2020-21 Finals : Day ONE

World class squash descends on Cairo this week as the CIB PSA World Tour Finals 2020-2021 take place. The usually-season-ending event takes place at the Mall of Arabia in Cairo for the third year in succession, having first being held there at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season.

Day ONE saw six best-of-three matches at the Mall of Arabia on the first of four days of Group matches, the top two in each group progressing to the semi-finals.

You can follow the action here, LIVE on SquashTV or the PSA Facebook Page, check the Live Scores, and we’ll be posting match by match updates here, with a roundup to follow at the end of the day.

CIB PSA World Tour Finals : Tue 22nd Jun, Day ONE

WA   [3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 2-1 [8] Salma Hany (Egy)                    9-11, 11-5, 11-2 (52m*)
MA   [5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 2-1 [7] Mostafa Asal (Egy)     11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (93m*)

WA   [6] Camille Serme (Fra) 2-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)            10-12, 11-3, 11-6 (34m)
MA   [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 2-1 [1] Ali Farag (Egy)             10-12, 11-4, 13-11 (64m)

WB   [2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 2-0 [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)             11-7, 11-9 (30m)
MB   [3] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-1 [2] Tarek Momen (Egy)                          12-10, 7-11, 11-4 (65m)

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R1: Coll 2-1 Momen

Day One concludes with a late night win for Paul Coll over Tarek Momen … […]

R1: Gohar 2-1 Hany

Nouran Gohar comes from a game down to beat Salma Hany in the first match of the event […]

Gohar Fights Back To Beat Hany

[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 2-1 [8] Salma Hany (Egy) 9-11, 11-5, 11-2 (52m)

The first match of the 2020-2021 CIB PSA World Tour Finals saw former World No.1 Nouran Gohar take on Salma Hany in Group A of the women’s event.

It was the lower seeded Hany who took the first game and she looked to be on her way to beating ‘the Terminator’ for the first time on Tour, in their seventh clash. However, following a 15-minute delay due to a lighting issue, Gohar fought back and restricted the World No.9 to just seven points over the next two games.

Hany said: “There was a shift of momentum in that break. In the first game, I was very precise with my plan, I was calm but as the same time I was in the zone. During the break, I tried to maintain that calmness, but I think I lost my focus a little bit.

“She came strong, and I didn’t stick to my plan when I went back, went out of the zone. But I’m happy with the first game, I hadn’t played Nouran in a long time. I just try and enjoy my experience in the Finals. Also the best of three is new to me, and when we were in the third game, it just hit me that that was it, it was the final game!

“So, a bit disappointed with the last two games, but I’m trying to get the most of my time here, and see how it goes against the top girls.”

ElShorbagy eventually beats Asal

[5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 2-1 [7] Mostafa Asal (Egy)     11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (93m*)

It took 93 minutes, and included a 35-minute delay due to a cut above ElShorbagy’s left eye, but he eventually got the better of compatriot Mostafa Asal in their opening match of Group A at the World Tour Finals in Cairo.

The ‘Beast from Alexandria’ came into the tournament as the No.5 seed, and he will be happy to get over the line in the end, taking the win and three points from his first group match in Cairo.

“I think we played a high quality match. The first game was very very tough. It was a Nick Matthew/Shorbagy match you know, a typical Matthew/Shorbagy first game but he responded better in the second,” the World No.2 said.

“The few errors I did in the middle of the second game is the result of the work we did in the first game. I thought I was making him pay but in fact, he was making me pay! Plus, he changed his game, volleyed more, and he didn’t allow me to slow the ball down, which was very clever of him to be honest. It shows his brain is working al the time.

“The third in the third was a complete accident, he didn’t mean anything, I know that. The match was played fair and in good spirit, a complete accident like I said. I wanted to carry on and not go to the hospital to get stitches as I definitely didn’t want to come back after the game. The physio did an amazing job to get me sorted.”

Serme shocks Sherbini

[6] Camille Serme (Fra) 2-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)     10-12, 11-3, 11-6 (34m)

In the first surprise result of the World Tour Finals, Frenchwoman Camille Serme got the better of World No.1 and four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini to move joint-top of Group A alongside Nouran Gohar.

The pair were meeting for the 25th time on the PSA World Tour, with the Egyptian having won 15 of their previous encounters. She took the first game on a tie-break, but it was the Frenchwoman, the World No.4, who fought back, restricting the ‘Warrior Princess’ to just nine points over the next two games, taking the 2-1 win.

“I am very happy with my game tonight. It has been a while since I had a good win so I will take that one, especially against the World No.1. I was enjoying my game and really focused on what to do on court and that was really important,” Serme explained.

“She can hit many winners as well, but today was more errors and I will take that! This tournament is never easy anyway. It is a bonus and I am just happy to be enjoying my squash again.”

Marwan downs Farag in last game tie-break

[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 2-1 [1] Ali Farag (Egy) 10-12, 11-4, 13-11 (64m)

After seeing his brother win the opening match of Group A, Marwan ElShorbagy followed his lead, by defeating World No.1 Ali Farag in a final game tie-break to secure three points as he starts his defence of the title he won last October.

‘The Jackal’ found himself a game down after losing the first on a tie-break, but bounced back strongly in the second to win it 11-4. The third became a very scrappy affair, littered with stoppages for court cleaning and refereeing decisions. It was ElShorbagy who eventually got over the line, winning the deciding game 13-11 to move joint-top of Group A alongside older brother Mohamed.

“If you look at how tough our group is, having my brother [Mohamed ElShorbagy] and [Mostafa] Asal, it’s really tough. All the matches are 50/50, tomorrow I play Mostafa and it’s going to be the same as today,” he said.

“Playing Ali is always tough. He is the toughest to play on Tour, him and my brother. They are World No.1 and World No.2. Every session I practice, I always visualise competing against them because they are the best in the world and I want to try and beat both of them on a consistent basis because they are the most experienced players on Tour at the moment and I respect both of them. They have done so much for our sport and they are role models for our sport.

“The pressure is always there, it is just about enjoying the pressure. You cannot escape the pressure. Even if you don’t fell the pressure today, you might feel it tomorrow. I think it is very important to feel the pressure and if I don’t feel nervous before a match then I worry so it is good to feel the pressure. Coming here, I put the pressure on myself to beat him, even though he is the favourite seeding-wise. For me, I want to beat everyone. I enjoyed today, but it is only going to get tougher.”

Hammamy begins defence with solid win

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 2-0 [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng)  11-7, 11-9 (30m)

Defending champion Hania El Hammamy began the defence of her crown with the first straight-games victory of the event, as she defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry 2-0.

The win, which took half an hour for her to secure o the glass court at Mall of Arabia, sees her soaring at the top of Group B with the perfect four points.

“I am definitely really happy with the performance tonight. I was a little bit nervous before the match. The first pool match, I have to be sharp from the beginning and it’s best-of-three. It is never easy against SJ, she is a very tricky player and she likes to play some tricky stuff. I am really pleased and happy with tonight,” the Egyptian said.

“This tournament, I try as much as I can not to think about being defending champion, because last time, when I thought about it, it gave me a little bit of extra pressure on myself. I tried, this time, to just focus on the game and I am glad that it worked.”

Perry said:
“I wasn’t far off, I just didn’t put my shots in, that’s all. There wasn’t much in it. She just scraped a few balls back, that what she does.

“It’s hard because you practice on a completely different court, the conditions are completely different, it’s the difficulty of playing somewhere like this. The ball was so much deader than the one I practiced with, as well as being much cooler.

“I didn’t play badly, I just didn’t take the opportunities when I needed to. I played perfect rally in the first rally, a beautiful forehand volley drop, perfect, and then didn’t play another one in the first game!

“I should have played a volley drop on the last shot and that’s 10/10, and you are back in. Instead, I slashed at the bottom of the tin.”

Coll gets the better of Momen

[3] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-1 [2] Tarek Momen (Egy)  12-10, 7-11, 11-4 (65m)

For the second time in as many months, New Zealand’s Paul Coll got the better of World Champion Tarek Momen, this time getting his group stage campaign off to the perfect start at the World Tour Finals.

The match started at 12:30am local time, but the intensity was still at the highest level, with the pair battling it out for over an hour. The Kiwi took the victory thanks to some solid work in the third game, forcing errors from the Egyptian, as he moves top of Group B.

“We started at 12:30am so I think that was a huge push from both of us to go for 65 minutes at 12:30 at night. I loved it out there, really enjoyed it! Credit to Tarek as well, it’s not often you play at 12:30, so I think you can excuse us for a few arguments,” Coll said.

“It was all about concentration tonight. I just wanted o have no lapses in shot selection and intensity, and I thought I was pretty solid, I was pretty happy.There’s definitely stuff I can work on for the next one but overall, it was tricky conditions and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it, but I would prefer to play at 10 o’clock!”