‘Dream come true’ as Asal claims first major title in home city
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
Egyptian duo Mostafa Asal and Nouran Gohar are the 2020-21 CIB PSA World Tour Finals champions after they defeated compatriots Mohamed ElShorbagy and Hania El Hammamy at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia earlier today.
Asal, the reigning world junior champion, has lifted the first major PSA title of his career at the age of 20 after he recovered from a game down to overcome world No.2 ElShorbagy by an 12-14, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 scoreline.
Asal, who has received both praise and criticism from fans and fellow players for his on-court demeanour and exuberant celebrations, has truly announced his arrival on the world stage with a sensational week in Cairo.
He finished top of Group A as well as beating World No.1 Ali Farag, world champion Tarek Momen, defending champion Marwan ElShorbagy as well as Mohamed ElShorbagy en route to his fifth PSA Tour title.
“I can’t believe I’ve played with someone that I’ve always looked up to,” said Asal afterwards.
“He’s a legend, he’s my No.1, he’s an idol, everything. I cannot celebrate against him, but this is something special for me. Since I was 10 years old, I went with my friends and cheered for him at every tournament.
“He (ElShorbagy) said to me to celebrate as I want, that it’s my time. I came here to enjoy myself, in front of my friends, in my country, in front of my city. To play this tournament is something unbelievable to me and to play against the world No.1, world No.2, world No.3, world No.5 is a dream come true.”
Meanwhile, Gohar has also won her first CIB PSA World Tour Finals, becoming the sixth woman to triumph at the event, after ending El Hammamy’s title defence courtesy of an 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 victory.
Gohar and El Hammamy were the only undefeated players left in the event across both the men’s and women’s draws coming into the final and it was 23-year-old Gohar who held her nerve to complete an unbeaten run, meaning she claims the maximum 1,600 bonus ranking points on offer at the World Tour Finals.
It’s Gohar’s 10th PSA title and her first major trophy since the 2019 U.S. Open.
“If you want to beat Hania then you have to play over your best and be consistent,” said Gohar afterwards.
“She is the hungriest player right now on tour. I know how it feels to be her age and beating the top players, so I knew she would be confident on court and I couldn’t take it for granted being 2-0 up. I really enjoyed my time on court this week and am super happy.
“The ranking is huge and I’ve been there, so there is no more pressure to get on top and I definitely want to get back [to world No.1]. You have to think about the performance first to be able to win the titles and be able to reach the top again. The main point now is to have these performances consistently and then win titles and then get back to the ranking.”
Both Asal and Gohar take home over $25,000 in prize money. They will next be in action at the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family between July 14-22 in Chicago.
2020-21 CIB PSA World Tour Finals, Mall of Arabia, Cairo, Egypt.
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 12-14, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (70m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8 (77m)
Pictures courtesy of PSA