ElShorbagy & Gohar Bag Black Ball Titles
8 Mar 2023
Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nouran Gohar are the 2023 Black Ball Open champions after achieving respective wins over Tarek Momen and Hania El Hammamy in the finals of the PSA World Tour Gold event at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo.
No.5 seed ElShorbagy won the event for the first time following a 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 victory over No.7 seed Momen. The title marks ElShorbagy's fifth of the season, taking the Englishman's career PSA Tour title total to 49 - which puts him joint fourth on the all-time men's winners list, tied with his illustrious compatriot Peter Nicol.
ElShorbagy, who had won 22 of 27 matches against Momen coming into the match, was pushed all the way by his opponent in a tense opening game before engineering some breathing space for himself by taking the second. Momen then squandered a 6-1 lead in the third game as the man known as 'The Beast' came back to seal the win in straight games.
"We go way back and have played so many times over the years," said ElShorbagy afterwards.
"We've been great rivals, with respect. In Egypt, there have been a lot of great champions, in the past, present and, I'm sure, in the future. For me, Tarek is by far the most consistent and best ever Egyptian player to have played in his 30s.
"We've had a great week here, there have been amazing matches in the men's and women's draw. We've had everyone speak about the quality of the matches and the quality of the sport. That's what we really want as a sport, I'm really happy that we can see that and I hope all the players can keep playing this kind of quality and we can take it to the next level at the next tournament and the tournament after."
Meanwhile, Gohar has successfully retained her Black Ball Open title following an 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 victory over No.3 seed Hania El Hammamy. It's the world number one's fourth trophy of the campaign as well as the 21st of her career to date.
It was a closely-fought contest as it always is between the two Egyptians and Gohar captured a crucial third game on the tie-break before powering to the win in the fourth to end a two-match losing run to El Hammamy.
"It means a lot to come back and win this," Gohar said.
"I had to pull out of the final at the ToC and it was heartbreaking for me. I've been consistent and have reached the final of every event, so I felt I had more. This week has given me a big boost and having my family here as well as my friends and the fans makes a big difference.
"She [El Hammamy] is such a competitor and she's very feisty. I enjoy our matches because we bring the best out of each other, which makes it more enjoyable when I win it at the end."
The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the Canary Wharf Classic, PSA World Tour Gold event, which will take place between March 12-17 at London's East Wintergarden. The event will be shown live on SQUASHTV.