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Chinappa stuns Nicol in El Gouna International squash

Joshna Chinappa returns during her surprise win against Nicol David

Bengaluru, April 24: India's Joshna Chinappa came up with one of the biggest victories of her career as she stunned Malaysia's eight-time world champion Nicol David 11-8, 11-8,11-8 in the pre-quarterfinals of the El Gouna International in Egypt, thereby earning her place in the quarterfinals of a Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series tournament for the first time since November, 2015.

Nicol was off the pace from the outset and Chinappa, who won a silver medal in the women's doubles event at the recent Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, attacked well to quickly build up a two-game lead.

The world No.14 then stormed into a 7-1 lead in the third and, despite a late fightback from her opponent, Chinappa held on in the encounter that lasted barely 32 minutes to claim her first-ever win over Nicol at the sixth attempt on the PSA World Tour.

"I don't know how I did it," Chennai-based Chinappa said.

"A few of us are just back from the Commonwealth Games, not just me, and that's one of the challenges of being an professional athlete.

"I knew I had a tough first round, then Nicol in the pre-quarters, so I had no pressure, and I just wanted to play freely and enjoy myself," added the Indian No.1.

Chinappa will play England's Laura Massaro for a place in the quarterfinals after the number four seed put in a professional display to overcome Hong Kong's Joey Chan in straight games (11-8, 11-4, 11-9).

Meanwhile, world No.1 Nour El Sherbini kept up her 100 per cent record in El Gouna as she defeated United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy in an entertaining five-game battle that lasted 52 minutes (11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6).

El Sherbini will go head-to-head with world No.6 Camille Serme in the next round, with Serme dispatching England's Victoria Lust 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 in just 21 minutes.

Meanwhile, world No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy come from a game behind to see off former world No.3 Omar Mosaad in the men's event in a match that saw the 2016 champion dig in to avoid an upset.

Mosaad started the match on the front foot as he showcased the thundering forehand drives that earned him the 'Hammer of Thor' moniker.

But El Shorbagy responded by hitting some fierce efforts into the front of the court and he came back to claim an 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 victory in 61 minutes to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rosner - who beat world No.25 Declan James.

The prospect of a semifinal matchup with younger brother Marwan remains intact after the world No.4 overcame Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-8 to ensure he will take on last year's runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad.

Gawad prevailed in a 58-minute battle with France's Lucas Serme and he will look to avenge a defeat to Marwan in the quarterfinals of December's PSA World Championships that prevented Gawad from retaining his crown.

(With PSA inputs)

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Story first published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 12:59 [IST]
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