By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Reporter) and CONNOR SHEEN (PSA)
World No.1 Nouran Gohar has claimed the inaugural South Western Women’s Open title in Houston after a straight games victory over compatriot Nour El Tayeb.
The No.1 seed took a tight opening game before moving from strength to strength to win this PSA World Tour Gold event 12-10, 11-5, 11-7.
Both players made it to the final after coming through tough semi-final encounters with Rowan Elaraby and Amanda Sobhy.
The pair had met 14 times previously on the PSA World Tour, with Gohar leading 9-5. Gohar came out firing in the opening game, hitting the ball at a blistering pace to restrict El Tayeb’s trademark attacking flair.
Gohar earned herself two game balls at 10-8 and despite a spirited comeback from El Tayeb, who dived around the court three times in one rally to keep the ball in play, took the lead 12-10.
World No.8 El Tayeb admitted that she still feels like she is making her way back after returning to the tour just 10 months ago. She looked to be feeling the effects of yesterday’s semi-final against Sobhy as the physicality of the older Egyptian faded in the second game. El Tayeb started to make unnecessary errors which only spurred her opponent on further.
After securing the second game 11-5 to place one hand on the trophy, Gohar was relentless in her pursuit of the title. Her hitting power increased as well as her accuracy, making life extremely difficult for El Tayeb in all areas of the court.
Gohar set herself up with four match balls at 10-6 and converted at the second time of asking to seal the game 11-7 and win her first title of the season and her eighth in 12 months.
Gohar had this to say after claiming the first title of her season: “Nour [El Tayeb] has been an inspiration. I don’t think anyone could do what she did. She’s a very tough opponent, I’m very happy that she’s back on tour.
“It’s always enjoyable against Nour. I always feel like I’m the underdog so it takes the nerves away but it has been a great week of squash and I’ve felt at home this week here in Houston. I’m so grateful for the support so thank you so much.
“I’m just enjoying it right now, everything in life moves too quickly so I’m just trying to enjoy the good moments. Thank you to Jahanzeb [tournament promoter] for putting the tournament on. Not everyone can sort a Gold event in such a short space of time. I want to thank all my team, my coach, friends and family, Tecnifibre, Red Bull and all my fitness coaches.”
Action from the PSA World Tour quickly moves on to the Bronze-level Open de France de Squash 2022, which begins in Nantes tomorrow (Monday September 12) and is followed by the Platinum-level CIB Egyptian Open at the Pyramids of Giza, which starts on September 19.
PSA Gold $110k South Western Women’s Open, presented by Cotidie, Houston Squash Club, Houston, Texas, USA.
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (42m)
Pictures by Collin Poon Kong courtesy of PSA World Tour