Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ElShorbagy and Gohar power to Black Ball Squash Open titles

Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nouran Gohar are the 2023 Black Ball Squash Open champions after achieving respective wins over Tarek Momen and Hania El Hammamy at the Black Ball Sporting Club.

No.5 seed ElShorbagy won the PSA World Tour Gold event for the first time following a 14-12, 11-8, 11-7 victory over No.7 seed Momen.

It’s ElShorbagy’s fifth PSA title of the season and the Englishman has now won 49 PSA events during his illustrious career – which puts him joint fourth on the all-time men’s winners list, tied with the great Peter Nicol.

ElShorbagy, who had won 22 of 27 matches against Momen coming into the fixture, was pushed all the way by his opponent in a tense opening game before engineering some breathing space for himself by taking the second. Momen then squandered a 6-1 lead in the third game as the man known as ‘The Beast’ came back to seal the win in straight games.

“We go way back and have played so many times over the years,” said ElShorbagy afterwards.

“We’ve been great rivals, with respect. In Egypt, there have been a lot of great champions, in the past, present and, I’m sure, in the future. For me, Tarek is by far the most consistent and best ever Egyptian player to have played in his 30s.

“We’ve had a great week here, there have been amazing matches in the men’s and women’s draw. We’ve had everyone speak about the quality of the matches and the quality of the sport. That’s what we really want as a sport, I’m really happy that we can see that and I hope all the players can keep playing this kind of quality and we can take it to the next level at the next tournament and the tournament after.”

 

Meanwhile, Gohar successfully retained her Black Ball Open title following an 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 victory over No.3 seed Hania El Hammamy. It’s the World No.1s fourth trophy of the campaign as well as the 21st of her career.

It was a closely-fought contest as it always is between these two and Gohar captured a crucial third game on the tie-break before powering to the win in the fourth to end a two-match losing run to El Hammamy.

“It means a lot to come back and win this,” Gohar said. “I had to pull out of the final at the ToC and it was heartbreaking for me. I’ve been consistent and have reached the final of every event, so I felt I had more. This week has given me a big boost and having my family here as well as my friends and the fans makes a big difference.

“She [El Hammamy] is such a competitor and she’s very feisty. I enjoy our matches because we bring the best out of each other, which makes it more enjoyable when I win it at the end.”

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