Historic moment for Egyptian stars
By NATHAN CLARKE
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini triumphed over compatriot Raneem El Welily – the woman she lost to in the final of last month’s Women’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship final – to win the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia today (January 12) in an historic moment in squash history.
In the first professional women’s squash tournament ever to take place in Saudi Arabia, the duo stormed through the field to reach the title-decider, but it was El Sherbini who controlled proceedings to prevail a comfortable 3-0 winner and become the first female athlete in any sport to win a professional tournament staged in the country.
The 22-year-old managed to get off to a strong start in the opening game to set up the platform for the victory, which sees her capture the first PSA World Series title of 2018.
“I felt that I was in control but at no time it was easy, even though I was ahead in the score, she was always coming back,” said El Sherbini.
“After losing in the World Championship final, this match and this victory means a lot to me. But I know we will have many many more battles.
“I am extremely proud to have been part of this historical tournament. I want to thank everybody that made this event possible for us, we are blessed to have been part of it.
“I am proud to be the first PSA Saudi Women’s Masters champion. I hope to come back next year to defend my title – and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank HRH Princess Reema, Ziad Al-Turki, Fatma and the crowd that came and supported us all week.”
Speaking after the match, El Welily said: “This was an incredibly important tournament. We all want to thank those who have achieved great things by putting on this event. We are grateful to Saudi Arabia for the opportunity to play here and to HRH Princess Reema and Ziad Al-Turki for their efforts in making the event happen and the opportunity to play in such an incredible tournament.”
Along with the title, El Sherbini’s victory sees her leapfrog El Welily in the PSA World Series Standings – all but guaranteeing her a place at the PSA World Series Finals in June.
Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters 2018:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 13-11 (37m)
Picture courtesy of PSA