Nouran Gohar defends Macau title, while Yip Tsz-Fung wins his biggest one
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
It was a night that belonged to Yip Tsz-Fung as the home crowd favourite came back from two games down to win the biggest title in his career, while Nouran Gohar once again came out tops against compatriot Salma Hany.
Nouran Gohar halted the run of Salma Hany in an entertaining match lasting four games, thus successfully defending the title she won last year. As many expected, it was a close contest between the pair.
The first game started with Gohar taking an early lead before Hany coming back to nudge ahead at 4-3 and then 6-5. Right after, Gohar went on a rampage and took four points in a row for a three-point cushion and never looked back, winning 11-8 for the lead.
Gohar’s rampage continued in the second as she quickly raced into a 6-0 lead. A spirited effort from Hany to come within a point at 8-9, but Gohar was not going to let this slip away for a 2-0 lead.
The third was an even contest with both women trading points right from the start. Hany led early 3-1, then 6-4 and 10-8 before finally closing the game out 11-9 to give herself a lifeline.
Gohar saved her best for last as she went from 5-4 to championship ball with a commanding display of power which left Hany flat footed. The big lead from that was too much damage as Hany finally succumbed on her fourth championship ball down, and Gohar successfully defended her title.
“I didn’t have the best season last season, so hopefully winning this, it will help boost my performance this this year. We have the El Gouna next up which is big especially it will be held back home, and then finish off with the British Open, so I hope this will help kick start me once again,” said a jubilant Nouran Gohar who walks home with US$ 7,671.
In the men’s event, Hong Kong’s Yip Tsz-Fung created a major upset as he beat former champion Omar Mosaad. After a very close first game where both players played cautiously. It was Mosaad who played the last few crucial points better and went ahead 11-9.
The second game looked good for Yip as he nudged ahead to 6-4, but some very careless play and perhaps a loss of concentration on his part led to a disastrous 6-11 defeat, with the last two points on strokes from loose attempt into the nick.
With two games down, many wouldn’t be faulted to think the third would be a tame affair. Tame it was, but it was on Mosaad’s end as he seemed to struggle very much with his movement, often guessing the shots when Yip was on the attack. It was a one-way traffic with Yip going to 7-1 quickly before wrapping up 11-4, and narrow the main score.
There was lots left to be desired with the refereeing in the men’s final tonight as there were quite a few surprising calls and even worse, the consistency of calls. This led to the fourth game being a contest between the players and the referee, as both players seem to be trying to push the buttons of the referee. It was not a pretty game and Mosaad continues to struggle, which could possibly be because of the humidity in court. 11-5 to Yip and we have a decider.
It was clear from the start, Mosaad was making one final assault in this game, as he chased down everything in the start and even went ahead 3-1. But he soon ran out of gas as Yip was playing with a lot more patience now, sending the ball all over the corners of the court in a bid to move the Egyptian around. At 6-5 up, Yip made his move and starting from a tin from Mosaad which allowed Yip to go 7-5, there was no turning back. After just under an hour, Yip won his biggest title to date.
“First of all, I am very happy to have won, what more a $50k event. But it was very tough in there, especially being 2-0 down. I am very glad I managed to come back, and Omar is a very tough opponent, so to win this is very special.
I didn’t lose concentration after seeing Omar was struggling. In fact, I feel that gave me a boost as I felt I have a better opportunity now. I was also helped by my coaches Faheem (Khan) and Chris (Robertson) who asked me to use the whole court and be less tensed.
I would like to thank all my coaches – my fitness coach Jamie, squash coaches Faheem and Chris. I also want to thank my girlfriend and all those who came to support me,” a very happy Yip Tsz-Fung told us after his heroic feat.
Yip Tsz-Fung (HKG) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 9-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7 (55m)
Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Salma Hany (EGY) 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (50m)
Pictures by Macau Squash