12:53 am
22 Jun 2024

Asal & Gohar Bag Black Ball Titles

17 Apr 2024

Egyptian duo Mostafa Asal and Nouran Gohar have been crowned the 2024 Black Ball Open champions after defeating Ali Farag and Olivia Weaver in their respective finals of the PSA World Tour Gold event in Cairo.

No.2 seed Asal claimed his second title of the season after taking down world No.1 Farag in a superb four-game performance, while top women's seed Gohar claimed her third successive Black Ball Open title thanks to a powerful straight games victory over No.2 seed Weaver.

Coming into the men's final, Farag had lost to just one man all season long, world No.2 Paul Coll, but Asal was at his destructive best to bring this record to an end.

In what proved to be pivotal early moments in the match, 'The Raging Bull' saved three game balls in the first to clinch it in a tie break, before doubling his advantage with some superb attacking squash - with Farag having hit just two winners compared to Asal's 14 at this stage of the match.

Despite Farag regathering himself to take a third game, it was Asal who held on for victory in a scrappy fourth, taking it 11-8 to record one of the most impressive victories of his career.

After claiming his 14th Tour title - and consigning Farag to a fourth runners-up finish in the event since 2018 - Asal said: "It's an incredible moment. To be back winning another title has boosted me up for sure for the El Gouna Championships and the World Championships.

"I really want to thank everyone in my team, my family, and of course, my coach James Willstrop in Pontefract. They've done an amazing job for me and changed my squash life as well. So, I want to thank everyone, especially my family.

"I'm glad to be playing squash as it should be. It's a pleasure to play with Ali. He's an incredible player and an incredible athlete, so far this season he has been unbeatable too. So, to beat him tonight is an added bonus for my career. I wish him all the success for sure."

Meanwhile, world No.3 Gohar won her first PSA World Tour title of the season in convincing manner, ending the impressive campaign of Weaver by an 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 scoreline in just under 40 minutes.

'The Terminator' delivered a relentless performance on the all-glass court at the Black Ball Sporting Club, starting in her trademark aggressive style and never letting the world No.9 settle into the match.

Gohar hit aggressively down both wings throughout the contest, rushing Weaver into some uncharacteristic errors and testing the American's movement with the smart use of her boast.

After sealing victory at her local club - the 24th Tour title of her career - Gohar said: "As I have said before, this is home, literally my home. I live like five minutes away from here and I'm very thankful to the Black Ball management team that I can hit when I want. I'm very lucky to have such a facility. This is the best facility, not just in Egypt, but in the world.

"It's just amazing to be honest. I was very happy to not be playing an Egyptian, because sometimes it is half the crowd on your side and the other half for the other player. But today they were all cheering for me."