5:51 am
14 Jun 2024

Farag & Gohar Crowned Egyptian Open Champions In Giza

18 Sep 2021

After both overcoming the PSA World Tour Platinum event's top seeds, Egyptians Nouran Gohar and Ali Farag are the 2021 CIB Egyptian Open champions - following respective wins over compatriots Nour El Sherbini and Mohamed Elshorbagy in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza.

World No.2 Gohar was forced to do things the hard way by halting a fightback from defending champion El Sherbini and saving three championship balls in a five-game thriller on the way to her 11th PSA title.

This was the third successive final that the two players have faced each other, with world No.1 El Sherbini taking victories at both the PSA World Championships and British Open - but Gohar ended that streak with an emphatic performance.

The world No.2 found herself in a solid position after going 2/0 up, before El Sherbini settled into her rhythm and was able to fight back to draw level. From that moment it looked as though the world No.1 was going to snatch another title from her compatriot's hands, before Gohar dug deep to save three match balls to win her first title in front of the Pyramids.

"I felt like I was spending the whole night on the court," said Gohar afterwards. "I am enjoying these matches now. At the beginning, it was tough to lose but now I am enjoying it.

"I feel like I am growing every match and Nour did everything in this game. I just have to catch up with what she is doing. Having the rivalry with her right now is something big which I am really proud of.

"Playing the finals of all the big events is something I am really proud of and to win it today is something extra special for sure. I can't actually believe it is the first time I have beaten her in a final in front of the Pyramids, in front of my friends and family, in front of the home crowd. Nothing can beat this."

In the men's final, it was world No.1 Farag who mounted an impressive comeback when he came from two games down to defeat rival Mohamed Elshorbagy and defend his title at the PSA World Tour Platinum event.

Elshorbagy got off to the better start in the 14th PSA final meeting in four years between the pair, as he stormed into a 2/0 lead. But Farag showed his resilience to fight back and draw level, with fatigue beginning to get the better of world No.2 Elshorbagy.

Farag used this to his advantage, stretching out the rallies and moving his opponent around the court, to close out 6-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 in 74 minutes and claim the 23rd PSA title of his career, as well as strengthening his hold on the World No.1 spot.

"I am feeling amazing. It can't get any better," said Farag after his second Tour victory from 2/0 down in less than a month. "Playing at such a venue against the greatest rival of my career and the greatest of our generation. To be able to come back from 2/0 down is something that I am really proud of. As always, I am very proud to be able to share the court with such a great champion like Mohamed. I learn a lot from him every year.

"We have played in almost every Platinum event final, but we didn't play in the most special one until today. We delivered a match for the crowd that they really deserve."

Gohar and Farag take home over $41,000 in prize money each, which is the most lucrative winner's prize for a Platinum event ever, and qualify for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals.

The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the Oracle NetSuite Open, PSA Gold event which takes place in San Francisco from September 23-27.