Defending champion Nour El Sherbini got her Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open campaigns under way today with a respective win over Australia’s Belgium’s Nele Gilis at Hong Kong Squash Centre.
El Sherbini kicked off her title defence with a commanding display against World No.31 Nele Gilis, winning in straight games to ensure that she will hold onto her World No.1 spot for at least another day.
The 23-year-old’s 31-month reign atop the World Rankings will come to an end if she fails to match World No.2 Raneem El Welily’s results at this tournament, but she insists she only has her eyes set on retaining her title for the time being.
"I’ve been World No.1 for a long time and this was going to come sooner or later," El Sherbini said.
"It’s always challenging and I haven’t been on the edge a lot, but I’m just going to play and be positive and try to win the title. The first match is always important, winning 3-0 has given me a push to be ready for the next round and we will see how I go."
A mouthwatering encounter with 2016 runner-up Amanda Sobhy awaits the Egyptian in the next round after the United States No.1 got the better of Hong Kong No.1 Annie Au in four games.
Sobhy, the World No.13 from Boston, contested a highly entertaining battle with her fellow left-hander and took the first game, before Au – cheered on by the partisan crowd – threw everything at her opponent in the second to draw level. However, Sobhy kept up her attacking brand of squash and prevailed in games three and four to book her place in the next round.
“I’m happy, I love Hong Kong,” Sobhy said afterwards.
“I have fond memories here. I got to the final here a few years ago so it was disappointing to miss it last year, but I was looking forward to it this year. I have a tough draw, but everyone is tough and the level is really deep at the moment."
World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry and World No.9 Tesni Evans will contest an all-British third round encounter after they overcame Zeina Mickawy and Julianna Courtice, respectively. Perry and Evans met at last month’s U.S. Open, where Evans ended a six-match losing streak against Perry to become the first Welsh player ever to reach the semi-finals of that tournament.
World No.3 Nour El Tayeb is also through after beating England’s Fiona Moverley, and she will play India’s Joshna Chinappa for a place in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, World No.7 Joelle King defeat Mayar Hany by a 3-1 scoreline and will go up against World No.20 Hania El Hammamy after she axed US No.2 Olivia Blatchford Clyne.
The second round continues tomorrow (November 21) as 2017 runner-ups Farag and El Welily begin their tournaments. Play begins at 12:00 (GMT+8) and will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
Results - Women’s Second Round (Top Half): 2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (27m)
Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6 (38m)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Julianne Courtice (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (29m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 (40m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt Mayar Hany (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5 (30m)
Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (29m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3 (36m)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (27m)
Draw – Women’s Second Round (Top Half): To Be Played November 21
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Rachael Grinham (AUS)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Yathreb Adel (EGY)
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Draw - Women’s Third Round (Top Half): To Be Played November 22
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)