8:50 am
22 Jul 2024

Asal & Farag Set Up Black Ball Final Rematch For El Gouna Climax

26 Apr 2024

Egyptian rivals Ali Farag and Mostafa Asal will go head-to-head for the second time in ten days in the final of the El Gouna International Open on home soil. Another of the nation's great rivalries will take place in the climax of the women's PSA World Tour Platinum event when top seeds Nour El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar lock horns.

Current world No.1 Farag and former world No.1 Asal will play out a repeat of last year's final after they got the better of compatriots Tarek Momen and Karim Abdel Gawad, respectively.

32-year-old Farag, a four-time World Champion and regarded as one of the game's best ever, played a high-quality encounter with the No.8 seed, picking up an 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 win.

Asal, who in January 2023 and aged just 21 became the third youngest man ever to reach world No.1, has been staking a claim as Farag's long-term successor, with the 22-year-old beating Farag in two of their last three matches, including last week in the final of the Black Ball Open in Cairo.

In the last semi-final of the day, he was far too strong for Gawad - also a former world No.1 - with 'the Raging Bull's' rapid-fire gameplan reaping rewards as he took the match 11-6, 11-8, 11-8.

Reacting after his match, defending champion Farag - who has reached the final of every event he has played this season, said: "I rate [the achievement] very highly. I'm very grateful and as we say, it takes a village!"

Asal commented on going in to the final as the lower seeded player, saying: "I love to be the underdog, always. Ali's an amazing character and player on and off court. It was a really good match in Black Ball, and hopefully it will be a repeat. Win or lose, hopefully it's a great show tomorrow."

In the women's event, defending champion and world No.2 Nouran Gohar reached her fifth consecutive El Gouna International final after decimating English world No.6 Georgina Kennedy 11-6, 11-4, 11-5.

The former world No.1 made a blistering start at the El Gouna International Conference and Culture Center and never let the intensity drop, requiring just 31 minutes to see off the No.4 seed.

Facing Gohar in the final is her rival for the world No.1 ranking, current occupier El Sherbini, with the 28-year-old beating Belgian world No.9 Tinne Gilis in straight games.

"I wanted to stay fresh for tomorrow's final because as they say it's a classic between me and El Sherbini and we really want to give a good show to the crowd tomorrow," Gohar said after her match.

El Sherbini, who fought back from a game down to reach her third El Gouna International final said: [Before I play I'm] nervous in a nice way. I don't think I'm nervous in a way that won't let me play good squash, I'm just nervous in a way that I'm eager and want to play and get the game started."