Germany’s World No.18 Raphael Kandra claimed one of the biggest wins of his career as he sent three-time champion Mohamed ElShorbagy out of the 2022 Allam British Open at the second round stage.
Kandra, 31, reached the semi finals of the iconic tournament back in 2018 and produced a performance reminiscent of that week in Hull as he overcame ElShorbagy by a 4-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5 scoreline to send the World No.3 to a surprise exit at the Allam Sport Centre.
It’s the first time since the 2013 British Open that ElShorbagy has failed to make it beyond the second round of this tournament, while Kandra advances to the third round of this event for the third time, where he will line up against Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.
“It feels fantastic, I have been waiting for a while,” said Kandra.
“I am quite an on-and-off player. I cause problems for the top guys, sometimes I sneak the win and sometimes I lose and then sometimes I lose to players ranked below me.
“My whole career has had a lot of ups and downs and I have a lot of memories from 2018, when I made the semi-finals. I love this stage, I love the crowd, and I felt good today. All credit [to ElShorbagy], he was still fighting to the end, it shows how professional he is, but I am so happy to be through.”
Like Kandra, Rodriguez has an affinity for the British Open and became the first South American ever to win the event four years ago.
Rodriguez won a high-quality battle to axe the highest ranked male British player and he will now take on Egypt’s Youssef Soliman for a place in the last eight.
“This was just my target for this event to play that match like a final,” said Rodriguez.
“It’s so tricky on these courts and Joel is so physically fit, he’s very hard to break down. But I thought I played the smarter squash when it counted today, and I’m just very pleased to win today and play again tomorrow.”
Elsewhere, World No.6 Diego Elias came back from two games down to overcome Youssef Ibrahim, while World No.25 Patrick Rooney is the last remaining Englishman in the draw after he got the better of former World No.3 Omar Mosaad to reach the third round of the British Open for the first time.
In the women’s event, 2019 champion Nouran Gohar got her event off to a winning start as she overcame Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam. Subramaniam dug in her heels and posed Gohar plenty of problems after a slow start, but Gohar’s extra quality made the difference as she closed out the wins in four games.
“It is one of my favourite courts, I like to play here and I feel comfortable,” said Gohar, who will overtake Nour El Sherbini as the women’s World No.1 on April 1.
“Siva played very well and took it on from the very beginning. It wasn’t easy, for sure, but I just had to dig in and find a way to win in the end. Physically, I am feeling good. Since Windy City, I have had back-to-back events, with Black Ball and the Nationals, and now straight to here. I am happy with the way my body is holding itself, and fingers crossed it can hold up until the end of this tournament.”
Gohar will take on USA’s Sabrina Sobhy next, while England No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry overcame close friend Lisa Aitken to set up a third round clash with Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, who beat Hollie Naughton of Canada.
“It is really hard playing one of your closest friends,” Perry said.
“I have a lot of friends on Tour, but Lisa is definitely one of the closest, so it is really tough. It is a lot easier out there when you’re warming up, when you can focus on what you’re doing. I was really pleased, not with the first few rallies though as Lisa came out like an absolute bullet there. Once I got into that first game, then I was pleased with it.”
Egypt’s Salma Hany became the first women’s seed to exit the tournament after she fell to India’s Joshna Chinappa, while World No.11 Georgina Kennedy overcame USA’s Olivia Clyne to reach the third round here for the first time.
The third round of the Allam British Open begins on March 30th and play begins at 12:00 (GMT+1). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.