8:52 pm
23 Jul 2024

El Hammamy & Asal Grab El Gouna Glory

4 Jun 2022

Egyptian duo Hania El Hammamy and Mostafa Asal are the 2022 El Gouna International champions following respective upset wins over Nouran Gohar and Paul Coll in the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the El Gouna Conference & Culture Center in the Egyptian Red Sea resort.

Women's world No.3 El Hammamy produced one of the greatest comebacks the sport has seen in recent years as she overturned a two-game deficit against world No.1 Gohar to lift her third PSA World Tour Platinum title.

It was all Gohar in the opening stages as the 24-year-old dominated the first two games and seldom missed a shot. However, El Hammamy grew into the match in the third as the fixture became a battle for supremacy, with a fiery El Hammamy coming back to level the scores, despite needing treatment for a blood injury sustained on her finger after diving for a ball.

Another blood injury - this time for a cut on El Hammamy's knee - came at the start of the fifth game, which seemed to disrupt Gohar's momentum as some uncharacteristic errors crept into her game. El Hammamy saw her opportunity and grabbed it with both hands as she stormed home in the decider to complete a 2-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 victory after 90 minutes of intense action.

"It's very special, I can't believe it," said El Hammamy after winning the ninth PSA Tour title of her career.

"A week ago I lost in the World Championships, I didn't really feel like I was ready to come here and play my best squash. Being able to beat the world No.1 and No.2 in the same tournament is a huge step for me, I've never done it. I felt like coming here I have to show up, do my job and try as much as I could to play my best, even if I'm not feeling like it.

"To beat Nouran, you have to keep digging in. I was thinking at 2/0 down that I was rushing and making a lot of errors, and I wanted to keep digging and keep putting in a performance. Slowly, I got back to playing my best, so I'm very happy with that."

In the men's final, world No.4 Asal has captured the second Platinum title of his career after taking out world No.2 Paul Coll with a superb 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 victory in 70 minutes.

Asal had taken out World Champion Ali Farag in the previous round, whilst Coll came into his second El Gouna final after ending world No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy's title defence in the semi-finals.

Coll had won his last two matches against the Egyptian, but tonight was all about Asal as he put in an impeccable performance to outplay the former world No.1, and he is rewarded with his sixth PSA title.

"I want to thank all of this crowd for coming today," said Asal afterwards. "It is something unreal so thank you guys for coming and supporting us and making squash bigger and bigger. I want to thank Amr Mansi and all the PSA for making this tournament. I couldn't be more proud of myself, it's been tough for me, playing the world No.1 Ali Farag and I'm really proud of myself and once again thank you to all the crowd for cheering for me.

"I also want to say the women's match was unbelievable. I want to congratulate Nouran and Hania because it was unreal. I also want to congratulate Paul [Coll], he's been world No.1 and I'm sure he will be there for many more months in the future and I want to congratulate Ali [Farag] for his efforts, all of my team, my coach and physio and thanks to my family and the Ahly Club."

The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the Necker Mauritius Open, which will take place between June 7-11 at the RM Club in Mauritius.