Saturday, March 2, 2024

Asal and El Hammamy lift Hong Kong Open titles

By Sean Reuthe (PSA) in Hong Kong

Egyptian duo Mostafa Asal and Hania El Hammamy are the 2022 Everbright Securities International Hong Kong Squash Open champions after they overcame men’s world no.5 Diego Elias and women’s world champion Nour El Sherbini on a dramatic finals day.

Asal, the world no.4, overturned a championship ball and a two-game deficit to complete a remarkable comeback against Peru’s Elias, winning 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 after 95 nail-biting minutes.

There was a controversial moment in the fourth game when, with Asal 10-9 up, Elias returned an attempted crosscourt nick from his opponent, but his shot was deemed not to have reached the front wall. An indignant Elias was adamant that the ball had made it and, once the game had been awarded to Asal and both players had gone off court, later TV replays showed that he was correct.

With the scores poised at 2-2 and Elias reeling from that flashpoint, Asal ran away with things in the fifth game to capture his 10th PSA title and maintain his 100 per cent win record in Platinum finals having triumphed in three out of three.

Mostafa Asal celebrates his comeback as Diego Elias looks on

“I’m so proud of myself,” said Asal. “It’s been a tough week for me… People don’t know what happens outside of the court, I’m dealing with lots of things to play this awesome squash.

“I’m so happy to come to Hong Kong. My first time in 2018, I lost in 20 mins against Tom Richards in the first round, so I’m really happy to win it this time.”

World no.3 El Hammamy ensured that she would walk away with four of the seven women’s Platinum trophies on offer throughout 2022 following an epic 15-13, 9-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9 victory over World No.2 El Sherbini in 89 minutes.

Hania El Hammamy sinks to her knees after outlasting world champion Nour ElSherbini

El Hammamy – who toppled World No.1 Nouran Gohar in a captivating semi-final contest – has now captured 11 PSA World Tour titles, while her Hong Kong Open title is her second of the 2022-23 season.

“I’m over the moon with that win,” said El Hammamy. “Last night and today was definitely tough on me. This morning I was a little bit tired from last night’s match, but I tried to prepare myself mentally as much as I could to dig in and keep pushing hard. It really paid off with the way I fought.

“It’s an amazing feeling to capture the title before the end of the year. At the U.S. Open I was a bit disappointed, I wanted to pick up the title and keep my momentum going, but it didn’t go my way. I’m glad I bounced back and I was able to get back to the way I wanted to perform here in Hong Kong.”

2022 Everbright Securities International Hong Kong Squash Open – Results

Men’s Final: [4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [2] Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 (95m)

Women’s Final: [3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 15-13, 9-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9 (89m)

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