Youngest world champion defends title on home soil
By SEAN REUTHE
Reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini is looking to become the first female Egyptian player ever to win the prestigious Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship crown on home soil when the tournament takes place between April 7-14 in El Gouna, Egypt.
El Sherbini overtook the iconic Susan Devoy to become the youngest ever female World Champion 12 months ago when she recovered from two games down to defeat England’s Laura Massaro in a climactic final – a win which also saw her overtake Massaro at the summit of the World Rankings the following month.
And the Alexandrian will be roared on by a partizan Egyptian crowd in El Gouna as she aims to lift her first major Tour title since last year’s triumph in Kuala Lumpur.
“I’m super excited to be playing in Egypt, I can’t explain how exciting it is,” said the 21-year-old.
“I always love playing in Egypt in front of my family and friends. The last Women’s World Championship in Egypt in Wadi Degla  didn’t go my way and I lost first round, so I will give it everything this time to go as far as I can.”
El Sherbini has lifted just one Tour title since her World Championship victory and, as such, her World No.1 ranking has come under threat from the likes of Massaro, World No.3 Camille Serme and compatriot Raneem El Welily.
However, El Sherbini is looking forward to the impending battle for her crown as she bids to recapture her best form.
“It’s very tough on the Tour right now,” El Sherbini admitted. “Everyone is playing well and anyone can win any event. It’s tough and challenging, but that’s the game and I love it like this.
“Being the World Champion and the World No.1 was really huge for me and the final match against Laura is one of my best ever memories. Being 2-0 down and coming back, I can remember every point in the match. To able to say you are the World Champion is just amazing.
“But being the defending champion won’t change the way I approach the tournament. It’s the last tournament of the season (aside from the PSA Dubai World Series Finals), so it’s just a case of giving it one more push and giving it everything.”
Qualification for the Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship takes place between April 5-6, with the main draw beginning on April 7 and lasting up until the final on April 14.
El Sherbini begins her title defence against a qualifier in round one and is seeded to meet World No.5 Nouran Gohar in the last four.
Tickets for the tournament can be purchased at www.e7gezly.com/event/elgounaintlsquashopen and 50% of the ticket price will go to Abu Reesh Hospitals.
Pictures courtesy of PSA