Ashour & El Sherbini Charge To China Open Success
3 Sep 2017
Egyptians Nour El Sherbini and Ramy Ashour, the current women's world No.1 and former men's world No.1, respectively, claimed the honours at the 2017 JP Morgan China Open today - prevailing in two all-Egyptian finals to take the first major honours of the 2017/18 PSA World Tour season.
On the top of The Peninsula Hotel, overlooking the iconic Bund in Shanghai, El Sherbini dominated compatriot Nouran Gohar to take the women's crown in straight games - while Ashour, who last tasted tournament success in nearby Hong Kong twelve months ago, came through a captivating five-game affair with tournament top seed Ali Farag.
Ashour started strongly, replicating the form that took him to a straight game wins over Daryl Selby and second seed Marwan Elshorbagy during the past two days as he varied the pace to unsettle Farag and take a 2/0 lead.
Undeterred, Farag fought his way back into the match and, following a drop in level from Ashour, forced a decider. But, over eager to reach the finish line, the younger man began to give away errors, allowing Ashour to come through 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 2-11, 11-5.
"I'm very, very happy to win," said Ashour.
"I've enjoyed being here this week - it's my first time competing in Shanghai. I always seem to play well in the Far East, I'm not sure why but I feel comfortable in this part of the world.
"And with a venue like, with these views, it makes me proud of our sport. But I couldn't have done it today without the team who've been behind me both at this event and back home.
"Ali is a very fair and smart player and it was a great battle on court today - and I hope we are going to have many more in the future."
After the match Farag said: "It was a great match. He's one of the most naturally gifted players ever to play the game so to be on court pushing him to five games in a final was a privilege for me. We both gave it our very best.
For 21-year-old El Sherbini, the win sees her extend her lead in the Women's World Rankings courtesy of the routine 3/0 win that saw her inflict a third consecutive China Open final defeat on 19-year-old Gohar.
"I'm really happy - it's a great start to the season," said El Sherbini.
"I'm happy with the way I played and the level of my performance. I had no real expectations today - I was just focusing on my game plan and I think the first game gave me a lot of confidence.
"So I'm happy with the way it came together today and hopefully I can continue to play well throughout the season."