Squash Mad

ElShorbagy and El Tayeb lock down the first post-Covid titles

Manchester champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Tayeb

ElShorbagy and El Tayeb lock down the first post-Covid titles
By SEAN REUTH – Squash Mad Correspondent

Egyptian duo Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Tayeb have won the first PSA World Tour event to take place following the suspension of the PSA World Tour due to COVID-19 after wins over Karim Abdel Gawad and Camille Serme in the Manchester Open finals.

Held at the National Squash Centre under strict COVID-19 protocols, the Manchester Open is the first PSA World Tour event to be held since March.

ElShorbagy won the final men’s PSA World Tour event before the suspension – the St. James’s Plac Canary Wharf Classic – and he picked up where he left off with an 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11 victory over Gawad to win his 42nd PSA title.

This win sees the World No.1 surpass French veteran Gregory Gaultier to become the sole holder of fifth place on the all-time men’s PSA title winners list behind only Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan, Mike Corren and Peter Nicol.

“It has been an interesting week,” said ElShorbagy, whose victory came in the same city he won the 2017 PSA World Championship.

“The players have had to adapt but I am just really glad that the end result was the same for me. I wanted to win the title, I wanted to challenge myself, even with all the things we had to deal with differently. However, I think that squash was the winner, not just one player, we gave so many quality matches for the fans watching back at home.

“When I was 10 years old, whenever I was asked what my goal was. My goal wasn’t to get to World No.1, because I didn’t think that was a high enough goal. My goals were always to put my name in the history books of the sport. I am only 29, and hopefully I still have more time to get higher up the ladder.”

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Meanwhile, El Tayeb has become only the second woman to get her name etched onto the trophy as she recovered from a slow start to down top seed Camille Serme 3-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 in 45 minutes.

The World No.4 had won her previous three matches against the French player coming into the fixture but was outplayed in a quick-fire opening game as Serme dominated proceedings.

El Tayeb found her rhythm in the second, though, and won the next three games without reply to earn her 11th PSA World Tour title and her first since February.

“It has been a while since we played anything, obviously, but it is nice to win five matches in a row,” said El Tayeb.

“I haven’t done that in so long so it is very nice to do it in the first tournament back, it is definitely a nice confidence booster for the rest of the season. Today was not my best performance squash-wise but I am proud of maturing a little bit, and I feel very good about today.

“I am very happy that I have won here to give me some confidence that I can play with the top girls. I hadn’t been playing well for the last six or seven months before the lockdown, so I am happy to be playing some decent squash.”

ElShorbagy and El Tayeb will each take home equal prize money in excess of $11,000.

The next PSA World Tour event will be the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which will be held at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia between Monday September 28 and Saturday October 1.

2020 Manchester Open, National Squash Centre, Manchester, England.

Men’s Final:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11 (71m)

Women’s Final:
[2] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [1] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-1: 3-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (45m)

Pictures courtesy of PSA

 

Posted on September 22, 2020

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