Friday, June 21, 2024

British Open Squash 2024: All-Egyptian women’s last four, men’s up for grabs

World Champion Nouran Gohar booked her spot in the semi-finals of the 2024 British Open after a ruthless performance saw her defeat England No.1 Georgina Kennedy in straight games at Birmingham Rep Theatre.

World No.2 Gohar had won all six of her previous matches against Kennedy and she wasted very little time in making that seven in a row following an 11-8, 11-1, 11-4 win after 28 minutes of action.

2019 champion Gohar is now just one win away from her fifth successive British Open final. She will take on arch-rival Hania El Hammamy for a place in the title decider in the latest chapter of their enthralling rivalry. Gohar and El Hammamy have met 23 times on the PSA Tour, with Gohar winning 15 of them.

“First of all, I love Gina as a player, as a person and as a personality, and I’m sure she is going to achieve even more in the game,” Gohar said afterwards.

“We have known each other since we were very young, and its amazing to be competing against someone like her. I knew that she also had great memories here, having won the Commonwealth Games here, which is a very big deal. I knew the crowd was going to be behind her.

“It’s very enjoyable to always come back and play here. The British Open is obviously always at the top of my list to come and play here. I love being here and I feel very comfortable here.”

2022 champion El Hammamy also won her quarter-final match in straight games, dispatching Belgian No.7 Tinne Gilis 11-8, 11-1, 11-4. That means all four semi-finalists in the women’s draw hail from Egypt.

“I couldn’t take anything for granted against her,” said El Hammamy.

“We’ve played so many times and even though she hasn’t got a win against me yet, it is always a tough match. To be honest, in the last game, I felt like I was enjoying myself lots, I was 9-5 up and I started to run too much and enjoy it too much. I had to be very careful with that.”

World No.2 Paul Coll and World No.4 Mostafa Asal will meet in the men’s semi-finals following respective wins against Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng and USA’s Timothy Brownell.

Coll, a two-time British Open champion and the only male New Zealander to lift the famous trophy, put in a masterclass to defeat World No.15 Eain Yow by an 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 scoreline.

“I’ve got some of my family over from New Zealand and I’ve got my best mate, my coach and my fiancé watching me,” Coll said.

“I’m going to enjoy this week, they give me a lot of energy and I felt that out there tonight. I felt pumped up and I wanted to do them proud. Dame Susan [Devoy, an eight-time British Open champion] has come over from New Zealand and that’s amazing too. I want to give them something to cheer about and make it noisy in here.”

Asal is yet to reach the British Open final but is one win away from doing so after toppling World No.36 Timothy Brownell 11-5, 11-9, 11-7. Brownell – the first man from the United States to reach the last eight – was sporting heavy strapping on his left knee and was appearing in the quarter-final after England’s Mohamed ElShorbagy pulled out of their third round match due to illness.

Brownell was cheered to the rafters when he did put points on the board, however it is Asal who progresses through to the last four. He has won eight of his 14 matches against Coll on the PSA Tour. He also beat the Kiwi at the same stage of last month’s PSA World Championships.

“The crowd made it feel like I was playing America!” said Asal.

“I’m really happy to be performing like this right now, with no issues, no bans or anything. Last year I didn’t get to play at the British Open, but it’s an amazing crowd, so thank you to everyone. I’m consistent now, I won titles at Black Ball and in Florida, I didn’t get my hands on the trophy at the World Championships, but it’s about trusting the process.”

Results – Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): 2024 British Open
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (40m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-3 (28m)

Draw – Men’s Semi-Finals: To Be Played June 8th
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v Joel Makin (WAL)
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [2] Paul Coll (NZL)

Results – Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): 2024 British Open
[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [6] Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-1, 11-4 (28m)
[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [7] Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (39m)

Draw – Women’s Semi-Finals: To Be Played June 8th
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)

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