12:07 pm
19 Jul 2024

World Tour Finals Set for All-Egyptian Deciders

22 Jun 2024

All-Egyptian finals will bring the 2024 Xbox PSA World Tour Finals to a conclusion at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House in Bellevue, Washington, where Ali Farag, Mostafa Asal, Nour El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar all triumphed in their semi-final matches.

World No.1 Farag got the better of New Zealand's world No.3 Paul Coll to reach the final of this event for the second time in his career and first time since 2018.

Farag and Coll were meeting for the sixth time this season and Farag levelled the head-to-head record at three wins apiece courtesy of an 11-10, 11-6 win over the Kiwi. He will now take on world No.2 Asal less than two weeks after losing to his compatriot in the British Open final.

"Paul and I just exchanged a couple of words, saying how great of a season we've both had," said Farag.

"We've both been getting to the latter stages of events and it's not easy. It takes a toll on your body and mind, and it takes a whole team behind you to keep you motivated. Even though it was the second to last match of the season, we both pushed really hard.

"Ever since it [the World Tour Finals] has been in my home town, I've been losing in the semis or the group stages. That's thanks to Mostafa Asal, as he's been the one who has been beaten me. The World Tour Finals is at the back end of the season, so you have to drag yourself up and play your best squash against the best players in the world."

Asal has become the first man in the PSA World Tour Finals history to reach four finals in a row after he stormed to victory over world No.8 Tarek Momen.

Asal has won the previous three finals in which he has competed in at the season-ending event - beating three different opponents in Mohamed ElShorbagy, Paul Coll and Diego Elias - and he will have the ability to add a fourth title to his trophy cabinet following his 11-3, 11-5 win. If Asal wins the final he will become only the second man since the great Jansher Khan to lift the prestigious trophy on four occasions.

"It's unbelievable, it's my fourth final at the World Tour Finals and you're playing the best eight players since the start of the season," said Asal afterwards.

"You are playing former world No.1s and current world No.1s and it's incredible for me. I'm writing history, but I'm taking it step by step, putting all the trophies on the side and focusing on tomorrow. This is how to be a great champion and this is the advice that I want to give to all the youngsters."

The women's final will also be a repeat of the British Open title decider, with world No.1 El Sherbini and world No.2 Gohar defeating world No.3 Hania El Hammamy and world No.5 Nele Gilis, respectively.

It marks El Sherbini's fifth successive victory over El Hammamy, who was last year's runner-up. El Sherbini achieved the victory with 11-9 wins in both games and she will now look to add a third World Tour Finals trophy to her collection after triumphing in 2018 and 2022.

"I don't feel like I'm the underdog [against Gohar]," said El Sherbini.

"I've gone one step better than last year and I want to end the season in a good way. She's been doing great the last three tournaments, but I've also been doing well the whole season."

Gohar has become the first woman to reach four successive finals at this tournament after the 26-year-old beat Gilis 11-9, 11-7 to extend her unbeaten run to 24 matches.

Gohar is in red-hot form having won her previous four tournaments and has beaten El Sherbini in three of those finals, including the British Open final a fortnight ago. A win over El Sherbini tomorrow would make Gohar the first woman to win this event on three occasions and would extend her unbeaten run to 25 matches - the highest winning streak amongst current players on the women Tour.

"Not many players start off that great, I'm known for being a good starter, so all credit to Nele," said Gohar.

"It shows how high the level of squash is that she has been playing this week. She has been playing incredible matches and she has such a great fighting spirit. I have a huge respect for her."