Nicol David downed in five as brave Tesni Evans bows out
By NATHAN CLARKE in Cairo
Egyptian World No.3 Nouran Gohar and World No.4 Raneem El Welily will face off for the title of 2016 Women’s Wadi Degla Open Champion tomorrow when they meet in the final of the PSA W50 tournament taking place at their home club in Cairo.
The duo, both of whom train and play at the Wadi Degla club, came through contrasting yet challenging last four battles with eight-time World Champion Nicol David and Welsh qualifier, and tournament surprise package, Tesni Evans to set up what will be their sixth PSA World Tour encounter and their second title-decider.
It was El Welily who triumphed when the pair met in the 2014 China Open final and she secured her place in tomorrow’s finale after banishing the demons of her World Championship final defeat to Malaysian Nicol David on Egyptian soil two years ago.
El Welily (right) held four championship balls in that encounter but put the record straight by coming from behind in the fifth to secure victory this time around and book her place in the final.
“Even in the last few points I don’t think my head was there anymore but she made the errors and I’m really grateful for those,” said El Welily.
“I wasn’t [thinking about her World Championship final defeat] until before the match. Then in the fourth game it kind of came back. I was down in the entire fifth and I think the memory from last time gave me the push to not quit and to keep pushing harder.”
Gohar, the 19-year-old World Junior champion who has already ascended to No.3 on the World Rankings, came through her encounter with Evans in more comfortable fashion, prevailing 3-1.
“I realised in the third that my pace wasn’t as high as it was in the first two games,” said Gohar.
“I was trying volley as much as I could in the fourth and I was trying to get my concentration back and make it faster.
“Raneem and I train a lot together here at the same club and I’m glad we both got to the final. It’s such an honour for us to play in this club in front of this crowd tomorrow.”
Quarter-Finals: Tesni Evans powers through
Welsh World No.28 Tesni Evans will compete in arguably the biggest match of her career tomorrow (November 3) when she takes on World Junior Champion and World No.3 Nouran Gohar in the semi-finals of the Women’s PSA W50 Wadi Degla Open .
Evans had to come through two qualification encounters just to reach the main draw of the tournament, which features the likes of former World No.1s Nicol David and Raneem El Welily, before downing number six seeded Delia Arnold to reach the last eight where she came through in four games to defeat Egyptian Salma Hany Ibrahim.
The 24-year-old will face a stiff challenge against Gohar who will be playing in front of a partizan crowd in what is her home club.
“It feels amazing to reach the semis,” said Evans. “Coming into this I was just hoping to qualify, let alone make the semis, so I’m really happy with how I’ve been playing.
“It would mean everything to make the final. It’s going to be a very tough match, but it would make my day if I came through.”
Gohar meanwhile secured a routine straight-games victory over Marian Metwally, coming through unblemished after just 31 minutes of play.
“Playing at your home club in front of your home crowd is unbelievable, so I’m trying to give everything and do my best to reach the finals here,” she said.
“It will me my first time playing against Tesni, but she is very tough and she beat Salma today, which is an unbelievable achievement. It will be a great match tomorrow and I’m sure it will be tough.”
PSA W50 Women’s Wadi Degla Open.
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 (70m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-5, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4 (51m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8 (60m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Donna Urquhart (AUS) 14-12, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9 (43m)
[Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) bt [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10 (62m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-7, 11-6, 11-2 (31m)
Pictures courtesy of PSA