Gohar & Asal Celebrate Historic World Tour Finals Wins
26 Jun 2023
Egyptians Nouran Gohar and Mostafa Asal were victorious on finals day at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, with the pair both making history in their own way as the 2022-2023 PSA World Tour season came to a close at the EDNC SODIC in Cairo, Egypt.
After first winning the event two years ago, Gohar secured her second World Tour Finals crown by defeating world No.3 and bitter rival Hania El Hammamy in a record-breaking clash which lasted for 130 minutes.
The match enters the history books as the longest-ever recorded women's match on the PSA World Tour, eclipsing the previous record - held by Mexico's Samantha Teran and USA's Latasha Khan in the 2008 Liberty Bell Open - by 10 minutes.
Matches between Gohar and El Hammamy now account for three of the top 10 after a 107-minute epic at the El Gouna International and a 105-minute battle at the PSA World Championships, all within the past two months.
The opening game of this contest went to sudden death, with the world No.3 holding the early advantage as she took it 11-10. The pair then shared the next two games, with El Hammamy regaining the lead again after game three.
However, 'the Terminator' would not be denied her second World Tour Finals crown. She won the fourth game comfortably, before the fifth game went on for almost 45 minutes. On several occasions on match ball, Gohar thought she had got the job done, celebrating albeit prematurely, as the video referee gave a 'Yes Let'. In the end, though, she managed to secure the victory, winning 12-10 in the fifth after a monumental 130 minutes of action.
"It was so hard out there," said Gohar.
"All credit to Hania, she always gives it a fight and if it wasn't her, I don't think we could play a match like this. A big match requires two big players and two fighters and she is one.
"I couldn't have done it without my family and my team here. They were incredible, all of them had a heart attack during that! The crowd also really pushed me really hard today, so thank you so much to them."
In the men's final, world No.4 Mostafa Asal has become only the second man after Peter Nicol in 1999, 2000 and 2001 to win three CIB PSA World Tour Finals trophies in a row after he took out top seed Diego Elias by an 9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 scoreline.
It was a scrappy match which gave the referees plenty to do, with a number of decisions throughout. Elias had succumbed to Asal in their Group A clash earlier this week, in what was also a match played out under controversial circumstances.
The final was no different, and it was the 'Peruvian Puma' who took the opening game as he looked to become the first South American to get his hands on the prestigious trophy. But he cut an increasingly frustrated figure as the match wore on, with Asal eventually grinding out the win in four games to secure his 12th PSA title and his fourth of the season.
"It means a lot, you know," sadi the 22-year-old champion. "Without them, without my fans, my team, my partners. Thank you guys for coming today.
"It is unreal [matching Peter Nicol's achievement]. I couldn't talk straight away after. It was tough today. Diego is a fantastic player and it was tough in all the situations today. He is one of the best players in the world.
"For sure, my father, mother and coach, Mohamed Elkeiy, they have been through all of it. Since El Gouna, I want to thank him a lot! After the ban, it was so tough for me, I am proud of everyone who has my back!"
The CIB PSA World Tour Finals 2022-2023 brings the curtain down on the PSA World Tour campaign, with the 2023-2024 PSA World Tour season set to begin in August.