9:18 pm
17 Apr 2024

Sensational Comeback Sees Aboelkheir Into Maiden PSA World Tour Final

29 Jan 2024

Egyptian teenager Fayrouz Aboelkheir came from 2/0 down to produce a sensational comeback to reach the final of the 2024 Carol Weymuller Open - her first-ever appearance in the climax of a PSA World Tour event.

Two games behind to her compatriot Salma Hany - who had four match balls in the fourth game after Aboelkheir halved the deficit by taking the third - before the 17-year-old triumphed in five to make it 50 wins on Tour and reach her maiden final at the Heights Casino in New York.

Second seed Hany, ranked 11 in the world, was in control in the opening two games, keeping world No.35 Aboelkheir at bay with the Egyptian teenager trying to apply pressure in the front of the court and take the ball in early as Hany went two games up.

Aboelkheir's relentlessness was rewarded in the third as she pulled one game back, and she looked to be exiting the tournament when Hany had four match balls. All four were squandered by the world No.11, who had another one in the tiebreak which she saw wiped away, as Aboelkheir converted her game ball chance to make it all square.

Every game between the Egyptian pair was close, and that followed into the fifth. Both players were using the front of the court well, but it was Aboelkheir who would profit with one match ball chance. Hany saved it, before denying Aboelkheir again.

However it was third time lucky for Aboelkheir, rounding off a remarkable comeback to progress to her breakthrough Tour final.

"I don't know what to say!" said the recently-crowned British Junior U19 champion afterwards.

"To come from 2/0 down against one of the best players on Tour in Salma, it wasn't easy at all. In the fourth I was down match ball and I'm happy that I regained my focus and found my length again.

"I was thinking I have nothing to lose. I was match ball down and I wanted to do my best. I didn't want to think about the score and then overthink on court - I just wanted to find my length back and go for my shots more."

Aboelkheir will meet another fellow Egyptian in the final after in-form Farida Mohamed stunned world No.10 Olivia Weaver to book her place in the decider with an emphatic 3/0 victory.

Mohamed, who was facing Weaver for only the second time on the PSA World Tour having met at the Tournament of Champions earlier in the month, was in scintillating form against the top-seeded US No.2 with her aggressiveness leaving the American short of answers.

The Egyptian lost their previous encounter, and she was on the front foot from the off and was unrelenting in her pursuit of a place in the final. Mohamed kept the rallies short by taking the ball early and finding winners from the back of the court.

After winning the first game in just six minutes, the second followed suit as Mohamed doubled her advantage in the same time, as an 8-0 lead was converted into an 11-6 win.

Mohamed, who will feature in a final on the PSA World Tour for the first time since the Netsuite Open in 2022, was pushing Weaver to the front of the court and putting her under pressure as she went 6-0 up.

Weaver needed a response, and she delivered as she reduced the arrears to two points at 9-7 down. However the Egyptian then had three match balls, converting at the first attempt to book her place in the final.

"I'm overwhelmed, but I'm pretty happy with my performance today," she said.

"I came in mentally strong and I needed revenge. I knew I would win as I had this mental mindset that I wanted to fire everything today and I'm really happy with my performance.

"I was ready physically and my squash was good. Mentally I was struggling in the last few years and it's been getting better every day.

"This tournament I came in and I wanted to be there and I wanted to put in my best squash and I'd had enough of the bad attitude I had on court. I think it worked out and I'm happy with that."