Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Power play makes its mark at PSA World Tour Finals

World Champions Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag claimed opening day wins at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals as they came from behind to beat Nour El Tayeb and Paul Coll to ensure that they moved to the summit of Group B.

This season’s event is trialling two new rules, with Power Plays giving players the opportunity to win two points if they win the corresponding rally, while sudden death deciders are used at 10-10. El Sherbini fell foul of this in the opening game as El Tayeb took a one-game lead, but she soon saw the new rule go in her favour in the second, overturning a match ball opportunity for El Tayeb into a 1-1 scoreline.

El Tayeb was struggling with a leg injury and pushed El Sherbini hard, but the two-time World Tour Finals champion was able to close out the win by a 10-11, 11-10, 11-7 scoreline.

“I haven’t played Nour the whole season and it was tough playing the first match of a tournament against a top six player,” said El Sherbini.

“I’m very happy I won this one and with the way I dealt with it after the first game. It’s always tough playing her, but I never look at the last time, whether I won or lost. I just study their game and try to focus on my game plan.

“Today I wasn’t a fan [of the sudden death]. It was a bit distracting for me, the whole match I was thinking about the Power Plays and sudden death and I was one point away from losing the match. I’m still not used to it, but it might be exciting for the people watching. I’ll see this week how it’s going to go and then I will decide if it will be a good or bad thing.”

El Sherbini sits at the top of Group B with three points, while World No.1 Nouran Gohar tops Group A following her comfortable 11-6, 11-0 win against Belgium’s Nele Gilis in a rematch of the El Gouna International final. World No.3 Hania El Hammamy is second in Group A after her 2-0 win against World Tour Finals debutant Olivia Fiechter.

Gohar said: “It is always tricky to start first. You can’t give her anything loose or cheap in the middle. Obviously, with someone in that form, she can chop anyone on her day.

“The first few rallies were long, but I just wanted to show that I was tough, and I wasn’t going to give away anything cheap.”

In the men’s event, World No.1 Ali Farag tops Group B after he came back from a game down to beat New Zealand’s Coll.

Coll used the Power Play at 9-9 to win the opening game, but Farag assumed control from the second game onwards to complete a 9-11, 11-3, 11-7 victory.

“I didn’t start off well necessarily, but I got into the groove mid-game and then I was getting better as the game went on,” Farag said.

“But Paul played really well in the last three rallies and he played the Power Play really smartly. I wasn’t disheartened, I knew I had to do more of the same and attack a little bit more. Once I did that I think I had control of the second and the third.”

Defending champion Mostafa Asal tops Group A after taking the maximum four points on offer courtesy of a 2-0 win against Frenchman Victor Crouin, who was making his debut at the event. World No.1 Diego Elias sits second after he beat Egypt’s Mazen Hesham. Elias is also on four points, but sits below Asal due to Asal having a higher percentage of points won.

“We played in a good spirit in the beginning and my speech [on court with Crouin at the end] was about stopping this right now,” said Asal, who has been involved in a social media spat with Crouin in the past.

“It was maybe something immature from me, I was also speaking about him after matches and it wasn’t that good. We’re the same generation and we’re going to lead this sport in the future. All respect to Victor, it’s his first ever World Tour Finals this year and it’s something he should be proud of.”

Results – First Round: 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals Men’s Group A

[1] Diego Elias (PER) bt [6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 2-0: 11-8, 11-5 (38m)

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [7] Victor Crouin (FRA) 2-0: 11-3, 11-9 (32m)

Results – First Round: 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals Men’s Group B

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Paul Coll (NZL) 2-1: 9-11, 11-3, 11-7 (46m)

Draw – Men’s Group A Second Round: To Be Played June 21st

[1] Diego Elias (PER) v [4] Mostafa Asal (EGY)

[6] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [7] Victor Crouin (FRA)

Draw – Men’s Group B Second Round: To Be Played June 21st

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) v [8] Tarek Momen (EGY)

Results – First Round: 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals Women’s Group A

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [5] Nele Gilis (BEL) 2-0: 11-6, 11-0 (22m)

[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [8] Olivia Fiechter (USA) 2-0: 11-6, 11-7 (27m)

Results – First Round: 2022-23 CIB PSA World Tour Finals Women’s Group B

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [6] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 2-1: 10-11, 11-10, 11-7 (43m)

Draw – Women’s Group A Second Round: To Be Played June 21st

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)

[5] Nele Gilis (BEL) v [8] Olivia Fiechter (USA)

Draw – Women’s Group B Second Round: To Be Played June 21st

[4] Joelle King (NZL) v [7] Georgina Kennedy (ENG)

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