Sunday, July 14, 2024

All-Egyptian final in Monte Carlo

Teenager Nouran Gohar beats Dipika Pallikal in Monaco semis
By HOWARD HARDING  – Squash Mad Correspondent

Nouran Gohar and Dipika Pallikal
Nouran Gohar and Dipika Pallikal

Omneya Abdel Kawy and Nouran Gohar will battle for the Women’s Monte Carlo Classic title at Stade Louis II in Monaco in the first all-Egyptian final in the 19-year history of the WSA Silver 25 event.

MCdipgoEighth seed Gohar, the 17-year-old world No22 from Cairo who reached last year’s semi-finals as a qualifier, produced her second upset in 24 hours when she beat second-seeded Indian Dipika Pallikal.

The world No16 from Chennai led 2-0 and looked on course to become the event’s first Indian finalist.

But plucky teenager Gohar (pictured in action, right) was in no mood to concede – and took the next three games in convincing style to overcome Pallikal 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2 in 70 minutes.

The win marked Gohar’s fifth victory over a world top 20 player in the last two months.

“It was my first match against Dipika – she is very difficult to play because she plays such good shots and is also deceptive on the court,” said Gohar, now in the third WSA World Tour final of her career.

“I like playing here – it’s the only tournament I have played three times. I love the atmosphere here.”

MCOMHABBy contrast, experienced world No11 Abdel Kawy achieved her semi-final win in half the time.

The No4 seed ended the impressive run of compatriot Habiba Mohamed Ahmed, the unseeded 15-year-old who ousted top seed and defending champion Camille Serme 24 hours earlier.

Abdel Kawy (in green, pictured right with Mohamed) had to be at the top of her game to see off Ahmed 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 in 36 minutes – a win which takes the 2010 champion from Cairo into the 31st Tour final of her illustrious career.

“I am happy with the way I am playing and recovered well from my five-game match yesterday,” said the 29-year-old later. “I am happy to win in three games.

“It’s my fifth time in Monaco and second time in the final tomorrow, so for the moment everything is going well!”

WSA Monte Carlo Classic, Monaco

[4] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY) 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (36m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [2] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2 (70m)

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