2020-21 Finals : Day FOUR

Day FOUR featured six more best-of-three Group matches at the Mall of Arabia as the Group standings were finalised.

Nouran Gohar, already qualified, beat top seed Nour El Sherbini to deny the top seed a semi-final spot, then Mostafa Asal beat top seed Ali Farag to reach the semis at the top of Group A.

Hanai El Hammamy won her top of the table clash with Joelle King, then Paul Coll topped Group B with a comeback win over Greg Marche.

In the final match of the day Tarek Momen beat Joel Makin to grab the last spot in the semi-finals – which won’t feature either of the top-seeded World Number Ones !!

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 : Fri 25th Jun, Day FOUR

WA  [3] Nouran Gohar (Egy)  2-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)  10-12, 11-7, 11-8 (52m)
MA  [7] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 2-0 [1] Ali Farag (Egy)                             11-4, 11-6 (34m)

WB  [2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 2-0 [7] Joelle King (Nzl)            12-10, 11-5 (25m)
MB  [3] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-1 [8] Gregoire Marche (Fra)              9-11, 11-1, 11-5 (59m)

WB  [5] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 2-0  [4] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)         11-8, 11-4 (23m)
MB  [2] Tarek Momen (Egy) 2-0 [6] Joel Makin (Wal)                      14-12, 11-2 (55m)

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[the-post-grid id=”1293″ title=”2021 D4 Reports”]

Gohar Sends Out El Sherbini

[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy)  2-1 [1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)  10-12, 11-7, 11-8 (52m)

World No.2 Nouran Gohar continued her dominance in Group A as she came from a game down to defeat compatriot Nour El Sherbini 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 and send the World No.1 out at the group stage.

Gohar showed her resilience as she battled hard to secure her first win over her fellow Egyptian since the 2019 World Tour Finals. Gohar played the big points well and came from 8-5 down in the last game to ensure she topped the group, as well as send out her big rival.

Her victory also means that France’s World No.3 Camille Serme is now also through to the last four, with El Sherbini needing the win tonight to get through.

“Not only in the first game, but in the last game as well she was 8-5 up,” said Gohar afterwards.

“So, three points away from the win and it’s never easy to play against Nour. She’s young but very experienced and it’s very tricky and tough to play against her. That’s why she’s World No.1, so to win against her is something else.

“For the semis, we are playing best of three as well, so we are kind of prepared. It’s very different because the semi-final is important, but it’s best of three, so you have to be on your toes from the first point. I’m just trying to relax and enjoy it, it’s one of the most prestigious tournaments and I’m really happy to be playing this event in Egypt, it’s even more special when your sponsors, CIB and Wadi Degla are the sponsors of the event. It’s a blessing to be playing here, in front of my coach, the crowd and my whole family are here.”

Asal Tops Group A

[7] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 2-0 [1] Ali Farag (Egy) 11-4, 11-6 (34m)

Egypt’s World No.12 Mostafa Asal claimed his first ever victory over World No.1 Ali Farag as he defeated the former World Champion 11-4, 11-6 at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia to top Group A.

The 20-year-old has fallen short in all six of their previous meetings dating back to the 2018 CIB Black Ball Open. However, he did not miss his mark this time as he conquered an out-of-sorts Farag in his first appearance at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals.

That victory means that he tops Group A with nine points and Mohamed ElShorbagy finishes second with seven points as both defending champion Marwan ElShorbagy and Farag are eliminated at the group stage.

“It’s definitely one of my favourite matches to date,” said Asal.

“It’s an unbelievable win and I’m looking forward to the semi-finals. It’s my first tournament here and I appreciate everyone who came and supported me today.

“It’s FIFA celebrations for sure. All of my friends are saying to me “do this today” “do this”. This is a huge win, I can’t describe my feelings, I’m looking forward to my next celebration.”

El Hammamy qualifies top of Group B

WB  [2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 2-0 [7] Joelle King (Nzl)            12-10, 11-5 (25m)

Defending champion Hania El Hammamy ensured she finished top of Group B after defeating New Zealand’s Joelle King 12-10, 11-5 in the last group game.

Both players had already qualified for the semi-finals but were playing for top spot in the group, which El Hammamy ensured she got with a strong comeback after finding herself 9-3 down in the first game to lay the foundations of an important win and complete the group stage with an impressive clean sweep of 2-0 victories.

That win means that the Egyptian will face familiar foe Camille Serme of France for a place in the final in their 12th meeting on the PSA Tour, while King will take on World No.2 Nouran Gohar.

“It was really tough in the first game, the gap was huge between us,” El Hammamy said afterwards.

“I just felt like I was enjoying myself even if I was down, I kept pushing. I’m happy to be back at this tournament, back at this tournament, I’m the defending champion, so I’m definitely eager to be back in the final and the semis and hopefully win the tournament.

“I’m playing against the top eight players in the world, it is never easy against them. I’m really happy to win the three matches 2-0. Today’s match was a little different, I think Joelle might have been saving a little bit for her semi. It’s always tough against Joelle, so hopefully we will have more battles.”

Coll Qualifies as Group B Leader

[3] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-1 [8] Gregoire Marche (Fra)     9-11, 11-1, 11-5 (59m)

New Zealand’s Paul Coll has qualified top of Group B to book his place in the semi-finals following a 2-1 victory over France’s Gregoire Marche.

Marche, who is featuring in his first World Tour Finals following a late change to the draw, started the match well to take the first game. However, it all quickly unravelled from the second onwards as Coll took full control, winning the second for the loss of just one point before powering to the finish line, 11-5, in the third.

The last semi-final spot will come down to the match between Egypt’s Tarek Momen and Wales’ Joel Makin with it all still to play for, as Marche could still qualify.

Coll will face World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy for a place in the final tomorrow.

“I thought it was quite a high quality match,” said the New Zealander.

“He started very well and it took me a while to adapt to the temperature of the ball. He got a lead at the start of the first and towards the end of the first, I felt I started to hit my areas, but he just held onto that lead. In the second and third I felt like I controlled the match quite well and I was happy with how I finished.

“I was on top of the table but if I lost tonight the last two days meant nothing. I had to fight out there tonight and very pleased to go undefeated through the pool stages and looking forward to the semi-finals.

“I think it will be similar to tonight. Tonight was pretty much knockout matches for who would go through. Just got to go out there and look forward to playing Mohamed. It will be good, he is on top form but I’m feeling good out there at the moment.”

Marche said:  “I didn’t think I did much wrong. Strangely enough, out of my three matches, that’s the one I was the most comfortable racket skills wise. But even with that in mind, on a court like that, against Paul, two or three perfect shots are not enough, and it can become a bit frustrating at times.

“I did a very good opener, solid, happy with my level of squash there, a big drop of energy in the second, I try to rest at the end there to give it all in the third, which I think I did pretty much.

“Bad start in the third, a bit unlucky there, and then it’s hard to come back in the game. Not too far away though, 4-3, but after that, he run away with it. As I didn’t want to leave the court with still gas in the tank, gave it all. I think I’ll sleep well on the plane tonight.

“Still, a lot of positive to take from this week, never I thought I would be here, I see that I am close to beat everybody, so that’s very comforting for the worlds in three weeks.”

Perry Claims first win

[5] Sarah-Jane Perry (Eng) 2-0  [4] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)   11-8, 11-4 (23m)

England’s Sarah-Jane Perry claimed her first win of the tournament after she defeated USA’s Amanda Sobhy 11-8, 11-4 at the Mall of Arabia.

Neither player could progress to the semi-finals of the tournament, with Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy and New Zealand’s Joelle King both seeing their previous results take them through to the last four before tonight. However, both Perry and Sobhy were targeting their first wins of the week and it was the Englishwoman who finished her week strongly in Egypt.

“I think when I look back at the last two performances, it was nothing bad, but I didn’t have my style coming through,” said the Englishwoman.

“It was none of my signature shots, I just tried to relax today. It’s a difficult situation playing what is effectively a dead rubber but it’s still good practice for the World Championship and there is some points and extra prize money on the line. I wanted to enjoy how I was playing today.

“The young girls are nearly as experienced as me. I only started on the tour properly when I was 21 and Hania is 20 now and has got a lot of experience. I have got a lot of experience and I try to use that to my advantage and learn from every match.”

Momen Qualifies for last four

[2] Tarek Momen (Egy) 2-0 [6] Joel Makin (Wal)       14-12, 11-2 (55m)

Egypt’s Tarek Momen has qualified for the semi-finals after defeating Wales’ Joel Makin 14-12, 11-2 in 55 minutes.

Play was affected and disrupted throughout by the humid court conditions which led to both players struggling to stay on their feet.

A tight first game went in the favour of Momen with the Egyptian then able to fully press ahead in the second as both players complained about the difficult court conditions, which caused problems for Makin’s usual style of play and retrieval skills.

Momen will face compatriot Mostafa Asal in the last four.