On a very surprising second day at the PSA World Tour Bronze level Open de France de Squash, Egypt’s Fayrouz Aboelkheir and France’s Auguste Dussourd were among those that got the better of higher-ranked players to advance to the quarter finals in Nantes.
16-year-old Aboelkheir opened the evening’s glass court action, and she quietened down the home crowd with a confident performance to over French No.1, and the tournament’s No.4 seed, Melissa Alves.
The pair had never met on the PSA World Tour, and it was the young Egyptian that started the stronger of the pair, with her pace and power putting Alves off her rhythm slightly. She came through to take first game 11-9, to hold the advantage in the best-of-three contest.
The second game followed a similar pattern, as once again, it stayed within two points throughout. It went on into a tie-break, with Alves saving two match balls early on in it. The Frenchwoman then had her chances to extend the match but Aboelkheir was able to eventually come through it 15-13, to book her spot in the quarter finals, where she will face close friend Nour Aboulmakarim, who also caused an upset, as she defeated France’s Enora Villard in straight games on the traditional courts at La Maison du Squash.
“I am so happy. The court is a bit bouncy but I like it! All credit to Melissa, she is a top player and no-one can deny that. Being on court with here was a pleasure for me,” Aboelkheir said.
“Winning in front of this crowd.. Before the match, I was a bit worried, obviously being so loud and being against the French No.1, it was really tensing and all credit to her. I am happy with the way I played and I am happy to now be playing Nour [Aboulmakarim], we are good mates in Egypt. I am glad to be in the quarters!
“I started playing squash when I was 4 years ago. My mum would go to work and leave me there, I was like any other child, seeing a ball and racket, I wanted to play! It has been my dream to be in such big tournaments, and all credit to my coaches and family, they are the main reason I am here now. It is not about the quantity, but the quality of coaches and the people you have around you.”
The biggest surprise in the men’s draw came in the afternoon session at the traditional courts, as Auguste Dussourd came through the all-French battle against Gregoire Marche, winning in a deciding game.
The pair had met twice before on Tour, with Marche having won both of those, including at the CIB PSA World Championships earlier this year. Dussourd started well though, and controlled the opening exchanges to win the first game rather comfortably.
He went away from his gameplan in the second game, allowing Marche to fight back to level the match, but a sharp start from the lower-ranked Frenchman gave him the momentum early on in the third, and he went on to win it without dropping a point, taking down his nation’s former No.1, and to move into the quarter finals on home soil.
“I feel great! After a victory, it always feels great. I was playing well tactically. At the start of the match, I was controlling the rallies and the pace, but then in the start of the second, I was 4-2 up and I completely changed,” Dussourd admitted.
“I started to attack from the back, to cross a lot in the middle, so many bad errors. I was forcing my shots and he took the lead. At the start of the third, I had to make zero mistakes. If he was going to beat me, then he had to win all 11 points.
“When I don’t make mistakes, I am tough to beat and that is what happened, I was consistent, hitting it tight, and I think at 6-0, he started to break a bit. I felt it and I pushed more, going to win it quite comfortably in the end. I am proud of the mental part, and to be consistent feels really good!”
Elsewhere on the second day, the Egyptian duo of Nardine Garas and Salma Eltayeb also caused upsets, with England’s Declan James and Mexico’s Leonel Cardenas joining them in taking surprise wins to make the quarter finals of the Bronze level competition.
Second Round Results
Men:  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Nick Wall (ENG) 2-0: 11-4, 11-7 (19m); Declan James (ENG) bt  Shahjahan Khan (USA) 2-1: 4-11, 11-5, 11-9 (51m);  Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 2-0: 11-8, 11-5 (39m);  Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Charlie Lee (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-4 (31m);  Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Aly Abou Eleinen (EGY) 2-0: 11-3, 11-6 (26m); Leonel Cardenas (MEX) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (30m);  George Parker (ENG) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 2-0: 11-3, 12-10 (28m); Auguste Dussourd (FRA) bt  Gregoire Marche (FRA) 2-1: 11-6, 6-11, 11-0 (41m)
Women:  Tinne Gilis (BEL) bt Satomi Watanabe (JPN) 2-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 (30m);  Nicole Bunyan (CAN) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 2-0: 15-13, 11-9 (33m); Nour Aboulmakarim (EGY) bt  Enora Villard (FRA) 2-0: 11-6, 11-9 (22m); Fayrouz Aboelkheir (EGY) bt  Melissa Alves (FRA) 2-0: 11-9, 15-13 (33m);  Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Cristina Gomez (ESP) 2-0: 11-6, 11-2 (18m); Nardine Garas (EGY) bt  Lucy Turmel (ENG) 2-1: 13-11, 3-11, 11-5 (35m); Salma Eltayeb (EGY) bt  Cindy Merlo (SUI) 2-0: 11-5, 11-4 (13m);  Nele Gilis (BEL) bt Marie Stephan (FRA) 2-0: 11-6, 11-7 (25m)