8:56 am
16 Jul 2024

Coll & Gohar Capture Windy City Open Crowns

3 Mar 2022

New Zealand's Paul Coll and Egypt's Nouran Gohar are the 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family champions after respective wins over world No.17 Youssef Ibrahim and world No.3 Hania El Hammamy in the finals of the PSA World Tour Platinum events at the University Club of Chicago.

Coll came back from the brink of defeat against the unseeded Ibrahim as the new men's world No.1 overturned a two-game deficit to run out a 7-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 winner, getting his hands on his first Windy City Open crown and his second PSA World Tour Platinum title.

Ibrahim, the first unseeded player to reach the Windy City Open final since 2012, was magnificent in the opening stages as his free-flowing, attacking brand of squash blew his opponent away.

However, Coll - who became the first man from New Zealand to top the world rankings the previous day - never admitted defeat and dragged himself back into the contest with some long, physical rallies taking their toll on Ibrahim. Coll then held his nerve in a nail-biting decider to complete the win in what is, at 96 minutes, the longest Windy City Open final ever.

"I thought I played pretty well," said Coll after winning his 18th PSA title.

"Youssef was incredible. He was so tight to the back and I'd put a drive one foot off the wall and he'd roll it out of the nick. To play like that in his first platinum final is a mark of a great player, he's a danger to everyone.

"This week has been a hugely emotional week for me, going to No.1 was the best thing that's ever happened in my squash career. I really wanted to win this tournament whilst going to No.1."

Meanwhile, Gohar captured her third successive Platinum title after a 15-13, 11-9, 11-8 victory over El Hammamy saw her win her first Windy City Open crown. The win also sees her become the first female player since Malaysian legend Nicol David at the 2015 Hong Kong Open to win a Platinum event without dropping a game.

It was a repeat of the 2021 US Open final and Gohar came out on top once again to add the Windy City Open triumph to her collection of major tournament wins this season, which includes September's CIB Egyptian Open in front of the famous Great Pyramid of Giza.

It's Gohar's 15th PSA title and her fifth of the 2021-22 season. Gohar and Coll both win over $35,000 in prize money for their efforts in Chicago this week, while Coll secures automatic qualification for the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in June. All Platinum title winners - as well as the PSA World Champions - qualify for the PSA World Tour Finals, with the remaining spots being allocated to the highest ranked players on the CIB Road to Egypt Standings.

"Wow, that was tough, that was really tough," said Gohar afterwards.

"I know we've been playing for over an hour, Hania was retrieving everything and it was very tough out there. I'm glad I didn't drop a game in this tournament. I can't really believe it, the first time I came to Chicago I was 15 and I was in qualification on the traditional courts. I was just dreaming to be on the glass court, not even to win, and now seven or eight years later I'm winning the event, it's huge for me."