8:11 am
15 Jul 2024

Gilis Becomes First Belgian to Reach World Tour Finals Semis

21 Jun 2024

World No.5 Nele Gilis has become the first Belgian in history to qualify for the last four of the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals after overcoming US No.1 Olivia Weaver at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House in Bellevue, Washington.

Gilis has finished second in Group A of the women's event after winning 11-9, 4-11, 11-6 in 50 minutes to dash home hopes.

Twice champion Nour El Sherbini, the world No.1 making her 10th successive appearance in the event, overcame Gilis' younger sister Tinne in straight games earlier in the day to ensure that she finished top of Group A on 11 points, four ahead of Nele.

"I just haven't felt like myself this year, but this week I've really found myself again, and I'm enjoying my squash again," said an emotional Gilis afterwards.

"I came into the match without any pressure because Olivia's been playing top four squash. She really proved that she belongs inside that top four. I felt like the pressure was on her today and my goal was to enjoy it and give it my all, and I'm just very proud of myself, it wasn't easy.

"Paul [Coll, Gilis's fiancé] just kept telling me to trust myself, he kept reminding me of the game plan and was saying that I was able to do it and to trust my shots. If he wasn't in my corner today I'm not sure how hard I could have pushed."

Defending champion Nouran Gohar finished top of Group B after beating fellow Egyptian Nour El Tayeb 2/0 to make it three wins from three, ensuring she ended with the maximum 12 points on offer. Last season's runner-up Hania El Hammamy defeated England's Georgina Kennedy to finish second, five points behind Gohar.

Gohar will play Gilis next as she aims to become the first woman to reach the title decider of the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals for the fourth time in a row. El Sherbini and El Hammamy will go head-to-head in the other women's semi-final.

No.7 seed Tarek Momen defeated No.2 seed Paul Coll to finish top of men's Group B. Diego Elias' withdrawal through injury put Hesham second in the group, meaning Momen needed to defeat Coll - who was unbeaten before today - to qualify for the last four.

The 36-year-old delivered though, with a composed performance seeing him ease to a 2/0 victory to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time since 2021.

"I prepared myself yesterday that I had to win today, regardless of what happened in the other match," Momen said afterwards.

"I couldn't put my faith in someone else's hands. I obviously didn't expect it to go this well today. I know Paul, even though he is guaranteed his spot he would never give anything cheaply, but I knew that he is smart enough not to kill himself and his chances for tomorrow if it got really tough.

"I needed to fight and make it hard enough so that I instilled some doubt in him. Thankfully, the first half of the first game was crucial., I stayed in there, I tried to be as tough as possible, and thankfully things went well."

World No.1 Ali Farag topped Group A ahead of defending champion Mostafa Asal in second. Farag ended on 12 points after today's opponent, Mohamed ElShorbagy, withdrew through injury, handing Farag a 2/0 win via a walkover. Twice champion ElShorbagy was making his 11th appearance in the event since 2012

Asal is one win away from a fourth World Tour Finals title decider after he beat Karim Abdel Gawad to secure second in Group A, five points behind Farag. He will play Momen next, while Farag and Coll will meet for the fifth time this season, with Coll winning three of them.