5:29 pm
16 Jun 2024

Paris Finals Set For World No.1 Showdowns

2 Sep 2023

Today's Paris Squash 2023 finals at the Palais de Tokyo will see the world's top two men and women battle it out for the World No.1 spots in the PSA World Rankings.

Current world No.1 Ali Farag and world No.2 Diego Elias will face off in the men's final while world No.1 Nouran Gohar and world No.2 Nour El Sherbini will lock horns in the women's decider, with the winner from both finals taking top spot in the weekly World Rankings.

Farag had to overcome Paul Coll in an epic 96-minute five-game battle to book his place in the final, with box office squash from each other throughout.

The bar was set very from the off, as Coll surged back from 10-7 down to force a tiebreak. Coll had game ball saved by Farag, but the New Zealander had a second bite at the cherry to clinch the first which he took 13-11.

Epic rallies from both players got the sold-out crowd going as Coll and Farag were bringing the best out of each other. One of Farag's game balls was saved, but the world No.1 emphatically converted at the second attempt to level the match.

Farag had Coll covering plenty of the court in the third as he opened up a comfortable 8-2 lead before the Egyptian went ahead for the first time. But Coll dug in - fighting back in the fourth - absorbing plenty of pressure from Farag and he found his length to give the sublime battle the finale it deserved.

It was neck and neck in the fifth and Farag was in the driving seat with match ball at 10-9, but Coll pegged it back to 10 apiece. Farag made no mistake with his second match ball opportunity to defeat Coll in an outstanding match that concluded after 96 breathtaking minutes.

"It reminded me of our match at the British Open back in 2019," said Farag. "It was such a brutal match but I want to say that his quality - he's has got a lot better since then.

"He had me and he forced me to raise my quality and as I said on court, him and Rob Owen have worked wonders for the way he's been holding the racket and the way he's been playing the sport.

"These are the kind of matches you play for - you wait all day and once you're in there and you see the excitement of the crowd - it reminds me why I play this sport."

Elias, Farag's opponent in the final, saw off an out of sorts Mohamed ElShorbagy in straight games.

The Peruvian came flying out of the blocks in the opening game, which he took 11-9, but a back problem limited ElShorbagy's movement in the second and third games as Elias claimed both 11-1.

In the women's draw, Gohar maintained her 100 per cent record at this tournament as she dispatched Amanda Sobhy in straight games.

Gohar has yet to drop a single game during the event and, despite Sobhy testing the top seed's resolve, the Egyptian powered through.

After Sobhy got back to 9-9 from 9-4 down, Gohar was able to pull clear 11-9 in the first before doubling her advantage in the second 11-8 with the US No.1 making life difficult for the women's top player.

'The Terminator' was going from strength to strength in the third, exposing Sobhy's movement as Gohar had a 9-4 buffer, and she went on to take the game 11-4.

"It's always dangerous when you play a player like this who isn't playing their best and they manage to win the match at the end. I was very aware of this and when I was 2/0 up, I knew she would fight back and she has nothing to lose," said Gohar.

"Nowadays I'm the one who has everything to lose on court! I'm enjoying the pressure now and I'm happy with the way I played."

A familiar foe awaits Gohar in the final, as El Sherbini notched a 3/0 victory of her own against Gina Kennedy.

'The Warrior Princess' had the match sewn up in just 25 minutes, defeating the England No.1 11-7, 11-2, 11-5.