3:59 pm
21 Feb 2019

World's Top Two Players Lead The Way On Day Four At Grand Central

20 Jan 2019

World number ones Raneem El Welily and Mohamed Elshorbagy led the way on day four of action in the 2019 JP Morgan Tournament of Champions as all 12 matches went the way of the higher-ranked players in the PSA World Tour Platinum at Grand Central Terminal in at New York.

El Welily is appearing in her first PSA Tour event since overtaking fellow Egyptian Nour El Sherbini at the top of the PSA Women's World Rankings at the beginning of December. The 30-year-old kickstarted her title challenge with a resounding 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 victory over compatriot Mariam Metwally, ranked 23 in the world, in the second round of the women's event.

"When I got to No.1, I was just trying to enjoy myself on court and to do my best in every single game," said El Welily.

"To stay in the same form, I have to do the same things that got me to No.1, so I am still trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

"It is definitely good to be back in New York at Grand Central Station. It is one of my favourite tournaments all year, and I am just happy to be through to the next round."

India's Joshna Chinappa stands in El Welily's way in the next round after the world No.14 got the better of Belgium's Tinne Gilis in straight games.

2017 champion Camille Serme also got her tournament underway as she claimed an 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 win over world No.36 Milou van der Heijden in 30 minutes.

The world No.5 - who two years ago became the first Frenchwoman ever to win this tournament - will go up against England's Victoria Lust for a place in the quarter-finals after the No.13 seed toppled Hong Kong's Liu Tsz-Ling.

"When I came on the court for the warm-up, I was like a child," said Serme, playing her first tournament since marrying in December.

"I was excited and happy to be back here. I love playing in Grand Central station, it's my favourite tournament and I just want to keep playing here."

World No.4 Joelle King also claimed a victory on day four as she defeated Zeina Mickawy in four games. The New Zealander will now play 2014 champion Nicol David in a mouth-watering third round fixture. Eight-time World Champion David dispatched current World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby by a 3/0 margin.

"I haven't played her before and I haven't really seen her play, but I knew she was a World Junior Champion and that she is a fighter," David said. "She was really gusty out there. 18 years old, that was when I started on tour, she wasn't even born yet. It is really a thrill to be here in Grand Central, with equal prize money. It is an amazing event and we really are thrilled to be here."

World No.8 Nouran Gohar and world No.12 Annie Au were the other victors on day four as they axed Malaysia's Low Wee Wern and Hong Kong's Joey Chan, respectively.

The top half of the men's third round was also contested, with Elshorbagy and defending champion Simon Rösner advancing to the quarter-finals after respective triumphs over Egypt's Zahed Salem and Max Lee of Hong Kong.

Elshorbagy's 11-2, 12-10, 11-9 win over Salem will see him line up against world No.11 Diego Elias in the last eight. Elias dispatched Australia's Cameron Pilley to reach the last eight for the first time. The Peruvian will look to replicate the form that saw him upset Elshorbagy in November's Qatar Classic.

"Diego has been playing well this season," Elshorbagy said afterwards.

"We played once this season in Qatar where he got the better of me, it was the first time he got the better of me. He is someone who is going to keep me playing for so many years to come. There is no doubt he is a future No.1 and future World Champion."

Meanwhile, Rösner will clash with World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad, with Gawad coming through in five games to dispatch compatriot Fares Dessouky.

Rösner said: "I love Grand Central, I love New York and I love playing on this glass court.

"Hopefully I can get another win, but no matter how I go I am just enjoying being out here."