R2: Ali/Adrian, Marwan/GregL

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1 Adrian Waller (ENG) 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 (38m)

PSA reports

World No.2 Ali Farag got his title challenge under way as he defeated Adrian Waller of England 3-1.

Farag, the 2019 El Gouna International winner, comes into this tournament off the back of lifting a third World Championship title last week in Cairo and there were moments throughout his clash with Waller where he looked a bit sluggish.

But Farag – who will go back to World No.1 on June 1 – had enough to see out the win in four games after Waller had come back to win the third, and he will take on World No.19 Raphael Kandra in the next round after the German upset Windy City Open finalist Youssef Ibrahim.

Ali

“Adrian is very smart tactically, especially on the backhand side. He might not be the best mover into the front two corners, but he definitely compensates with his brand of squash. It was never easy, even in the first two, and then in the third he came back hard at me, but I’m very happy to clinch that one.

“I took a day off after the World Championships and then the next day I was on the bike and did some exercises for recovery, then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I was back on court again.

“Even if I’m 30, I’m still experiencing new things, so every time I have to play it by ear and ask my coaches for their experience.

“Today, I was a bit sluggish with my performance, it’s not easy off the back of the World Champs. It’s good to be tested very early on because it gets you sharper for the next rounds.”

[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2 Greg Lobban (SCO)  11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 (67m)

Marwan

Physically, I feel fine. To be honest, I’m happy to get the win today. I think that mentally, I need to get better, hopefully I’ll get better in my next match, getting better each match.

Mentally, this has been the worst/toughest season for me. It’s so easy when you are wining. You are on cloud 9, everything is just fine, you just need on a few things, just a few fine tunings. When I was WR3, or when I had a good season, it was simpler.

But when you start losing, you are questioning everything every tournament. But in a way, I am proud of myself because I didn’t give up this season. I’m still pushing myself, I’m still trying to figure out and get back to my best.

I’m still pushing myself mentally as hard as I can: I go to a tournament, I lose. The following week, I’m pushing hard for training, still trying to figure things out, and go to the next tournament, and still don’t get the result I want. And I’m not giving up. I’m sure it will work, as long as I keep pushing, as long as I am working hard. I am still hungry, the hunger is still there, 100%.

I’m looking forward for this season to end, and then, push myself for the next season. I’m quite happy to take a little break after this season, and use that time to my advantage and come back stronger next season.

Thing is: this is my 10th PSA season, and everyone of them was on the way up, my ranking was always improving so was my performance. This is the first time I have a bad season since I started PSA. So I just have to accept this season, and not go too hard on myself, I had only good seasons, one bad one is not going to make me kill myself. I’m only 28, I want to keep playing for a long time, and get back to my best hopefully… It will work, hopefully.