2020-21 Finals : Day FIVE, SEMI-FINALS

The Group stages are over, with just four women and four men left in contention for the 2020-21 titles. There’s Egyptian interest in all four best-of-three semi-finals, with Five Egyptians joined by two Kiwis and one French.

First up is Nouran Gohar, who ousted world #1 Nour Sherbini last night, up against Joelle King – appearing in her second successive semi-final – then it’s an all-Egyptian matchup between reigning World and World Junior Champions Tarek Momen and Mostafa Asal.

Defending champion Hania El Hammamy takes on Camille Serme in the latest instalment of their rivalry, and last up is Paul Coll, making his semi-finas debut, against two-time champion Mohamed ElShorbagy.

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 : Sat 26th Jun, Day FIVE, SEMI-FINALS

 [3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 2-1 [7] Joelle King (Nzl)                  11-2, 10-12, 11-6 (46m)

[7] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 2-1 [2] Tarek Momen (Egy)                  11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (68m)

[2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 2-1 [6] Camille Serme (Fra)    11-6, 3-11, 14-12 (54m)

[5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)  2-1 [3] Paul Coll (Nzl)           11-5, 5-11, 11-6 (50m)

 Watch Live  Draws & Results  Match Reports  Photo Gallery  Live Scores

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Gohar downs King in hard fought battle

 [3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 2-1 [7] Joelle King (Nzl)     11-2, 10-12, 11-6 (46m)

The first semi-final of the evening at the Mall of Arabia saw World No.2 Nouran Gohar take on New Zealand’s Joelle King, and it was the Egyptian that took the victory, beating the Kiwi for the first time in four matches.

Gohar blitzed the first game, allowing King just two points, before the World No.8 fought back to take the second on a tie-break and she even led halfway through the third as well. However, ‘the Terminator’

“I felt I was playing well this tournament and actually the last few times we have played each other, I was not on my best form. It was tricky here and it is my first time through to the final here at the World Tour Finals, so I am very happy to be through. I am glad I won today, for sure,”

“I felt very comfortable and I knew it was very important to win the first game so I was very focused from the very beginning and I was really happy with the way I dealt with it. Even in the second game, there were some decisions that didn’t go my way but I am just happy with the way I dealt with it in the third, kept my focus and I am happy to be through.”

Asal makes first major final

[7] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 2-1 [2] Tarek Momen (Egy)     11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (68m)

After 68 minutes of high intensity squash, Mostafa Asal took the victory over reigning World Champion Tarek Momen to book his place in a first major final, reaching the showpiece event of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals.

The ‘Raging Bull’ has made several semi-finals this season, and this time, he was able to get over the line. He kept his calm throughout the majority of a match that was littered with refereeing decisions, eventually winning 11-4 in the final game.

“I can’t describe my feelings right now. It was a very tough game and mentally it was really, really tough. Mind games is my job, you know. That is what I am good at and I am learning from Mohamed ElShorbagy and just how mentally tough he is,” Asal explained.

“I didn’t know whether the quality of squash between me and Tarek was good today but mentally and physically I was there. [There was] lots of interference, too much talking as well so I am happy to be through. For sure, Tarek is an unbelievable player and a World Champion and all credit to him. I grew up learning from him so I am really happy to be through and I am looking forward to my next match.

“I am giving 100% in all of my matches. I am playing legends so I am happy to be through. I am not surprised by any results. I am looking for World No.1, I want to win the tournaments, I am happy and I want to thank everyone who is here today.”

Hammamy advances in final game tie-break

Her title defence almost came to an end at the semi-final stage, but the 2019-2020 CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner, Hania El Hammamy, got the better of Camille Serme, claiming the victory with her third match ball.

After two lopsided games, with Serme fighting back from a game down, the third game lasted half an hour, with both players having match balls. Serme led it 10-9, but ‘the Leopard’ fought back to take it 14-12, booking her place in the final for a second consecutive year at the Mall of Arabia.

“The only thing I can say, I can assure you that even if I can’t find my game and I can’t find my length, I will kill myself, I will run for every point and I think that is what I did today. I dug in and I will always keep digging.

“Every time I play Camille, it is always physical and intense. I always enjoy playing against her and I think I should be proud of how I kept fighting,” she explained.

“Definitely looking forward to tomorrow. Ready for it and really looking forward to it. Hopefully everyone will be there and I will be able to deliver a good performance.

“I try to keep eye contact with my coach, and I try not to look at my parents sometimes. I always have eyes on Haitham [Effat], my coach, he always gives me a push and even if I am messing up during a game, he helps find a way to keep me going.”

ElShorbagy ensures all-Egyptian finals lineup

In the last match of semi-finals night, World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy got the better of New Zealand’s Paul Coll, in a repeat of last month’s El Gouna International Squash Open final.

‘The Beast off Alexandria’ came in to the contest with a heavy advantage over Coll in their head-to-head records, and that continued as he took victory after a scrappy third game in Cairo, booking his place alongside Mostafa Asal in the final.

“For me, at the World Tour Finals the toughest match is always the semi-finals because when you play the best-of-three format in the group stages, if you mess one match up, you still have another chance. Anything can happen in the best-of-three, so the semi-final is the only match where you have to get it right so I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I was nervous from the first point today. I got lucky in the first game, Paul made a lot of errors and he started slow.

“To be honest, I don’t think he has played his best throughout the whole event and he still topped his group and that is what the top players are best at, finding a way to way. He did that in finding a way to win every match in his group and he beat great players and that is credit to him.

“Today, we both made a lot of errors, we played well in patches and it was so up and down. I made sure I started better in the third game and I just kept that lead. He tried to come back at me but it was very difficult because yesterday I had a rest day. Obviously against my brother, I had to fight hard for the first game to get into the semis and then I switched off after to save some energy.

“It was the group of death, and I think myself and Asal were the best two players and we are the best two in the tournament. We completely deserve to be in the final. I have played against so many players, from those ten years older than me, like Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier. Players from my own generation like Ali, my brother, Gawad and now I am playing Asal who is ten years younger than me.

“We are good friends off the court. I love the guy off the court, he is one of the nicest guys on Tour. For me, he is a winner and he will win so many titles. I am one of his fans, before being a competitor, but I love his game and he is a superstar in the sport already. I look forward to playing him tomorrow.”