World number ones deliver the goods in DPD finals
By ELLIE MAWSON
Egypt’s World No.1s Ali Farag and Raneem El Welily are the 2019 DPD Open Squash champions after they claimed respective wins over Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini in Eindhoven, Netherlands today.
The PSA World Tour Gold tournament was held at the brand new DPD headquarters in the Dutch city to mark the grand opening of their new distribution centre and it was the two Egyptian World No.1s who took home the inaugural titles.
World No.1 El Welily claimed her second successive PSA title, following her win last month at the Black Ball Squash Open, after producing an incredible comeback from 2-0 down to win 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 against reigning World Champion El Sherbini.
El Welily, who had gone to five games in all of her matches in Eindhoven, held numerous game balls in the first, but El Sherbini battled back to rattle off the points in quick succession, eventually taking the opener on a tie-break.
The three-time World Champion then doubled her lead in the second, with both players showing some unbelievable skill on court much to the delight of the packed-out crowd. However, El Welily showed her incredible mental strength to battle back in style and claim her 21st PSA title.
“The five-setters really paid off eventually,” said 30-year-old El Welily. “To come back from 2-0 down against Nour is almost impossible, mentally at least, so I’m really happy with the way I managed to push myself mentally and physically and show some character towards the end.
“After I lost the first when I was 10-5 up, I thought I blew it up, but I just told myself it’s not the end of the world just keep pushing. You need to come off court doing your best, if you mess things up sometimes you fight hard to make things right again.”
Meanwhile, World No.1 and World Champion Farag dominated against rival ElShorbagy to claim the men’s title.
It was the first meeting between the two players since January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions final, when Farag won to take the World No.1 spot from ElShorbagy and Farag ensured he continued his dominance with a 3-1 win.
The first game looked as though it was going to set the tempo for the rest of the match, with both players showcasing their ability to send it all the way to a tense tie-break, which ElShorbagy claimed. However, Farag came out firing in the second and never looked back as he controlled the rest of the match against a below-par ElShorbagy to take an 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 victory.
“The first game was really tough and it was a tough one to lose,” said the 26-year-old Farag afterwards.
“I’m glad I regrouped myself and Nour [El Tayeb] gave me a very good tip after the first. It’s always a pleasure to share the court with someone who is one of the greats of our sport and I’m looking forward to many more battles in the future.
“He was No.1 when I was starting so Mohamed is always going to be favourite. I don’t put much pressure on myself but obviously I’m very happy with the way I handled things. I think I played good squash and I’m looking forward to taking that on next week in El Gouna.”
The next PSA World Tour tournament will be the El Gouna International which takes place in Egypt between April 17-26.
DPD Open Squash, DPD Hub, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4 (46m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (65m)
Pictures courtesy of PSA