World Champion El Sherbini Tested At El Gouna
28 May 2023
Egypt's world No.1 and reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini was taken the full distance in the El Gouna International before overcoming France's Melissa Alves, ranked 20 in the world, to advance to the last 16 of the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the El Gouna Squash Complex.
Despite dropping the first game, El Sherbini nudged ahead after winning the second and third. However Alves, whose short game was troubling for El Sherbini, dominated the fourth to draw level.
But El Sherbini's experience came to the fore secure a place in round three, where she faces Alexandra Fuller on the glass court.
"It was an unexpected match for me," said El Sherbini. "It was a bit tough and winning it in five was tricky, but I'm really glad I won this one. It's tough, Melissa surprised me and I'm happy I'm through.
"It was a bit hard playing on the traditional court and this court is a bit bouncy and a bit dead at the same time. She played yesterday on the same court so she's used to it more than me. I'm not a big fan of playing the first round on a traditional court. I'm happy I won it, I can close this page and look ahead to the next one.
Meanwhile, defending champions Mostafa Asal and Hania El Hammamy made successful starts to the defences of their Platinum titles. Former world No.1 Asal came from 2/1 down to defeat fellow Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim, while El Hammamy downed Mariam Metwally, also a compatriot, in straight games.
"It was a really difficult match," said Asal. "To be defending champion of the tournament, it's really difficult. It's so risky when you play one of the most talented players I've ever seen.
"It's different vibes (coming into a tournament as defending champion). You're imagining yourself holding the title again. Last year I won El Gouna and World Tour Finals so it was a good season for me. I think it's better than this season despite reaching world No.1. I'm so glad I got through against a really talented player. If we both stay injury free, we could dominate the sport."