11:53 am
19 Jul 2024

World No.1s Farag & El Sherbini Make World Tour Finals Semis

20 Jun 2024

After only two days of Pool action, world No.1s Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag have qualified for the semi-finals of the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals after respective wins over USA No.1 Olivia Weaver and British Open champion Mostafa Asal in Bellevue, Washington.

Held at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House, the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals features the top eight male and female players on the PSA World Tour Finals Leaderboard, with points on offer at all PSA World Tour events throughout the 2023-24 season. The group stage uses a round robin, best-of-three games format as players bid to qualify for the knockout stages.

Two-time champion El Sherbini was pushed to three games by world No.6 Weaver, but eventually came through to win 11-4, 10-11, 11-7 after 38 minutes. El Sherbini sits top of Group A on seven points and is guaranteed her spot in the semi-finals. Weaver is second on five points, one point ahead of Nele Gilis, who beat younger sister Tinne Gilis 2/0. Weaver and Nele will play off tomorrow for the chance to join El Sherbini in the semis.

"She came back strong," said El Sherbini afterwards.

"I had my chances in the second game... but I ended up losing the game. I was lucky at the end to be honest, but we've had some amazing battles this season.

"We've been playing almost every tournament and every time she's improving. But I'm always very grateful to be on the winning side."

Defending champion Nouran Gohar defeated last season's runner-up Hania El Hammamy to guarantee top spot in Group B. England's Georgina Kennedy is second in the group after beating No.7 seed Nour El Tayeb. The winner of Kennedy and El Hammamy will join Gohar in the semis.

Farag is guaranteed top spot in Group A after he made it two wins from two, following up yesterday's victory of Karim Abdel Gawad with an 11-10, 11-6 win against Asal to avenge his British Open defeat to the world No.2 two weeks ago. Farag now has the maximum eight points on offer.

Asal suffered an injury scare in the first game after a big lunge into the back left corner saw him crash into the side wall, but he later appeared unharmed and came back to test Farag. Asal will now take on Gawad to decide the second semi-finalist from Group A after Gawad came back from a game down to beat two-time champion Mohamed ElShorbagy.

"The first game, I was hitting my lengths, but then he was cutting it off," Farag said.

"I was cross-courting and then he picked me off really well. I had to dig deep and start to play it straighter, play it higher to get it past him. I was very lucky to win that first, and that gave me momentum for the second."

New Zealand's Paul Coll was the other man to qualify for the semi-finals today, with his 2/0 win over World Champion Diego Elias sending the Peruvian crashing out. Coll tops Group B with eight points from eight. No.6 seed Mazen Hesham got the better of fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen in the day's other Group B match. Momen stays second but will require a win over Coll or will need Elias to beat Hesham tomorrow if he is to reach the last four.