9:03 pm
25 May 2024

Farag & El Sherbini Win Windy City Open Titles

29 Feb 2024

World No.1s Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini have won the 2024 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family following respective wins over world No.3s Paul Coll and Nouran Gohar on finals night of the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the University Club of Chicago.

Farag had beaten Coll in the final of the 2020 Windy City Open and lifted silverware once again under the chandeliers of the Cathedral Hall at University Club following an 11-8, 5-11, 11-7, 15-13 victory which has seen him win his sixth PSA title of the season.

Farag has appeared in the final of all eight tournaments he has played this campaign, with 2022 Windy City Open champion Coll being the only man to beat him. Those victories came in the finals of the US Open and Hong Kong Open, meaning this was their third meeting in a Platinum-level final.

However, it was the Egyptian who gained his revenge in Chicago. With the scores poised at one game apiece, Farag went up the gears as he began to pull Coll all around the court to test the retrieval abilities of the New Zealander. Coll overturned five championship balls in the fourth but was ultimately unable to prevent Farag from capturing the 39th PSA title of his career.

"I'm very relieved after missing opportunities to finish out the match," said Farag afterwards.

"It's testament to Paul's character, he never gives up until the very end. I was preparing for a fifth game and I think that settled me down a bit and made me play a little bit better. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Paul the way he raises his game season after season.

"The University Club has played host to so many amazing battles and so many amazing memories. Thank you to all the sponsors throughout the years. We're missing the Walter family this year, but they have shown incredible support for our sport and it's one of the reasons we will be playing the Olympics in 2028. Thank you to them and everyone who has put this together."

El Sherbini has also lifted her second Windy City Open trophy after she got the better of Gohar by an 11-7, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4 scoreline to win her sixth tournament of the season - and the 40th Tour title of her illustrious career.

The Egyptian pair were going head-to-head for the 30th time on the PSA Tour, with El Sherbini having won 21 of the previous 29 meetings, including the final of Tournament of Champions just over a month ago.

That match had seen El Sherbini fight back from 2/0 down to deny Gohar a first title since returning from a plantar fascia injury in her heel. It was a more controlled performance from the reigning World Champion this time around, with a second-game wobble the only blemish in an otherwise dominant performance.

"I'm happy that I played the squash that I wanted to play today," said El Sherbini.

"This is one of the best seasons [in her career]. I've been playing really well from the start of the season, I don't think I've won this many tournaments in one season, but I still wouldn't say this is my best season. I'm happy with it, but I want to stay motivated for the rest of the season.

"There was a lot happening the whole week for me, there were a lot of things on my mind. I'm glad I got them out and I just tried to focus on today's match. I was almost out in the second round and I wasn't happy with my performances. Nouran has been playing amazing from the first match, so I just tried to enjoy it and I'm really happy that I played well today."

El Sherbini's and Farag's victories are particularly special given the Windy City Open has marked its 40th anniversary this week, while the opening day of the tournament marked 50 years since the creation of the International Squash Players Association, which would later become the Professional Squash Association (PSA).

The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the Canadian Men's Open presented by AirSprint Private Aviation, PSA World Tour Silver event, which will take place between March 3-7 at the Bow Valley Athletic Club in Calgary. The event will be shown live on SQUASHTV.