Former World No.3 Nour El Tayeb made a triumphant return to action after 14 months on the sidelines as she overcame fellow Egyptian Hana Ramadan to reach the quarter finals – just five months after giving birth to a baby daughter.
El Tayeb, who withdrew from the 2020 edition of this tournament last December due to her pregnancy, fought back from a game down to complete a stunning win over World No.33 Hana Ramadan, completing a 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 victory to move into the last eight of the PSA World Tour Gold event held at the Black Ball Sporting Club.
“I surprised myself with how I kept hope even after losing the first game,” El Tayeb said.
“I felt a little bit emotional when I saw my parents here, I felt like when I was growing up and they used to come to my matches when I was still a child. To play this way and win was good, although I got quite tense at the end.
“For me, I had to do something, I had to come back to squash, it’s the only thing I do well. I’m happy to have my family here for my first match and I can keep going with the comeback. It’s a nice challenge and I think I can do it.”
El Tayeb will lock horns with World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the next round. El Sherbini was El Tayeb’s most recent opponent before this week, with the reigning PSA World Champion beating El Tayeb at the CIB Egyptian Open in October, 2020. El Sherbini booked her spot in the last eight courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 win over Belgium’s Nele Gilis.
“The next round is going to be difficult playing Nour [El Tayeb] again, it’s amazing to see her back and winning,” said El Sherbini, who won the Platinum edition of the CIB Black Ball Open in March of this year.
“It’s always been a rivalry between us since we were juniors and have been travelling together, so it’s really good to see her back on court and to be playing against each other.”
Elsewhere, England’s Georgina Kennedy claimed the biggest victory of her career to date after she ended the title defence of her country’s No.1 player Sarah-Jane Perry. Perry won the Gold Black Ball event in December, 2020 but has bowed out in round two this year after Kennedy recorded an 11-7, 13-11, 11-6 victory to beat her first top five player.
The 24-year-old – ranked at World No.25 – will compete in the quarter finals of a PSA Gold event for the first time and she will line up against 19-year-old Egyptian Farida Mohamed, who also caused an upset as she took out World No.7 Joelle King. Kennedy is the only non-Egyptian left in the event.
“It’s definitely my best result, SJ has always been my an idol of mine,” Kennedy said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play her a couple of times and she’s taught me so many lessons. I’ve always taken something away to work on with my coach after playing her. I think today I played above my normal level and I sensed she was slightly off and I got some good dying lengths and that was the difference. I’m just so happy to be through.”
World No.27 Mohamed made it back-to-back wins over New Zealand’s King as she achieved a 9-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 12-10 victory in the opening match of the day. It follows up her shock win over the Kiwi in the Platinum Black Ball Open back in March, 2020.
“It’s interesting to play top players, the pressure isn’t on you but at the same time, it is time for me to rise up the rankings,” Mohamed said.
“Every tournament I try to take something positive from it to push me harder and get big wins in every tournament. Joelle is very experienced and she wanted her revenge. It was very hard from the first point, but I’m so happy with this win and I’m glad I managed to focus at the end.”
There were also wins for Nouran Gohar, Hania El Hammamy, Salma Hany and Rowan Elaraby.