she steps on the court. Tonight was no different as Canada’s Hollie Naughton threw everything she had at the World No. 2 but could not find a way to make her crack. From the outset, Gohar established her length and punishing boast, particularly from the forehand side. While not necessarily outright winners, those boasts reached deep into the legs of Naughton to slow her down. When it was done, Gohar advanced to the quarterfinals with a convincing 2-0 win, 11-6, 11-7.
The longer points go on, the more New Zealand’s Paul Coll takes control of nearly every match he plays. Tonight’s pairing with Egypt’s Youssef Ibrahim, who just started his senior year at Princeton University, was a classic example of Coll grinding out games to win matches.
One of the most athletic players on the PSA World Tour, Coll is more than happy to wait his opponents out while, at the same time, imposing pain on himself by refusing to let a ball go without an effort to keep it in play. In both of their games tonight, Coll and Ibrahim were even from the start to the midpoint before Coll wrested control by building a gap of two or three points. The result was Coll, seeded No. 4 here in San Francisco, moving on to the quarterfinals where he will face Marwan Elshorbagy on Saturday afternoon.
Egyptian World No. 5, Hania El Hammamy, made her debut in San Francisco against American stalwart Olivia Clyne. For the better part of the first game, Clyne kept El Hammamy under pressure, even reaching game ball before the game slipped through her fingers. After that, El Hammamy took complete control as Clyne simply ran out of answers for the Egyptian’s patient variety of play, mixing deep drives with high straight lobs down the left wall. After securing the match, 13-11, 11-6, El Hammamy next faces New Zealand’s Joelle King in the quarterfinals.