A number of surprise results lit up the quarter-final stage of the 2016 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions with Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy catching the eye after they both rose to cause stunning upsets against World No.1 Laura Massaro and England No.2 Alison Waters, respectively.
World No.10 Gohar had lost to Lancashire’s Massaro in all six of the pair’s previous meetings on the PSA World Tour but a virtuoso performance from the young Egyptian saw her end her losing streak with a 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 victory and add Massaro’s name to her list of scalps this season, which also includes Malaysian superstar Nicol David and World No.4 Camille Serme who she beat in August’s Stars on the Bund China Open.
“I’m so, so happy, I can’t feel anything right now,” said Gohar.
“It’s my biggest win. Laura is the World No.1 and she beat me six times before so to beat her 3-2 in a very tough match like this is awesome. It’s unbelievable for me.
“Laura is so strong. You can’t give her any balls in the middle so I was trying to keep my balls in the back and then attack.”
Sobhy will meet the Egyptian in a mouthwatering semi-final fixture after she achieved an impressive straight games victory over last year’s runner-up Waters.
Both players traded some fine drop shots in an even start to the match before Waters pulled away to amass three game balls at the end of game one. Sobhy battled her nerves though and came back with a number of thunderous drives to take five points on the bounce and move into a one-game lead in front of a partizan crowd.
From there, the triple PanAmerican Games Gold medallist dominated the fixture and swept to victory in the final two games to wrap up a 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 victory in 38 minutes and become only the second American-born woman to reach the last four of the prestigious Tournament of Champions.
“It feels great, I’m really relieved that I managed to win in the end,” said a delighted Sobhy.
“She started to come back and I thought I had it in the bag but she’s a strong opponent and she kept fighting until the end. I’m just very, very happy that I could pull through and get to the semi-finals. The first game is always critical because you want to go out there and make a statement.
“I told myself that I just had to keep fighting. Even at 10-7 down I knew that it wasn’t over yet. I knew how critical the first game was so I’m very happy that I won it.”
Meanwhile, World No.3 Nick Matthew had to call on all 18 years of his vast experience to recover from a 2-0 deficit and defeat Egypt’s Marwan Elshorbagy in the Men’s event - keeping alive his hopes of adding to the title he last won in 2012.
An irresistible display from Elshorbagy in the first half of the match looked poised to hand the 22-year-old his first victory over the Englishman but ‘The Wolf’ roared back with a performance that embodied the mental resilience that has personified his career, taking the match 10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 to move on to the semi-final where he will meet long-term adversary Gregory Gaultier.
“Credit to Marwan, I felt really good in the first game and felt like I was playing well,” said Matthew.
“I put together some really good stuff and all of a sudden I found myself 2-0 down and it shows you in any sport, but especially in this one, how quickly things can go away from you. I really had to regroup. I’ve not won from 2-0 down for a good while."
Results - J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10 (78m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (81m)
Draw: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Men’s Semi-Finals
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Women’s Quarter-Finals
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 (77m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 (38m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8 (74m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5 (56m)
Draw: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Women’s Semi-Finals
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Nicol David (MAS)
photos Janos Schmidt