8:46 pm
19 Jun 2024

Farag & El Sherbini Reclaim World Crowns

23 May 2022

Egyptians Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini, both ranked two in the world, secured the 2021-22 CIB PSA World Championships titles after beating compatriots Nouran Gohar and Mohamed Elshorbagy, respectively, in epic finals in Cairo.

Both finals were repeats of the 2020-21 World Championship finals in Chicago, with the outcome also the same as El Sherbini and Farag conquered their compatriots in memorable performances at the Egyptian National Museum of Civilization.

El Sherbini is celebrating a sixth women's PSA World Championship title following an 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 victory in 56 minutes over world No.1 Gohar. That win puts her clearly in second place on the all-time tournament's women's winners list, with just Malaysian icon Nicol David ahead of her with a record eight World Championship titles.

The Alexandria-born player utilised all her trademark accuracy and experience as she was forced to come from one game down in her first tournament back since retiring from the CIB Black Ball Open final due to injury, also against Gohar, in March.

"It's always a dream for me to win this tournament and I wait for it every year," said El Sherbini afterwards. "It's been very hard, the last couple of months.

"Nouran is the best player right now. Every match is a challenge, she challenges me more and it's hard playing her and it's getting tougher. The last time we played, it wasn't the best match between us. I didn't finish the match, so it was a bit challenging for me to come and play her again in the final of the World Champs after pulling out of the Black Ball Open.

"She's the one I'm challenging right now and she's the one I'm looking up to now. Both of us are challenging each other for the No.1 spot. She took it from me and now I'm looking to get it back."

Farag, meanwhile, claimed his third PSA World Championship title after coming from 2/1 down against 2017 World Champion Elshorbagy to triumph 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-2 in 74 minutes.

Both players were subjected to brutal five-game encounters in their semi-final matches but backed up well as they put on a show for the packed out crowd in Cairo. It was Farag who hit top gear in the fifth game to reign victorious as world No.3 Elshorbagy looked to suffer with fatigue in the closing stages.

As a result, Farag will reclaim the world No.1 ranking from New Zealand's Paul Coll in June's men's World Rankings.

Speaking after the final, Farag said: "I'm really happy to be done with the tournament; the pressure we live through every day. I didn't come into this week with that pressure, but then the week started and I felt the pressure.

"I'm super proud of my week, I had to go through a very tough draw. I had to go through a lot of tough players to reach the final and today, I'm playing against the greatest of our generation. I have a lot of people around me who, if I'm being honest, wrote Mohamed off after the past few months and I told them there's no chance Mohamed's going to go away without a fight. He's going to come back smarter and harder and he did. It's inspiring how every time he faces a challenge he comes back stronger, we saw it yesterday and here today. I'm extremely blessed to come out as the winner today."

This season's PSA World Championships is the sport's most lucrative with $1,100,000 in total player prize compensation on offer - split equally across the men's and women's draws. El Sherbini and Farag each take home $79,800 in prize money.