Some like it hot – well, Nouran Gohar does as El Gouna hits 33 degrees
By ALAN THATCHER and SEAN REUTHE
World No.1 Paul Coll and World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy will lock horns in the semi-finals of the 2022 El Gouna International less than a fortnight after their feisty semi-final battle at the CIB PSA World Championships.
They beat World No.6 Tarek Momen and World No.10 Fares Dessouky, respectively, at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center to ensure they will go head-to-head in a repeat of last year’s El Gouna final, which ElShorbagy won to lift his second trophy in El Gouna.
After winning their World Championship clash, ElShorbagy criticised Coll’s coach, Rob Owen, for his comments in an interview published prior to the event where Owen said no one would beat Coll if the Kiwi played well.
ElShorbagy deemed it one of the most ‘stupid’ articles he had ever read and there are sure to be fireworks when the pair go head-to-head in El Gouna on Thursday evening.
“Honestly, I feel like anyone who says that Paul was tired against me in the semi-final doesn’t have any experience whatsoever,” said ElShorbagy.
“When you’re World No.1, you’re the fittest player on tour. How many matches did I play like that when I was World No.1? If someone says that Paul maybe was shaky in the semis with the pressure of being seeded No.1 and World No.1, I understand that. Because he definitely had that.”
Speaking after his win over Momen, which came less than two weeks after their 122-minute epic at the World Championships, Coll said: “I had to believe in my game and that what I did last week was going to be the right tactic still and not try to change anything. Last week was a brutal match, I was actually trying for 123 minutes in this match!
“It was a great battle last week and a great battle this week. The scorelines were tight, still long and tough conditions.
“I always enjoy playing Tarek, we always have great battles and we’ve had some huge ones in the past. I’m just happy not to have smashed the body after tonight.”
World No.28 Nour El Tayeb will line up against World No.1 Nouran Gohar in the women’s semi finals after wins against Belgium’s Tinne Gilis and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.
El Tayeb has continued to improve since she made her return to the sport in December of last year following the birth of her daughter, and continued her progress as she dismantled World No.11 Gilis in just 26 minutes to reach the semi-finals of a PSA World Tour Platinum event for the first time since October, 2020.
El Tayeb revealed: “I’m hoping to be better than I was, because I didn’t want to come back just to be like I was before I stopped.
“I feel I’m getting better. Maybe my consistency is still the thing I’m not so sure about, but I was happy to have a rest day yesterday. I feel like I needed that after three hard games.
“I’m very happy to be in the semi-final once again. I’m very much looking forward to being hopefully back in the top four of the world.”
Gohar was also in red-hot form as the World Championship runner-up dispatched World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry in straight games on an evening which saw the temperature rise to a scorching 33 degrees Celsius.
“I always like to play in warm, hot conditions,” Gohar said. “It really suits my game, but honestly that was really warm for me. So I can’t imagine for other players how bad it is, because it’s usually the end of April [when El Gouna takes place].
“These 30 days make a big difference. I can’t really complain about it because if it suits anyone, it suits me more, so I’m happy with that.”
The quarter finals of the El Gouna International continue tomorrow (June 1) and play begins at 18:45 local time (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
2022 El Gouna International, El Gouna Conference and Culture Center, Egypt.
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half):
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (74m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-8 (52m)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, June 1):
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Diego Elias (PER)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Men’s Semi-Finals (Top Half, June 2):
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (32m)
Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-0: 11-1, 11-5, 11-3 (26m)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half, June 1):
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Women’s Semi-Finals (Top Half, June 2):
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour