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ElShorbagy reclaims No.1 spot after reaching PSA World Championship final

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Published in Squash
Thursday, 22 July 2021 00:19

Gohar will emulate ElShorbagy if she wins the women’s final

Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy ensured he will overthrow rival Ali Farag as the new men’s World No.1 on August 1 after he overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll at the University Club of Chicago to reach the final of the 2020-21 PSA World Championship presented by the Walter Family.

ElShorbagy, who will record the 50th month of his career atop the PSA Men’s World Rankings next month, has been gunning for the coveted ranking ever since losing it to Farag in October, 2020, and he will take on his fellow Egyptian in the final of the sport’s most prestigious tournament after beating 2019-20 runner-up Coll 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 in 50 minutes.

He will now attempt to win his second World Championship title – following his 2017 win over younger brother Marwan in Manchester – and will line up in his fourth World Championship final after also reaching the title decider in 2012 and 2014. He is only the third Egyptian to achieve that feat after Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour, with Ashour beating ElShorbagy in 2012 and 2014.

“The job is not done,” said ElShorbagy. “One of my goals was to get the World No.1 spot, which is now in the bag, but tomorrow is a big day. I’m playing my biggest rival on tour, we’ve been rivals for the last three or four years now, and I can’t wait to get back on court with him. We haven’t played in a big match like this in a long time.

“It’s great to have the two best players in the world contesting it, I think we’ll both give a great match for all the squash fans around the whole world and in the crowd here in Chicago. I really can’t wait, and I’m really excited to be on court with him tomorrow.”

Farag (in grey) embraces his compatriot and friend Tarek Momen after an epic battle

Despite losing the World No.1 ranking, Farag will also have a chance to capture his second World Championship title after he dethroned reigning champion Tarek Momen in a repeat of the 2018-19 PSA World Championship final, which was the first PSA World Championship to be held in Chicago.

The match was an enthralling 84-minute battle, with Farag coming through to win 10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 as he made it 16 wins in a row in Chicago after he also won the 2020 Windy City Open to go with his 2018-19 PSA World Championship triumph.

“Winning the World Championship title against your main rival would be an awesome thing to do,” Farag said.

“I would love to play with Mohamed, even this though he is on fuego again. I’m happy for my parents, I see them in the crowd. I love them both so much, and I’m so happy to be in another final.”

World No. 1 Nour El Sherbini (left) was in imperious form in her semi-final against home favourite Amanda Sobhy

Like the men’s final, the women’s final will also see the world’s top two players go head-to-head, and both the World No.1 spot and the World Championship title will be on offer when reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini takes on World No.2 Nouran Gohar tomorrow.

It will be the fifth year in succession that the women’s final will feature two Egyptians and El Sherbini has made history after becoming the first woman to reach six successive World Championship finals.

The 25-year-old will aim to become the third woman to win a World Championship crown on five occasions tomorrow following a dominant 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 victory over United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

“Being in the final of the World Championship without losing a game makes me more confident, and I want to win this tournament by playing my best tomorrow,” said El Sherbini after reaching the seventh World Championship title of her career.

“It’s huge for me to be trying to win a fifth World Championship. I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself or think a lot about it. I have one more match and will make a good plan and just try to focus, play squash and that’s it.”

Nouran Gohar (left) celebrates her semi-final victory over France’s Camille Serme

Gohar is through to her first World Championship final, with the 23-year-old powering past France’s World No.4 Camille Serme with an 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 victory in 36 minutes.

Gohar, from Cairo, will now look to return to World No.1 for the second time in her career – and the first time since October 2020 – while she is aiming to become the third Egyptian female to lift the iconic trophy after El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily.

“If I win tomorrow then it’s a bonus to become World No.1, but the match itself is something else,” Gohar said.

“I want to win the match itself, and I’m not thinking about the rankings or about the title. It’s just another day and another match and we’ll see what happens. I’m just happy that I was able to do it today and not next year because I can’t wait another year, I had to do it this time.”

In addition to the World Championship title, the players will also compete for the most lucrative winner’s prize purse in professional squash – $64,600 – with this edition of the PSA World Championships being the sport’s second tournament to offer $1,000,000 in total player compensation.

The finals of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family take place tomorrow (July 22) and play starts at 18:00 (GMT-5). Action from the glass court inside Cathedral Hall will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV and the channels of contracted broadcasters around the world.

For more information on the 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, visit the tournament website or follow the event on Twitter and Facebook.

Results – Semi-Finals: Men’s 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 (84m)

[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [4] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 (50m)

Draw – Men’s Final: To Be Played July 22nd

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Results – Semi-Finals: Women’s 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [5] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [3] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (36m)

Draw – Women’s Final: To Be Played July 22nd

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of  PSA World Tour

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