Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Husband and wife in U.S. Open semi-finals as Ali Farag beats Tarek Momen and Nour El Tayeb downs Amanda Sobhy

By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)

World No.6 Nour El Tayeb downed United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy to join husband Ali Farag in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Platinum event held at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center.

El Tayeb and Farag made history at the 2017 U.S. Open when they became the first married couple to win a major sporting title on the same day. Both players are one win away from a place in the finals once again, with El Tayeb producing a magnificent performance to dispatch World No.4 Sobhy by an 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 scoreline.

“I’ve made the finals of the all tournaments I have played in the US,” said El Tayeb, who also reached the final of this tournament in 2015 and 2019.

Nour El Tayeb

“I like the indoor courts – in Egypt it’s always outdoors, which I guess I don’t like very much. But I like the courts here. I like the atmosphere, I like the crowd, so hopefully, I can keep going. The semis is nice, but I’ve done that already this season, so hopefully I can push it one round further than this.

“We’ve been playing a lot recently, me and Amanda, so we know each other. I think I felt more comfortable today. I felt more comfortable on this court than last week in Egypt (where she lost to Sobhy in the CIB Egyptian Open third round). I think I played well and I’m very happy.”

The other women’s quarter-final saw world No.1 Nouran Gohar come back from a game down to beat world No.8 Rowan Elaraby. Gohar, who has won the previous two U.S. Opens, will take on El Tayeb next for a 16th time on the PSA World Tour and has won 10 of their previous meetings.

Gohar said: “Other players have no pressure entering the court with me – they have nothing to lose. Winning games is something good and I’ve been in their place once before and I know how it feels playing against world number ones.

“It gives you extra excitement and you want to show the world why you’re good, so I’m just enjoying it.”

Nouran Gohar celebrates her win over Rowan Elaraby

Farag, the men’s World No.2 and a two-time U.S. Open champion after also winning the event in 2019, booked his spot in the semi-finals after ousting World No.6 and last year’s runner-up Tarek Momen.

Momen made strong starts in both the first and second games but the guile and craft of Farag was enough to give the top seed a two-game lead. Momen forced his fellow Egyptian into some incredible retrievals in the third game, but Farag was up to the task as he held off a late charge from Momen to secure his place in the semi-finals.

Asked about his performance, and that of his wife on the same evening, Farag said:  “I think both of us came up against some very tough opponents.

“Both of us played some of our best squash of the week so far, and we couldn’t be happier going home tonight.”

Farag will take on long-term foe Marwan ElShorbagy after the World No.8 prevailed in a scrappy contest with fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman, winning 13-11, 11-7, 11-4.

“Me and Youssef are very good friends off court and it was a tricky match because we only played once and he’s beaten me before,” said ElShorbagy.

“I’m just really happy to be so focused from the beginning and so sharp. I found my rhythm and felt my length was really good today and I’m really happy with the way I’ve been hitting the ball. I played well and it was a good match, I thought.”

The quarter-finals of the U.S. Open continue today (October 13). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV from 17:30 local time (GMT-4).

PSA Platinum 2022 U.S. Open, Arlen Specter Center, Philadelphia, USA.

Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half):
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [6] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (52m)
Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 11-7, 11-4 (49m)

Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, October 13):
[4] Diego Elias (PER) v [7] Joel Makin (WAL)
[5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) v [2] Paul Coll (NZL)

Men’s Semi-Finals (Top Half, October 14):
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) v Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)

Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half):
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [7] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 12-10 (59m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-8 (33m)

Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, October 13):
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v [5] Joelle King (NZL)
[8] Salma Hany (EGY) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

Women’s Semi-Finals (Top Half, October 14):
[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour


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