5:45 am
14 Jun 2024

Champions Farag & El Sherbini Make Winning Worlds Starts

10 May 2024

Reigning champions Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini kicked off their title defences at the 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships with respective wins over Todd Harrity and Jessica Turnbull at the Palm Hills Club in Cairo, Egypt.

Farag is on the hunt for a fifth World Championship title this week - which would see him surpass the legendary Amr Shabana to become the most successful Egyptian man at the event - however the world No.1 made an inauspicious start as an inspired Harrity took the first game.

The Egyptian took control in the second though and never relinquished his command of the match as he closed out an 8-11, 11-3, 11-1, 11-5 victory. The 32-year-old will go up against Scotland's Greg Lobban in the next round.

"Karim [Darwish] told me not to take any risks and to find my weight of shot," Farag said.

"I think it was Shabana who told me when I first started on the tour to take the game into stages, start with length hitting first, hit the back corners with angles, and then go to the front corners. I had Shabana's and Darwish's advice, so it couldn't get any better.

"There is pressure, you play this sport because you want to achieve the pinnacle of it, and the World Champs is that. I want to win it, but not any more than any other player, so it's a good kind of pressure and I hope I can take it positively into the next match."

El Sherbini had a contrasting start to Farag as she won the opening game of her match against world No.61 Turnbull without dropping a single point.

The world No.1 is aiming to draw level with the iconic Nicol David this week on eight World Championship titles and she made the perfect beginning to her title defence as she stormed to an 11-0, 11-4, 11-4 win after just 19 minutes over the Australian.

"I'm a slow starter, but I'm really happy with my performance today," El Sherbini said.

"I started strongly, I've been looking forward to this tournament and I hope I carry on playing like I did today. I don't want to put any pressure on myself. It's another tournament, another one in Egypt, so I'm going to stay motivated and take the support from the crowd.

"This is my first time ever at Palm Hills and it's another amazing place to be. The gym and the court is perfect for us. It's amazing to have all the kids coming to watch us and this is what you want for our sport."