10:24 am
17 Jun 2024

El Hammamy Ends Losing El Tayeb Run To Reach Hong Kong Semis

2 Dec 2022

Egypt's world No.3 Hania El Hammamy will appear in the semi-finals of the Everbright Securities International Hong Kong Open for the first time after ending a three-match losing run against compatriot Nour El Tayeb at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.

El Hammamy had not previously beaten El Tayeb since October 2020 and had only beaten the world No.6 in two of their previous 10 matches. In the early stages, it looked as if El Tayeb was on course to extend her winning run after an aggressive start to the match from the 29-year-old saw her take the opening game.

El Hammamy came out firing though and played some measured squash over the course of the next three games to run out a 6-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 winner.

"Playing against Nour is very tough, both mentally and physically," said El Hammamy.

"The last two meetings went in her favour and I wanted to focus on the things that I did wrong in the last two matches. She's an amazing player coming back from being a mother, she's had an incredible journey and it's very difficult to do what she's doing, and I don't want to be in her position as I know how tough it is.

"I have a lot of respect for her and I'm definitely glad to be through today."

El Hammamy will go up against bitter national rival Nouran Gohar for a place in the final after the world No.1 came through a testing encounter with Japan's world No.40 Satomi Watanabe.

Gohar, the 2016 Hong Kong Open champion, required two tie-breaks in the opening two games, but was in the zone during a one-sided third game to finally dispatch the surprise quarter-finalist. A win for Gohar over El Hammamy in tomorrow's semi-final will see her equal the women's record of 12 PSA final appearances in a single year, which is currently shared by Australians Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Michelle Martin.

"It was a great match, it's the first time that I've played Satomi," said Gohar.

"I know how it feels to cause an upset and then come back in the next match. She played really well and she had nothing to lose. I had to adapt to the conditions, especially coming up against a new player as well, so it was a bit tricky for me, but I'm glad with the way I dealt with it today."

2017 champion Nour El Sherbini and 2018 winner Joelle King will face off in the other semi-final. They beat Belgium's Nele Gilis and England's Sarah-Jane Perry, respectively to ensure that all four of the top seeds will feature in the last four.

The men's event will also see the top four seeds in the semi-finals, with Paul Coll, Diego Elias, Mohamed ElShorbagy and Mostafa Asal all advancing.

Coll, the world No.2, has reached the Hong Kong Open semis for the first time after he defeated world No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy to set up a last four battle with world No.4 Asal. Coll and Asal will meet for the first time this season, with Coll looking to avenge defeats to the Egyptian in the finals of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals and El Gouna International towards the back end of the 2021-22 campaign.

"He [Asal] seems to be playing well," said Coll.

"I didn't see any of his match, but he won in 30 minutes, and he's always a tricky customer. He's full of energy and you know exactly what he's going to get, it's going to be a tough battle."

Meanwhile, world No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy moved to within one win of a fifth Hong Kong Open final after he dispatched world No.9 Mazen Hesham in straight games to make it 11 wins in a row on the PSA World Tour.

The 31-year-old, who is aiming to win three titles in a row, was tested in the opening game by Hesham, but was in cruise control over the course of the next two games to secure the win after his opponent dropped off considerably. Elias will be ElShorbagy's semi-final opponent after the Peruvian defeated No.8 seed Youssef Soliman in straight games.

"We [ElShorbagy and Elias] are very close off the court," ElShorbagy said.

"He's probably the closest to me off the court out of all the players. On court we always keep it professional, and results-wise from the beginning of this season we've both been first and second in the World Tour Finals Rankings, so on current form we're the best two players right now."