Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Nouran Gohar and Ali Farag lift Xbox PSA World Tour Squash Finals

Women’s World Champion Nouran Gohar and Men’s World No.1 Ali Farag have won the 2023-24 Xbox PSA World Tour Finals after contrasting matches with Nour El Sherbini and Mostafa Asal, respectively, at Bellevue’s Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House.

Defending champion Gohar continued her sensational form as she overcame El Sherbini 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-10 to win her third Xbox PSA World Tour Finals trophy and her fifth successive PSA title.

Gohar’s incredible form has seen her win 25 matches in a row, while she has now won the Black Ball Open, El Gouna International, PSA World Championships, British Open and Xbox PSA World Tour Finals titles in succession, beating El Sherbini in the final of the last four of those events.

The 26-year-old has now become the first woman to win the Xbox PSA World Tour Finals on three occasions, while it is the 28th PSA title of her career.

“At 9-7 [in the fourth] I didn’t want that match to end because I was really enjoying myself on court today,” said Gohar.

“The crowd made it extra spicy out there. Any squash player can relate to this, when they’re hitting their marks, they’re feeling good and they have an amazing crowd, that’s all you want. Thanks so much to Haitham [Effat, Gohar’s coach] for today. He made a huge difference, especially when I was 1-0 down and Nour was playing really well. I love coming back to Seattle, it’s one of my favourite cities.

“It really helps to feel like you’re home. Shabana [Khan, tournament promoter] and the team have done an amazing job, and it’s the cherry on top for an amazing season. It’s my fifth title in a row, and I couldn’t have dreamt of this, to be honest.”

Farag’s match against Asal was cut short after the latter retired injured mid-way through the second game, ending his run of three straight Xbox PSA World Tour Finals triumphs.

Asal initially sustained the injury in his Group A clash with Farag on day two of the tournament as he lunged for a ball, and despite battling through to reach the final, he was never 100 per cent physically.

It meant Farag was able to avenge his British Open final defeat to the World No.2 a fortnight ago to lift the eighth title of what has been a superb season for the 32-year-old from Cairo, who has now lifted 41 PSA titles in his career.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better season,” said Farag.

“You go through periods of demotivation and tough personal stuff, but I’ve had an incredible year and I have an incredible family, Nour [El Tayeb, Farag’s wife] and Farida [Farag’s daughter], touring the world with me. I’m doing the thing I love the most, touring the world and meeting incredible people. I’ve met some incredible promoters like Shabana and YSK.

“I’ve been coming back here every year for the past eight or nine years and it’s home to me now. The family takes such good care of us and we couldn’t be more grateful for them. I really look forward to coming back next year.”

The Xbox PSA World Tour Finals 2023-24 brings the curtain down on the PSA World Tour campaign, with the 2024-25 PSA World Tour season set to begin in August.

Result – Women’s Final: 2023-24 Xbox PSA World Tour Finals

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-10 (57m)

Result – Men’s Final: 2023-24 Xbox PSA World Tour Finals

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [3] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 5-2 retired (17m)

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