4:33 pm
20 Jun 2024

Elias & El Sherbini Take ToC Titles

27 Jan 2023

Peru's Diego Elias and Egypt's Nour El Sherbini have captured the 2023 JP Morgan Tournament of Champions crowns, winning their respective finals under the chandeliers of Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

The 'Peruvian Puma' made the final of this event last year, losing out to then-world No.1 Ali Farag in an exciting battle. This year, he came up against another Egyptian, in Marwan ElShorbagy, in the final - and was in sublime form, winning the match in straight games to secure his second Platinum title of the season.

Elias came into the final after a gruelling 85-minute semi-final battle with New Zealand's Paul Coll - but showed no sign of fatigue in the opening exchanges, allowing 'the Jackal' to score just two points in the first game.

That form continued, and ElShorbagy had no answer for the Peruvian's play. Elias was too quick across the next two games as well, and took the victory after 50 minutes of action, becoming the first South American to lift the Tournament of Champions trophy.

"First of all, I am just super excited. I still can't believe it! It is like a dream come true. This tournament, it has always been my favourite," said Elias, who now has 13 Tour titles to his name.

"This is such an amazing city, and it's always full for all the matches. I can't believe I am here! I just want to thank everyone for making this tournament possible - JP Morgan, John [Nimick, Tournament Promoter] and everyone that has made it possible.

I also want to thank my team. The week it was very special, I had my dad, Jonathon [Power], Wael [El Hindi] and Greg [Gaultier], the four people who have helped me throughout my whole career. It is just like a dream come true, having them all here with me this week. Also to the people that have helped me in my whole career outside the career. To all my sponsors.. I want to thank everyone.

"To Marwan, I think he is playing great squash and I want to congratulate him, and I hope we can play many more finals together!"

The women's final was unfortunately cut short, with Nour El Sherbini claiming her fourth Tournament of Champions crown after world No.1 Nouran Gohar was forced to retire early in the second game.

Prior to that point, both women had shown glimpses of their very best squash, but neither had been able to put together a run of points. Gohar saved a couple of game balls late on, but it was the 'Warrior Princess' that won the opening game 11-9.

She then opened up a 3-1 lead in the second, before Gohar offered her opponent her hand, retiring from the contest, and relinquishing the crown she had claimed in New York City back in May. El Sherbini now has four wins in Grand Central to her name, adding the 2023 edition to her 2016, 2018 and 2019 triumphs. El Sherbini's 32nd Tour title also qualifies her for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals.

"There are a lot of people I would like to thank. Firstly, I would like to thank Nouran for what she said," El Sherbini said.

"As she said, we have had a lot of battles together from a long time ago and I am glad we are still having them now. I wish her a speedy recovery and hopefully she will be back again quickly, recover well and we can play another final at the next Platinum event hopefully.

"I just want to thank everyone back home. My parents, my brother, my sister, my fiance, everyone who has been supporting me and believing in me the last year and a half. I would also like to thank my squash coaches for all the support."

The PSA World Tour continues its American swing with a pair of events in the first week of February. The Cleveland Classic and Sturbridge Capital Motor City Open, women's and men's Silver level competitions respectively, will be shown live on SQUASHTV from February 1-5.