Thursday, May 30, 2024

World Squash 2023: Nouran Gohar survives marathon to reach final

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini became the first woman in the sport’s history to reach nine World Championship finals after the Egyptian defeated New Zealand’s Joelle King in four games. There was more history as Nouran Gohar survived a brutal semi-final to advance to Thursday’s final showdown.

Six-time World Champion El Sherbini has now eclipsed the record of eight World Championship finals, which she previously shared with Malaysian legend Nicol David.

El Sherbini is now one of only three players – with the great Jahangir and Jansher Khan being the other two – to have reached the title decider of the prestigious event nine times and she will look to capture a seventh World Championship title tomorrow following her 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4 victory over World No.4 King.

“It’s always a pleasure to put my name amongst these legends,” said El Sherbini

“It’s another final and I’m just going to give it my all and try to focus and be ready for the match. I’m definitely happy to break this record and it’s something that I’ll always be proud of.”

Her opponent will be World No.2 Gohar – the woman she replaced at the summit of the PSA World Rankings on Monday – in a repeat of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 PSA World Championships finals, with El Sherbini winning both.

Gohar got the better of World No.3 Hania El Hammamy in a nail-biting 105-minute encounter, which equalled the record for the longest women’s World Championship match of all time, while it’s also the joint fifth longest women’s PSA match in history.

Gohar overturned three match balls en route to a 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 14-12 victory and the 25-year-old will now appear in her third World Championship final. The World No.2 has won seven of her 25 matches against El Sherbini so far.

“I’m glad that I got the win at the end,” said Gohar.

“It was going to be physical. I was believing so much that I was going to win this at the end, even if I was 10-7 down.  I’ve come back in the U.S. Open final, I’ve come back on big stages, so I knew I had it in me and I knew what to do. “

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