Thursday, February 22, 2024

Special moment as Nour El Sherbini wins her first Black Ball Open title in Cairo

By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

It was a long time coming but world No.1 Nour El Sherbini has finally got her hands on the women’s CIB PSA Black Ball Open trophy.

After two previous runner-up finishes, she clinched her first tournament victory at the magnificent Black Ball Sporting Club, beating America’s Amanda Sobhy 3-1 in tonight’s final in Cairo.

El Sherbini, 25, had suffered final defeats to compatriots Raneem El Welily and Hania El Hammamy at the Black Ball Club in the past, while Sobhy got the better of the four-time world champion in the quarter-final stage of December’s tournament.

However, the Egyptian has strung together a number of peerless displays at the PSA World Tour Platinum event this week and she continued that form into her final encounter with Sobhy to win 13-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 in 42 minutes.

Nour El Sherbini steps across to volley

Sobhy, bidding to become the first US player ever to win a major PSA title, had opportunities and looked to have the edge physically in the latter stages.

But El Sherbini’s racket skills saw her come up with winners at the crucial moments to collect the 23rd PSA title of her career as well as more than $22,000 in prize money.

It is El Sherbini’s second title of the season after winning the CIB Egyptian Open in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza in October.

It sees her extend her lead atop the CIB Road to Egypt Standings, with her wins at the Egyptian Open and the Black Ball Open seeing her secure qualification for the CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which will take place in June.

“I’m really glad that I finally won the Black Ball Open,” said El Sherbini afterwards. “It’s one of the biggest tournaments and a very special one in Egypt. I’m definitely really happy to finally win this tournament.

Trophy time for Nour El Sherbini

“I’d like to dedicate this tournament to a very special person that passed this year. Hany Hamouda [Former Egyptian Squash Board Member and Squash Federation of Africa President] has been one of the main supporters for me and he attended all four (of my) World Championship wins.

“I’m really sorry we lost him. He was a very special person to me, so I’d love to dedicate this trophy to him.”

The men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open gets under way tomorrow (Friday) at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club at 11:00 (GMT+2). The final will be held on Thursday March 25.

Women’s 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, Black Ball Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt.

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [6] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 13-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-7 (42m)  

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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