Semis Roundup: Asal Downs World No.1 Farag to Reach Title Decider

World No.4 Mostafa Asal continued his red-hot form as he dismantled World No.1 and World Champion Ali Farag at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia to reach the CIB PSA World Tour Finals title decider for the second season in a row.

The reigning champion – who won his third major title at the El Gouna International earlier this month – was sublime against Farag as he outmanoeuvred his fellow Egyptian, recording an 11-4, 11-6 victory which will see him compete in his third final of the season.

“I believe in myself and I believe that I can reach the World No.1 spot,” said 21-year-old Asal.

“I’m living my best moments on Tour and actually, I am not focusing on my age. If I focus on my age, I will not step in front of this amazing crowd or even enter this amazing tournament.

“This tournament is not about squash, it is not about physicality, or anything like that, it is about being mentally strong.”

Asal will line up against World No.2 and recently-crowned PSA Male Player of the Year Paul Coll after the Kiwi got the better of last year’s runner-up and two-time World Tour Finals champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, also by a 2-0 margin. Coll is the first non-Egyptian to reach the final of the men’s event since 2017.

“We have played each other twice in the last month, and he has found his groove again,” said Coll.

“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, I’ll take my parents out for a nice dinner, and will just enjoy myself next week.”

The women’s final will be a repeat of the CIB PSA World Championship title decider, with World No.1 Nouran Gohar and World No.2 Nour El Sherbini beating World No.3 Hania El Hammamy and World No.4 Amanda Sobhy, respectively.

There was no love lost in the fixture between Gohar and El Hammamy – a repeat of last season’s final – with the former aiming to bounce back from defeats against her fellow Egyptian in both the Allam British Open and El Gouna International title deciders.

El Hammamy started the stronger of the two, but Gohar held her nerve to overturn a 9-5 deficit in the first game, before closing out the second to reach her second successive final at this event.

The reigning champion said: “I had 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.

“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.”

El Sherbini has reached the final of this event for the first time since 2018 after she claimed a dominant win over United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

The six-time World Champion was sporting strapping on her left ankle but it barely hindered her as she put in a devastating performance to win 11-2, 11-5 in just 14 minutes.

“It is the final match against the in-form player in the whole tournament,” El Sherbini said.

“Nouran [Gohar] has been playing really well. There is 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.”

The CIB PSA World Tour Finals continues tomorrow (June 26) and play starts at the Mall of Arabia at 19:30 (GMT+2). The action will be shown live on SQUASHTV as well as the channels of PSA’s broadcast partners.

Men’s Semi-Finals: 
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 2-0: 11-4, 11-6 (37m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-5 (31m)

Women’s Semi-Finals: 
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 2-0: 11-9, 12-10 (42m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 2-0: 11-2, 11-5 (14m)