The 2021/22 CIB PSA World Tour Finals continue today at the Mall of Arabia with four semi-final matches, all on the glass court with the new ASB Glass Floor.
Coll reaches his first WTF final in Cairo
New Zealand’s World No.2 Paul Coll is into the final of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals for the first time in his career after overcoming the challenge of England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy in straight games in the last match of semi-finals night.
Coll had struggled a little bit recently after reaching the summit of the World Rankings, but he put in an almost flawless performance, forcing the Englishman into making too many errors.
ElShorbagy was unable to keep the ball out of the tin, unlike his usual high-quality game, but the Kiwi was able to also restrict the opportunities that the World No.3 had, and he took the win in just over half an hour to set up a meeting in the final with defending champion Mostafa Asal.
“My coach told me to go out tonight, attack, and he didn’t really care if I made more mistakes than usual, he just wanted me to try and move him around, use the front of the court a bit more! I had a good balance tonight, I controlled the ’T’, and I had some good attacks to the front!
“It’s already my biggest payday in terms of prize money so I am looking forward to that! Obviously if I get the win tomorrow, then it will be quite a tidy celebration back in New Zealand next week, that’s for sure. I’ll be spending it on upgrading my flight to business back to New Zealand, spending it on a few beers, take my parents out for nice dinner, and just enjoy myself next week!
“Mostafa played bloody well tonight! I thought he really controlled the game, found his back corners well and he didn’t give Ali much on the volley. As soon as he had the opportunity he put it away so it was a pretty flawless performance I thought! I am going to have to be on my ‘A’ game tomorrow!”
Sherbini dominates Sobhy to reach the final
World No.2 Nour El Sherbini booked her place in the final thanks to a commanding performance against US No.1 Amanda Sobhy, needing just 14 minutes to advance into Sunday’s finale.
The pair were doing battle for the first time in almost a year, with El Sherbini aiming to win for the 10th time against the American, and she started in incredible fashion, hitting perfect line and length on a consistent basis, all while making sure she didn’t put too much load on her right ankle.
She won the first to the loss of just two points, and although Sobhy started the second strongly, it was El Sherbini who came through to win in just 14 minutes, and set up yet another meeting in a final with Nouran Gohar.
“I think that first of all, both of us were really happy to reach the semi-final. I was just telling her that we were both one step closer, so that was good thing to put on my mind!” El Sherbini said.
“Secondly, I was playing really good, my length was really good and I think that the court conditions helped me more than her. It fit more game more than hers, and that’s why the score looked like this!
“It is the final match against the on form in the whole tournament. Nouran has been playing really well. Just one more match to end the season, I will try to end it on the winning side. There have been a lot of ups and down in this whole season, and I am glad that I made it into the final of the last tournament, hopefully it goes well!”
Result :  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 2-0: 11-2, 11-5 (14m)
Asal beats Farag to return to the Final
He won the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in 2021, and Mostafa Asal is into the final once again, after a commanding performance saw him overcome World No.1 Ali Farag in straight games.
Asal had only beaten Farag twice before, but one of those wins came at this tournament in the best-of-three format last year, on his way to winning the crown. After winning the El Gouna International earlier this month, the ‘Raging Bull’ has been in top form, and that continued in this battle.
He started strongly, and allowed Farag to score just four points in the opening game, running away with it in the middle part of the game. That continued at the start of the second game as he claimed the first four points. Farag attempted to fight back, but it was Asal that won in two to book his spot in the final for a second consecutive year.
“I believe in myself and I believe that I can reach the World No.1 spot. Living my best moments on Tour and actually, I am not focussing about my age. If I focus on my age, I will not step in front of this amazing crowd or even enter this amazing tournament. Once again, thanks for this amazing crowd today!
“I was saying to you that this tournament is not about squash, it is not about physicality, or anything like that, it is mental! If you are mentally strong, that’s what I am taking from Mohamed ElShorbagy. His mental toughness is unreal, so once again, thanks for everything he has done! I wish Paul and Mohamed have a great match because they are great athletes and great players.”
Result :  Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 2-0: 11-4, 11-6 (37m)
Gohar downs Hammamy to keep title defence alive
World No.1 Nouran Gohar took her winning run at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals to nine matches, as she kept her title defence alive with a victory over 2020 champion Hania El Hammamy in the semi-finals.
The pair were meeting for the 12th time on the PSA World Tour, with Gohar holding an 8-3 advantage, but it was the World No.3 who had won their most recent battle, in the final of the El Gouna International earlier this month.
It was a feisty encounter, with both knowing the prize on the line for the winner, and with several decisions late on in the first, the game became quite fraught. It ended with Gohar hitting El Hammamy with the ball as she attempted a cross-court shot, with the World No.1 being awarded a stroke to take it 11-9.
After receiving physio treatment for some blood on her right hand, El Hammamy come out fighting in the second game, and the pair were neck-and-neck throughout, going into a tie-break, where ‘the Terminator’ hit a trademark backhand kill to finish the match off. She will now face either Nour El Sherbini or Amanda Sobhy in tomorrow’s final.
“To not get distracted with the calls and what was going on on court. I felt like I was playing well actually, but sometimes it is not only about squash, you have to handle the conditions,” Gohar said.
“Whether it is on or off the court, but I am pretty happy with the way I dealt with it mentally. Sometimes you play your best and you don’t win, but today I am happy with the way I dealt with it to get the win in the end.
“It wasn’t intentional when I hit her for sure, I wasn’t happy to do this, I was just trying to hit a cross-court. It is not always something nice but it was unintentional for sure. “It’s not like tennis where each player has their own part of the court, we both share the same space!
“Amanda and Nour are both very tough. It would be funny to play Amanda again and that’s the new thing about this tournament, that you can play a player in the pools and then come up against them in the final. Whether it is Amanda or Nour, I know it will be a tough match and I will do my best to prepare for it!”
Result :  Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 2-0: 11-9, 12-10 (42m)