2023 : Gohar wins longest ever women’s match as Asal makes it three in a row

Nouran Gohar and Mostafa Asal are the 2023 World Series Finals Champions after winning dramatic finals at the EDSN SOCIC club in Cairo.

Gohar claimed her second title after winning an epic 130-minute clash wits Hamia El Hammamy, while Mostafa Asal won the title for the third time in a row after prevailing in a scrappy final with top seed Diego Elias.

CIB PSA World Tour Finals 2023 : Sun 25th Jun, Day SIX, FINALS

[1] Nouran Gohar(Egy) 3-2 [3] Hania El Hammamy (Egy)  10-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 (130m)

[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-1 [1] Diego Elias (Per)     9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (81m)


Reports and Reaction

[1] Nouran Gohar(Egy) 3-2 [3] Hania El Hammamy (Egy)  10-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 (130m)

Gohar wins longest-ever women’s match to take title

World No.1 Nouran Gohar and World No.3 Hania El Hammamy have broken the record for the longest women’s match on the PSA Tour since records began, with Gohar prevailing 10-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10 after 130 minutes of drama to capture the 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals trophy.

It eclipses the previous record held by Mexico’s Samantha Teran and USA’s Latasha Khan in the 2008 Liberty Bell Open by 10 minutes

Matches between Gohar and El Hammamy now account for three of the longest 10 after a 107-minute epic at the El Gouna International and a 105-minute battle at the PSA World Championships, all within the past two months.

The World Tour Finals is the last event in the 2022-23 PSA World Tour season and Gohar – who also won the 2020-21 event – has captured her sixth title of the campaign and the 23rd of her illustrious career.

It was the seventh time that El Hammamy and Gohar were meeting this season, with three wins apiece coming into today’s finale. El Hammamy had won their last encounter, which came earlier this week in their Group A clash.

It was evident early on that we were in for a lengthy match – their last two matches over a best of five format were over 100 minutes – with both players trading blows in some high-quality rallies. There was a short break in proceedings at 7-6 as Gohar hit the deck after a collision, with El Hammamy being caught in the calf. It did little to shake the 22-year-old off her stride though initially as she moved ahead to hold a 9-6 lead.

Out came the Power Play for El Hammamy – a new rule being trialled at this year’s World Tour Finals which allows the player that called for it to win two points if they take the rally – however she squandered it to hand Gohar a lifeline. El Hammamy soon earned three game balls but a couple of costly errors allowed Gohar to come back and set up a sudden death decider at 10-10, another new rule being trialled this week.

A fortunate bounce for El Hammamy caught Gohar out when going to return a serve, handing Hammamy a 1-0 advantage.

El Hammamy stormed into a 4-1 lead in the second game and Gohar swiftly levelled, but soon needed a break after being caught in the mouth by El Hammamy’s follow through at 7-7. El Hammamy took the first two points after that but was again unable to make the most of her Power Play. The same couldn’t be said for Gohar, who came back to level at 9-9 before using her Power Play and seeing her serve hammered into the tin by El Hammamy.

Again it was nip and tuck in the third game, with Gohar receiving a conduct stroke after her attempts to return an El Hammamy drop – which resulted in El Hammamy taking a tumble – were deemed too aggressive by the referees. El Hammamy then kept her nerve in the crucial stages of the game, with Gohar missing a huge opportunity at 10-9 as she hit the tin with an attempted drop whilst her Power Play was active.

The match was destined to go all the way to the wire though. Gohar went up another gear in the fourth, hitting her targets with relish and moving El Hammamy away from the ’T’ to build an early lead which she would not relinquish.

The battle continued into the fifth game, with both players fighting through the fatigue as the match neared and then surpassed the two-hour mark. The momentum was with Gohar as she went 9-6 ahead and 10-8 ahead, only to see El Hammamy fight back to force a decider.

The pressure of the match told in the final rallies with a number of let decisions being made by the central referee -as well as delegating some to the vidfeo ref – frustrating Gohar who at one point lashed out, kicking the door in anger after a video referee decision.

However, she was able to keep her head when it mattered, feathering a volley drop into the nick beyond the reach of her opponent, who was given a no let by the video referee  to hand the win to Gohar.

“It was so hard out there,” said Gohar.

“All credit to Hania, she always gives it a fight and if it wasn’t her I don’t think we could play a match like this. A big match requires two big players and two fighters and she is one.

“I think it’s my first time ever beating [Nour El] Sherbini and Hania back to back. They are top players and to back up a match like yesterday [against El Sherbini] and play like this at 130 minutes, I don’t know what it will be next time, maybe 200 minutes.

“I couldn’t have done it without my family and my team here. They were incredible, all of them had a heart attack during that! The crowd also really pushed me really hard today, so thank you so much to them.”

[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-1 [1] Diego Elias (Per)     9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (81m)

It’s a third World Tour Finals title in a row for Asal

Egypt’s Mostafa Asal got the better of Peru’s Diego Elias in a stop-start contest, as he won the CIB PSA World Tour Finals for the third year in succession.

The pair had met earlier in the week, with the Egyptian coming out the winner in a controversial group stage match. This contest followed the same pattern, with the only change being that this was in the best-of-five format.

The ‘Peruvian Puma’ was able to shut out the distractions in the opening game. With the score at 10-9 to Elias, Asal called for a PowerPlay, which meant the next point was sudden death. It was the Peruvian who took it, to hold the early advantage in the contest.

However from there, as the match got more and more disjointed, Asal was able to take control. With the crowd becoming louder as the contest went on, the Peruvian seemed to lose his way, and he became more irritated with all of the contact that was occurring on court.

In the end, Asal was able to run out the winner rather easily in the fourth game, rounding out the victory in a match that saw plenty of decisions. The Egyptian becomes the second man to win the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in three successive seasons, following Peter Nicol, who achieved the same feat from 1999 to 2001.

“It means a lot, you know. Without them, without my fans, my team, my partners.. Thank you guys for coming today,” Asal said.

Matching Peter Nicol’s achievement is unreal. I couldn’t talk straight away after. It was tough today. Diego is a fantastic player and it was tough in all the situations today. He is one of the best players in the world.

“For sure I need to thank my father, mother and coach, Mohamed Elkeiy, they have been through all of it. Since El Gouna, I want to thank him a lot!

“After the ban, it was so tough for me, I am proud of everyone who has my back!”