5:36 am
14 Jun 2024

Egyptians To Contest Egyptian Open Finals

17 Sep 2021

The finals of the CIB Egyptian Open will be all-Egyptian affairs featuring the world's top two men and women bidding for the PSA World Tour Platinum titles in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza.

World Champion Nour El Sherbini will line up against world No.2 Nouran Gohar in the women's climax. World No.1 El Sherbini, who captured this title in 2020, has made it four out of four finals in front of the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World after defeating world No.4 Camille Serme after the latter was forced to retire through injury in the fourth game of their semi-final match.

The Frenchwoman, who withdrew from last month's British Open due to a tendonitis in her right calf, looked out of sorts in the first game as her usual dynamic movement evaded her as El Sherbini comfortably took the first.

Serme gathered herself in the second to respond strongly to draw back level, before El Sherbini regained the lead after a blistering third game. The fourth provided all the drama though as Serme looked once again like she was causing problems for the World Champion and was in the lead at 9-8 before disaster struck and she fell to the floor clutching her right leg, before being carried in tears from the court as the victory went to El Sherbini.

"It is the worst ending of any match and you never want to win the match like this," said El Sherbini afterwards. "I am really sorry for Camille, she has been injured in the last tournament and she didn't have the chance to compete in the British Open and injuries is the worst enemy for any player.

"I was playing well, the whole match, even at the end, and I was still happy with my performance."

El Sherbini's opponent will be familiar rival Gohar in a repeat of the 2020 final after the world No.2 displayed a performance of utter dominance against USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy to reach her fifth final of the year.

Gohar took just 28 minutes to condemn Sobhy to a straight games defeat, and will meet compatriot El Sherbini in their third successive final on the PSA World Tour.

"Amanda is very experienced on tour and it is really tricky to play against her," said Gohar. "She is very skilful, she doesn't give up easily, so it was tough out there.

"Not only last year, but we [Gohar and El Sherbini] have been playing since the final of El Gouna. [Then] World Championships, British Open, all the big stages, and I am just happy that we are playing another one here, in Egypt.

"It is very special in front of the Pyramids. It is a very special match, and I think it is a treat for the crowd to watch it, so I am delighted to be playing against her again tomorrow."

The men's final will also see the world No.1 and world No.2 do battle as Ali Farag and Mohamed Elshorbagy go head-to-head for the PSA Platinum title.

Farag got the better of New Zealand's World No.3 Paul Coll in the last match of the day as he extracted his revenge following Coll's win over the Egyptian in the final of the British Open last month to win his first major title.

It was a different story though as Farag held his nerve and played some flawless squash to book a place in his 44th PSA final.

"I did have a plan and I think I executed most of it, but with the conditions, I had to adapt, and so did he," said Farag in his post-match interview. "The wind keeps getting harder every night.

"We both had to adapt to it and to mix the pace, and I was very annoyed with myself for losing that second game. I gave him a very cheap return of serve in the tin at 9-10, to get him back to 10-all. That changed the dynamic of the match completely. 2/0 to one-all would have been totally different. I am happy that I contained myself and came back in the third strong, and then the fourth, thankfully I scraped through."

Elshorbagy, meanwhile, was at his best to down former World Champion Tarek Momen in straight games as he looks to add the CIB Egyptian Open title to his already impressive trophy cabinet.

The Bristol-based Egyptian is appearing at the Pyramids for the first time since 2016 and he made it count with a formidable performance to set up a 14th final showdown in four years with compatriot Farag as the two continue to battle it out for the No.1 spot.

"I knew I had to start sharp, be aggressive and get a good lead in each game, which I definitely didn't in the first," said Elshorbagy. "In both the first and the third, I had to fight my way back and to get off in three against a quality player like Tarek, in the semi-final of a major, is obviously an ideal scenario. I am really pleased.

"It is my first time back here since 2016. [I have] probably won every other major in my career, but I haven't been able to get my hands on this trophy. The top players always raise their game at the end of the tournament, so I will give it everything I can for the final tomorrow."