Nour shows why she is world champion with a quality display
By LINDA ELRIANI at Heights Casino
Today was the final day of our 2017 Carol Weymuller Open. It’s been a tremendous week of squash and the PSA players have definitely left everyone inspired and motivated.
The tournament is obviously named after Carol Weymuller herself. Carol started the junior squash program here at The Heights Casino many years back with her late husband Fred, and it has obviously grown and expanded along with the sport. We always like to thank Carol for all her hard work and dedication back at the start, as we wouldn’t be where we are today with our program if she had not been forward thinking enough to develop squash in this area.
At 7.30pm the bleachers were packed with eager members, anticipating the outcome. Our 2017 finalists were Joelle King from New Zealand, the 2015 runner-up and current world # 10 playing against Nour El Sherbini from Egypt, who is the world champion, defending Carol Weymuller Champion and world #1. Both players looked bouncy and eager to go on, knowing this was their last huge effort after a very successful and tiring week at the Weymuller.
This match was going to be particularly interesting as both players, while very much on-form, play with quite different styles. Joelle likes to plays a pretty fast, precise and attacking game, stepping forward on the court and has more traditional tactics of cutting the ball off around the T.
Nour varies the pace and goes short whenever possible with wonderful creative shots whenever she feels there is a space open on the court. She tries to twist and turn her opponent and take away their rhythm. Who was going to manage to force their game plan over the other? We’d soon find out.
Literally the only part of the match that Nour looked a little tentative was the first four points and then her total brilliance kicked in. Nour went from 3-1 down to 7-3 up and even though Joelle tried incredibly hard to take the T it was so difficult as Nour was hitting all her targets so well and relentlessly.
Joelle could see a little bit of light at the end of the first game and managed to squeeze back 4 points with the help of a couple of errors from Nour, but Nour still took the first game 11-7.
In the second Nour was flawless and was 5-0 up before we knew it. Joelle wasn’t really doing anything wrong, it was just that Nour was so awesome and seemed to be getting better by the minute.
Nour’s shot choices were creative and accurate and she certainly wowed the crowd with her wizardry. Nearer the end of the game there was one particular rally that was very impressive and long, with Joelle mostly in control, but Nour kept getting every ball back!
It was as if Joelle should have won the rally as least three times before she finally did, and Nour ended up on the floor from her huge efforts to stay in the rally. It left me feeling that this is the amount of work that Joelle has to put in today if she is going to have a chance to beat Nour, and it didn’t look as though today Joelle quite had that in her. Joelle worked so hard yesterday and played so incredibly well that it is hard to back it up the next day against the world’s best player. Nour went on to win the second 11-5.
In the third, Nour simply dominated. Joelle made a few errors but Nour was just amazing. She was so focused and calm and really looked to be in her zone. Joelle kept trying to break Nour’s rhythm but to no avail, Nour just steam-trained through to take the final game 11-3, making history at the same time, being the first player to win the Carol Weymuller three times in a row.
After the final I interviewed the very happy Nour. She said: “I think it’s my best match since I’ve been in the US for the last two weeks. My shots were working, I was moving well and I was thinking not to finish everything too quickly.
“I felt confident going for my shots. I think it was my day! Joelle has been killing it the last two weeks. I think that she has beaten most of the top five now, Nour, Raneem, Nicol, Laura, everyone! I’m glad it wasn’t my turn! Thank you and see you next year!”
A slightly disappointed Joelle said: “With Nour you just have to blind on. I wasn’t seeing the ball quite as sharp and my decision making was not quite as crisp and I was kind of behind the whole way, maybe it was a bit of fatigue.
“But credit to her, she just did not give me anything and played great squash. The last six weeks have been amazing. It’s been a great block. A couple of weeks of training and then on to Hong Kong!”
To see Nate Chura’s YouTube video interviewing Weymuller Champion Nour El Sherbini please click here
PSA W50 Women’s Carol Weymuller Open 2017, Heights Casino, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (33m)
EDITOR’S NOTE: From all the Squash Mad team, huge congratulations to Linda Elriani and her team at Heights Casino for delivering another magnificent Carol Weymuller tournament. Top job, Lindy!
Pictures by KELLEY HOLMGREN