Serme and King beaten in straight games
By LINDA ELRIANI – Squash Mad Correspondent
The top two seeds, Nouran Gohar and Nour El Tayeb, will contest the first all-Egyptian final in the history of the Carol Weymuller Open since the tournament started in 1975.
In the semi-finals at Heights Casino, Gohar and El Tayeb both achieved straight-game victories against France’s Camille Serme, the recent ToC champion, and New Zealand’s Joelle King.
Gohar and Serme began with long, arduous rallies with both players vying for the T and trying to take the ball early. The quality of the squash was incredibly high and they were both pushing so hard to stick to their game plans.
Camille was managing to slow the ball down a little with some great lobs to help negate some of Nouran’s amazing power. It was even up until 6-6 and then Nouran started to pull away using her superb power in her hard and accurate drives and make it incredibly hard for Camille to move forward and use her attacking game. Nouran took the first 11-8.
In the second game Camille got a good start at 4-1 and was managing to cope with Nouran’s barrage of hard hit shots, but just as in the first game, Nouran dug in deeper and hit several magnificent, powerful drives that won her rallies outright. Her drives pinned Camille back and totally prevented her from taking the ball in the air.
Camille was trying so hard to impose her game, but she was finding it hard to slow the pace down well enough to impact Nouran. Both players were moving so well, but Nouran was particularly fast today and seemed to be reading Camille’s shots very early. Nouran ended up coming through the second with the same scoreline of 11-8.
The third game was evenly matched again up to 6-6. The rallies were so fun to watch as both players covered the court with such ease and grace and the quality of play was second to none. The game ended up being a repeat of the previous two with Nouran pulling away from her opponent, while Camille was desperately hanging on by her finger nails. Nouran came through to secure her place in the Carol Weymuller final 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 in 34 minutes.
A smiling Nouran said: “I’m really happy with the match. It was hard after losing last week. Camille was playing brilliantly and she can beat anyone on her day. I was trying to play my game hard and accurate, but in front of her as she is very dangerous on the volley. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”
The second semi-final match featured a rematch of last year’s final between world No.6 King and reigning champion El Tayeb.
The match started well and evenly with some great long rallies. Nour and Joelle have very different styles so it was interesting to see who could dominate. Nour is skilful, wonderfully swift and fantastically gutsy so you know you have to do so much to win each point. Joelle’s volleys are strong and she controls the middle, so well so Nour would have to keep the ball away from Joelle as much as possible.
At 5-5 the pressure from Nour started to show and some errors started to creep in. Joelle was going short just a little too early and not quite well enough and Nour took total advantage of this and took the first game 11-6.
The second game was always in Nour’s favour. Joelle was looking a little flat and her drives where not as tight as they usually are so this gave Nour more opportunities to use her creativity and hit some wonderful shots in the front. There were some marvellous rallies but Nour seemed to come out on top and continued like yesterday to be looking like she was having fun on the court. Nour got game ball at 10-3 but Joelle squeezed back two more points before Nour won the second game 11-5.
The third game was Joelle’s best. She pressed Nour deeper and this gave her the chance to use her volleys and cut off the ball short. Joelle got her first major lead of the match at 5-2. But with a cross court nick off the serve from Nour and a couple of errors from Joelle and some gutsy patience, Nour was fully back in the game.
Nour was managing to hit a great width and, with an opponent as tall and strong as Joelle, this is vital. Joelle tried to regain her composure, but each time she tried Nour seemed to have the answer or she would make an error. It was the two errors from Joelle that gave Nour the finals points to victory taking the match 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 in 33 minutes.
A very happy El Tayeb said: “I was more nervous than yesterday. Joelle has been playing great squash recently. I think it was up and down from both of us. But I managed to play the bigger points better. Winning in three against Joelle is massive. I’m happy and proud. This will be the second final in a row here which is great! I’m really looking forward to playing Nouran tomorrow.”
PSA $51,250 Women’s Carol Weymuller Open 2020, Heights Casino, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 11-8, 11-8, 11-7
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 11-6, 11-5, 11-8
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of JEAN ERVASTI