“Nobody beats me 9 times in a row …”
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 2-1  Tarek Momen (EGY) 9-11, 11-5, 11-8 (55m)
No, Abou didn’t say that but he could have… 9/0. That was the H2H before the match in favour of Tarek. Just this season, they played in Hong Kong, BlackBall, TOC, Chicago Worlds and Grasshopper. Big matches (except the last one). All won by Tarek.
With Abou, it’s a bit like with Shabana at the start of his career, before he met his wife Najla. Nicks or Tins. Tonight, it was nicks…
4/1 for Tarek in the first game, composed and patient. Abou, 4 in a row, . 5/5, 7/7. Abou 9/7, but a stroke and a winner, 9/9. Fast pace rally, and two winners, 11/9 Tarek, that’s 4 points… 20m.
The second, 2/0 for Tarek, but Abou is on fire and won’t make an error until game ball at 10/4! 8/2 (strung 8 points), then 9/3, 11/5.
In two games, Abou made 1 error, Tarek 7 (5 in the second game).
Third game, from 3/3, The Momenator seems to regain confidence 5/3, but level again between those two, 5/5, 6/6. From 5/6 down, Abou zooms to 10/6, the Bullet is just too fast and too unpredictable. Abou get 3 strokes in 5 points: unusual….
Match ball, too much pressure, tin. Then the ball out of court. But a lucky nick on the backhand, and it’s a first win over Tarek ever. Even in training, I kid you not, 11/8, 22m last game..
I lost to Tarek five times this season and every time was closer, apart from the last time which was 3-0 in 20 minutes, so I was figuring out a plan. Every time I played him I felt like I was closer and I’m happy with the way I managed it until the end.
He beat me 9 times, so 10-0 would have looked so bad. I at least had to make the gap closer between me and Tarek. For people who don’t know I have not beaten Tarek in training, so to come here and win against him on a big stage like this it’s a bonus and I’m very happy.
I have played against Karim 100 times in training and in tournaments and to play him in the final of a major event is a bonus. We always have great matches and I know tomorrow will be different to yesterday but hopefully the same result.
Camille gets her first win since 2017 against Nouran…
 Camille Serme (FRA) 2-0  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 20-18, 11-9 (37m)
Camille can say she enjoys the BO3 format for sure as the last time she beat Nouran was actually in the Dubai June 2017 event. Since, they played four times, and all the matches went to Nouran., the last one being in Hull a few days ago in the Final of the British Open where Nouran, on a colder court, blasted the French lady off court 3? 8, 3 in 30m.
Today, different set up. Much warmer court – the power from Nouran being a bit less efficient as the ball comes back from the backwall instead of dying nicely at the back. And Camille, having played the Terminator twice in like 3 weeks, probably got a few tips and some game plan from both Philippe Signoret and Ashraf Hanafi, director of Squash at Blackball, Camille’s team in the Egyptian League…
The first game is obviously massive: 25m of absolutely stunning squash, a battle of nerves and tactics, in which Nouran made only 2 errors: one at 10/10. The second at 18-19, after being penalised with a no let – she was trying to explain to the ref that no, she didn’t accept the interfence, that no, she didn’t play the ball, ‘please, you have to believe me’ but the video ref having confirmed the original call, she didn’t have any luck and that tin came basically seconds after that decision. Food for thoughts…
Back to the first game, Nouran is cruising 6/2, looking extremely assertive and comfortable. But Camille is on form today. Believing she can create the upset, nothing to lose, she scores 4 points to level 6/6. 7/7. But again, Nouran finds her accuracy, and it’s game ball 10/7.
Rallies from hell follow and it’s the French that levels again, 10/10. Will follow a succession of superb rallies, a few errors, game balls from each, saved, and levelled. 6 game balls for Nouran, 6 game balls for Camille, who finally closes it down with an error from Nouran…
18 winners for the French, 5 unforced errors. 13 winners for the Egyptian, 2 errors.
Body language from both girls was impeccable in the first game, and same in the second. Never I saw the loser’s attitude from Nouran, she could have lost heart. She didn’t. She fought, physically, she knew she could last forever on there…
An excellent start from Camille though, 3-0, Nouran blasting her way back, 3/3. At 7/4, Nouran looks like she is going to level the games and force a decider. But the French is so relaxed out there tonight. And it’s again a battle of will: 7/7. 8/8. 9/9.
It’s anybody’s, but a low drive backhand that dies in the back, and another crosscourt that Nouran cannot save and it’s Camille that gets her revenge from the BO Final…
Over the moon…. Sorry for the crowd obviously they were cheering for the home Egyptian player, but I’m just so happy because Nouran has been playing really well the last few months. In El Gouna and at the British she beat me quite comfortably and I was happy today that I found some good solutions.
Finally, after being beaten twice, with my coach and the Egyptian coach who was here, with the support of everyone I found some solutions and I’m really happy and grateful for that.
I’m very proud and very lucky to have had a few friends here clapping for me. I know a lot of people were watching at home, my husband, family and friends so I just thought about them. Even Philippe Signoret, my coach – I’m really happy for them as well.
It’s funny to play against Raneem again as we played in the pool matches. I can have a second chance in the same tournament, so I’m just going to enjoy and give it my all.
Karim on song, Mohamed out of key …
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-0  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 11-8, 11-2 (28m)
A superb first game, 21m game that led us believe that we were on for a cracker. 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/4 Karim, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8.
But I was surprised at the end of the game when Mohamed made 4 errors in 4 points, offering the crucial game to Groom Karim 11/8. Ok, Karim sent him to the four corners, and made him do a lot of work, but come on, this is Mohamed we are talking about. And he was not pushed that hard…
I know that Mohamed – like me – is not a fan of the BO3, and especially against Karim that he normally grinds away in 4 or 5. Did he get discouraged? Did he have an niggle (his calf he complained about in his match against Tarek). Or other personal issues that took his mind off the game.
Whatever the reason, Karim played the perfect second game, tinned on 10/0 to avoid the humiliation – good man – and will be happy to be fresh for the final tomorrow against..?
It was a very tough first game. Mohamed is the best experienced player on tour. He was No.1 for a long time, World Champion and has all the titles. I have a lot of respect for him and he is an idol for a lot of the kids in Egypt and all over the world.
It’s very unexpected. Getting married on Friday and now being in the final of the World Tour Finals. When you’re married on the Friday, you don’t expect too much to do at the tournament and you don’t want to go on court, but once you get here and on court and you see everyone cheering for you it gives you a lot of power and you just relax to play your best squash. I’m really happy to be in the finals and playing in Egypt tomorrow.
I love playing here in Egypt and in my home town, tt’s very special. I’m really happy that a lot of tournaments now are being played in Egypt and we’re very lucky to have a bank like CIB sponsor all of the tournaments, it’s great to have someone supporting you and so thanks to them.
Raneem confirms her DPD win against Nour…
 Raneem El Welily (Egy) v  Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 11-9, 9-11, 11-1 (38m)
A very high quality game, which saw Raneem serve out and Nour turning a stroke decision in her favour into a let, on game ball…
The crowd from Cairo was truly shared in two camps, and the Yalla Nounou echoed the “Yalla Rino”. Great atmosphere and superb quality match, well at least for the first two games, the last one being one sided…
First game, Raneem seems very relaxed and fluid, and is leading playing superb accurate squash, 4/2, 7/4, 9/5. But a few too many errors (including serving out bless her) and Nour finds her marks, and from only returning attacks, she is now able to take the ball early and be more assertive. From 5/9 to 8/9. 10/8 sees Raneem makes her 6th error, but at the end of an incredible rally, it’s Raneem 11/9, in 15m.
The second is more about Nour to be honest. She is able to unsettle Raneem by finding superb winners in the four corners, 2/2, 3/3, 8/3, 9/4. Surely that’s enough to level the match.
Raneem doesn’t want a 3rd, or at least, she wants to prove to Nour that she’ll have to take the game away from her… Clawing back, point by point. Crowd is going mad, and we have a loud GREAT GREAT GREAT in Arabic every time Raneem scores, right behind Nour’s Dad, who starts to find that the cheering is a tiny bit ANNOYING…
At 9/10, Nour hits Raneem’s racquet, and it’s logically stroke for her. ‘nope’ says Nour, and gives it bak to Raneem in the form of a let. Chapeau. She is rewarded for her sportsmanship, wining the rally with an outstanding crosscourt volley in the nick that rolls off the floor, 11/9 in 14m.
But in the 3rd, Nour is completely overplayed, and Raneem will walk away with the match, Nour making 5 errors in that game alone (an average of 2 in the 2 previous games) and it’s 11/1 for Raneem in 7m..
It was very honest and decent of Nour to play a let on game ball when having a stroke. It takes courage to do that, she has not only done it today but has done it several times, so all credit to her.
I think I just tried to be more active in the third rather than being passive in the second. She played really well and pushed me to the back and then dragged me to the front to make the gap seem big. I’m glad with the way I fought in the second, I came all the way back to 9-10 and couldn’t quite make it, but it made a difference somehow, so I’m very happy to come out as the winner today.
I guess we just enjoy playing that shot behind our backs, I see players doing that all the time on court, when they weren’t practicing quickly they used to always play shots like that, so I grew up wanting to do that and play that fun part of the game, just as much as I wanted to win. Nour is obviously very skilled with the racket and it’s a gift from good, I really appreciate it.
To finish the season with a win would be absolutely fantastic. No pressure, the two other players are so strong, they are playing their best games nowadays, so may the best player win and hopefully tomorrow I play some good squash and if I win I’ll be very happy.