Day Two As It Happened

Join us here for reports and reaction from day two of the season-ending Xbox PSA World Tour Finals taking place at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House in Bellevue.

XBOX PSA WORLD TOUR FINALS 2024 : Day TWO, Pools Round Two

WA   [6] Nele Gilis (Bel) 2-0 [8] Tinne Gilis (Bel)   11-9, 11-4 (33m)
WA   [1] Nour ElSherbini (Egy) 2-1 [4] Olivia Weaver (Usa)  11-4, 10-11, 11-7 (38m)

WB   [5] Gina Kennedy (Eng) 2-0 [7] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)    11-8, 11-4 (19m)
WB   [2] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 2-0 [3] Hania El Hammamy (Egy)  11-9, 11-5 (28m)

MA   [1] Ali Farag (Egy) 2-0 [3] Mostafa Asal (Egy)   11-10, 11-6 (33m)
MA   [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 2-1 [8] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Eng)  9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (45m)

MB   [6] Mazen Hesham (Egy) 2-1 [7] Tarek Momen (Egy)  10-11, 11-6, 11-9 (48m)
MB   [2] Paul Coll (Nzl) 2-0 [4] Diego Elias (Per)   11-8, 11-9 (39m)

Kennedy Downs Tayeb to Move 2nd in Group B

Georgina Kennedy in action.

England’s Georgina Kennedy scored her first win at this season’s Xbox PSA World Tour Finals as she took out World No.4 Nour El Tayeb to move second in Group B.

It was a must win match for both players to keep qualification hopes for the semi-finals alive, and it was Kennedy who emerged victorious with an 11-8, 11-4 win to claim her third successive win over the Egyptian.

The pair were neck and neck for much of the first game but the Englishwoman’s accuracy helped her to edge ahead to a 1-0 lead.

Kennedy looked full of confidence in the second as she took the ball into the front corners well to earn six match balls. A frustrated El Tayeb then smashed her racket into her calf multiple times, earning her a conduct stroke and handing the win to Kennedy.

“We’ve played a few times recently, so I think we were both aware of each other’s game plans,” said Kennedy afterwards.

“It’s tricky playing Nour, especially in the best of three format. The first game was important and then I tried to get a good start in the second. But it’s always so enjoyable and she’s great off the court as well, so I’m really happy with that.

“In this format you have to keep playing even if you lose. For Nour, she came close to getting a really good win [in the previous round] and it’s hard to mentally get back. We knew we had to win this match if we wanted a chance of getting to the semis and we’re not used to this format because normally it’s a knockout at any other event.

“My boyfriend’s parents are actually here, they actually came all the way from Missouri, so I wanted to get one win when they’re here!”

Result : [5] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) bt [7] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 2-0: 11-8, 11-4 (19m)

Hesham Comes Back to Beat Momen

World No.5 Mazen Hesham bounced back from yesterday’s defeat to New Zealand’s Paul Coll as he overturned a one-game deficit to beat fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen.

Momen scored the biggest upset of the day yesterday when he dispatched World Champion Diego Elias 2-0, and he made a strong start today, earning a 10-6 lead in the opening game.

Hesham made a big charge and took four points on the bounce to send the opening game to a sudden death decider, with Momen sneaking it to go a game ahead.

Hesham did pick up where he left off though in the second game as he began to put work into Momen’s legs and he soon brought the match back to parity.

The third game started off with some scrappy rallies and refereeing decisions, but as the game entered the crucial stages the quality ramped up significantly, with some sensational rallies playing out in front of enraptured spectators.

It was Hesham who was able to keep his opponent at bay, earning a 10-11, 11-6, 11-9 victory which, at 48 minutes, is the longest match of the tournament so far.

“I forgot it was sudden death in the first game, I don’t know what was wrong with my head,” said Hesham, who is now third in Group B.

“I just tinned it really casually and then thought: ‘oh, it’s done!?’. I’ve been struggling since the British Open and even yesterday I couldn’t move that well. Today I felt better, but I tinned a lot in the first game.

“It’s a long season and there is so much going on in my mind, it’s been a lot and I’m barely sleeping. I’m just going to chill and I’m really happy with the win.

“Of course, I’m thrilled [with the season]. But human beings are so greedy, at the beginning of the season I’d have been really happy to reach top five, but then you think that you should have reached top four.

“I’m really grateful to push these guys to the limit, I’ve had some tough battles to go on court and put on a show. People don’t know how hard it is for me to push, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Result : [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-1: 10-11, 11-6, 11-9 (48m)

Gohar Qualifies for Last Four

World No.2 Nouran Gohar continued her incredible form with an exquisite victory over World No.3 Hania El Hammamy as she became the first player to qualify for the semi-finals.

Gohar is aiming to win her fifth successive PSA event and now boasts a 22-match winning streak after defeating El Hammamy by an 11-9, 11-5 scoreline to secure top spot in Group B.

As is to be expected in a repeat of last season’s final, the quality was extremely high throughout, with Gohar’s crisp hitting enabling her to nullify her opponent.

Gohar, who beat El Hammamy in both the 2021 and 2023 finals, will play Nour El Tayeb in her final group match, while El Hammamy must now beat England’s Georgina Kennedy if she is to qualify for the semi-finals.

“Hania is a great and fierce competitor, and I need to elevate my game every time I play her,” said Gohar.

“I say it over and over again, but I’m very lucky to be playing in the era of [Nour] El Sherbini and Hania. We’ve brought the game to another level. Today was more than a match because it’s a different format, so I was trying to think of it as a practice match.

“I think it helps when you have this mentality and I’m very lucky to have Haitham [Effat] in my corner. He understands squash so well, and talking to him even on the phone is such a help.”

Result : [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 2-0: 11-9, 11-5 (28m)

Coll Qualifies For Semis

New Zealand’s Paul Coll has become the first man to qualify for the semi-finals following a 2-0 victory over World Champion Diego Elias which has sent the Peruvian crashing out.

The first game lasted 21 minutes, which was the same length as the entirety of Elias’s defeat to Tarek Momen yesterday. Coll hit clean lines and took the ball early to sneak a 1-0 lead.

In the second, it was nip and tuck for much of the duration, but Coll came through in the business end once again to stay top of Group B with eight points from eight.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve started this event well and qualified after the first two matches,” said Coll afterwards.

“I’m pretty happy,, but I want to kick on with the momentum now. If it went to 10-10 I would have been clenching pretty hard, but I’m happy to get off 11-9.

“As a spectator I love sudden death, but as a player there is a bit of pressure. When it happened yesterday I ran around to watch because I thought it was exciting, but when I was facing it, it wasn’t quite as exciting. It adds a different element to the game, and it’s working well for me so far.

“You want to finish top of the group, but with the strength of Pool A, I don’t think it really matters if you come first or second. It’s going to be a tough semi-finals match whatever you do, but if you go undefeated you get more points, more money, and I’ve got a wedding to pay for!”

Result : [2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [4] Diego Elias (PER) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (39m)

Nele Downs Sister Tinne in Epic Group-Stage Showdown

Belgian sisters Nele and Tinne Gilis faced eachother for the third time this season, with the older sister winning both previous two occasions in the final of the Singapore and New Zealand Opens.

It was Tinne who got off to a stronger start in Bellevue, Washington however, accumulating an 9-6 lead in the first game. However the World No.5 reacted, and accrued five straight points to claim a 1-0 advantage.

Nele looked more in command of the second game as she stormed to an 11-4 win to claim four points in her group.

The result takes the head-to-head to 8-1 in favour of the older Belgian.

Speaking after the match, Nele said: “I’m very, very pleased to get the win.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be honest. Normally after you’ve been chopped in 15 minutes, I would be at the airport five minutes later so it was very tough mentally reset.

“I went through quite a bit of stress today, but I think when I was down in that first set, I just started to think about fighting my way through to win in three… and somehow I managed to win that one.”

Result : [6] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt [8] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 2-0: 11-9, 11-4 (33m)

Farag Takes Down Defending Champion 

World No.1 Ali Farag defeated three-time World Tour Finals winner and Egyptian Mostafa Asal in straight games.

The defending champion looked in agony after he lunged into the back corner in game one, and returned to the court looking uncomfortable after a brief injury break.

The match remained competitive, but Farag had the edge and took full advantage as he pushed to an 11-10, 11-6 win.

Speaking after the match, Farag said: “The first game, I was hitting my lengths, but then he was cutting it off. I was cross-courting and then he picked me off really well.

“I had dig deep and start to play it straighter, play it higher to get it past him. I was very lucky to win that first, and that gave me momentum for the second.”

Result : [1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [3] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 2-0: 11-10, 11-6 (33m)

ElSherbini Takes Down Home Favourite Weaver

World No.1 Nour ElSherbini took down World No.6 Olivia Weaver on the American’s home soil to earn a guaranteed spot in the semi-finals ahead of the last group stage match.

The No.1 seed looked in fine form as she took a rapid 1-0 advantage over the home favourite.

Weaver rallied well, however, drawing on the energy of the home crowd in Seattle as won a dramatic tie-break over ElSherbini.

The Egyptian dispatched reestablished her dominance as she dispatched opposition in quick-fashion 11-7 to book a place in Friday’s semi-finals.

Speaking after the match, the No.1 seed said: “She came back strong. I had my chances in the second game… but I ended up losing the game.

“I was lucky at the end to be honest, but we’ve had some amazing battles this season. We’ve been playing almost every tournament and every time she’s improving. But I’m always very grateful to be on the winning side.”

Result : [1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) bt [4] Olivia Weaver (USA) 2-1: 11-4, 10-11, 11-7 (38m)

Gawad Comes Back To Beat ElShorbagy

In an exciting end to proceedings on day two of the Xbox World Tour Finals, former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad defeated fellow former World Champion and No.8 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy in 45 minutes.

The Englishman, who has one the event twice before in 2017 and 2018, came into the match after a loss to Asal in the first round, and it looked as though his fortunes had changed as he battled to a 11-9 win.

The Egyptian rallied however, and looked fully in control of game two as he rushed to an 11-6 win to restore parity in the match. Gawad pushed on in the third game, and despite a fightback from ElShorbagy, the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ won the match 11-8 to secure three points for himself.

The result puts Gawad in third position in group A with three points, while ElShorbagy claims his first point of the tournament, but still sits at the bottom of the group.

Speaking after the match, Gawad was full of praise for his opponent.

“We grew up together, we used to play against each other since we were seven years old. We both started at the same club in Alexandria.

“It’s always enjoyable playing Mohamed, he’s one of the greatest legends in our sport, and the amount of titles he’s one in his career is just unbelievable and the matches he’s played.

“It’s nice now to get some wins against him, and I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Result : [5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [8] Mohamed Elshorbagy (ENG) 2-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (45m)