3:09 am
26 Feb 2024

French Duo Flourish In Florida

12 Jan 2024

French duo Sebastien Bonmalais and Gregoire Marche defied the men's seedings in the SmartCentres Kinetic Florida Open in Boynton Beach to secure unexpected places in the quarter-finals of the first PSA World Tour Gold event of the New Year.

Marche, the world No.28, got the better of Egypt's No.8 seed Mohamed ElSherbini in an 83-minute five-game encounter, whilst Bonmalais overcame seventh seed Miguel Rodriguez in straight games in his career-first win over the former world No.4 from Colombia.

"I think it's the best match I've had in my career," said Bonmalais afterwards.

"I'm happy to win, Miguel is very strong and very dangerous. I usually struggle to play him because he's fast and I don't like people who are fast like me, but I managed to slow down the pace and focus on my shots being very tight."

In the women's event, Nouran Gohar made an emphatic return to action following a lengthy injury layoff, beating fellow Egyptian Zeina Mickawy 3/0.

Gohar last played on the PSA World Tour at the Qatar Classic in September, but she dominated proceedings here as if she'd never been away, taking just 27 minutes to book her spot in the last eight.

Games one and two were comfortable for the world No.2, but it was her performance in game three that will have put her competitors on notice, with Gohar recording a bagel to complete the victory.

"It feels great," she said moments after victory.

"Obviously, it takes you a while to get used to the court and the movements, even if you're training, it's completely different to a tournament and it has been almost six months, so it's been quite a long time, but I'm glad to be back for sure."

Speaking about the process she went through to get back to playing again, Gohar added: "It's funny, I was literally learning how to walk again, it felt so weird to not be able to walk for a while.

"I was tying my shoes and not able to take two steps in a row and I was in so much pain for so long as well, so to be pain free is an absolute pleasure. And I just think it can get better, that's the good part, that's the positive about it, I can see myself improving every single day."

Discussing the 11-0 scoreline in game three, the Egyptian revealed that she was solely focused on playing good squash.

"I was just trying to find my range again, find my weight of shots and feeling comfortable on court," she said.

"I was just in the zone, not really thinking about the score to be honest, I was just thinking about where I'm hitting the ball."

Gohar was joined in the quarter-finals by compatriots Hania El Hammamy and Amina Orfi, who both won in the evening session to set up a mouthwatering rematch of their encounter at last season's PSA World Championships, which El Hammamy won 3/2.

Farida Mohamed, Mohamed Elshorbagy and Mostafa Asal were the other winners on day three.