2018 US Open Campaigns Successfully Underway For Title-Holders Farag & El Tayeb
8 Oct 2018
Defending champions Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb began their title defences in the FS Investments US Open in style with victories in round two of the PSA World Tour Platinum event at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Egyptians Farag and El Tayeb etched their names into the history books last year after becoming the first married couple in sporting history to win the same major sports title on the same day. World No.2 Farag began his title assault at the 2018 edition with a 3/0 win over Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller.
"It's never easy to start off against Nicky," said Farag.
"He's a very tricky player and he's very dangerous at the front of the court, so I had to keep my metal and keep it deep in the corners because I know that if I leave it at the front then I can't really read him because he's got all of those trick shots.
"One or two of those games could have gone either way, so I'm happy to get off with a 3/0 win."
Farag will take on Welshman Joel Makin for a place in the quarter-finals after he toppled Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, while world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy began his tournament with a comfortable 3/0 victory over US men's No.1 Todd Harrity.
Elshorbagy, a two-time US Open champion, lost out to Farag in last year's final, but he laid down a marker for the rest of the tournament as he downed training partner 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 Harrity in just 27 minutes.
"I really love playing here," said reigning World Champion Elshorbagy, who fell to Farag in the Oracle NetSuite Open final earlier this week.
"I have played in three finals here and won twice. This is also where I got to World No.1 in 2013 when I won the tournament, so I have good memories here and I really hope that I can keep that momentum going and hopefully I play another good event here."
Elshorbagy will play world No.11 Saurav Ghosal in the third round, where he will be joined by fellow Egyptians Tarek Momen and Karim Abdel Gawad, who defeated former world No.1 James Willstrop and Greg Lobban, respectively - Englishman Willstrop celebrating his 200th event on the PSA World Tour.
In the day's longest match, world No.20 Declan James came back from 2/0 down to defeat fellow Englishman Adrian Waller in a marathon 101-minute spectacle. His reward is a third round matchup with 2016 World Champion Gawad.
World No.3 El Tayeb dispatched India's Dipika Pallikal Karthik in straight games in the women's tournament and she will line up against Amanda Sobhy in round three after the US No.2 defeated England's Victoria Lust 3/1.
"Lusty and I have played a lot of times," said former world No.6 Sobhy.
"We know each other's game and I know how deadly she can be, but I was looking forward to getting into a solid match. She played really well so I really had to step up and play at that top level and I'm happy to win and move onto the next round."
Olivia Blatchford, the leading American in the women's game, is also through to the last 16 after taking out England's Emily Whitlock in four games. The world No.16 will take on World Champion Raneem El Welily, who overcame experienced Australian Rachael Grinham.
"Emily is a great player," said Blatchford following her victory.
"Our rankings are pretty much the same, so it's completely evenly matched. She came out firing and it was all super close and to be playing Raneem in the next round here is awesome."
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini began her tournament with victory over Hong Kong's Joey Chan to set up a third round meeting with world No.9 Alison Waters, while world No.11 Nicol David and world No.6 Laura Massaro - who have five US Open titles between them - will meet for the third tournament in a row and the 34th time on the PSA Tour after respective wins over Australia's Donna Lobban and England's Millie Tomlinson.
Sarah-Jane Perry also won on day two as she defeated Egypt's Nada Abbas. England's world No.8 faces India's Joshna Chinappa in the next round as she looks to follow up the Oracle NetSuite Open title that she won earlier this week.