Double Egyptian honour as rising stars hit the world top 10
By NATHAN CLARKE
Egyptian duo Nouran Gohar and Marwan Elshorbagy have been named the PSA World Tour Players of the Month for September following impressive runs of form that have seen both players break in to their respective top tens in the world rankings for the first time in their careers.
The 17-year-old Gohar got her 2015-16 season off to a sensational start as she stormed through the field at the Stars On The Bund China Open to build on her success at the World Junior Championship in July and begin the season full of confidence.
Gohar downed former World No.4 Joelle King 3-0 in the first round and followed that up with one of the biggest wins of her career, as she dumped eight-time World Champion Nicol David out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage – inflicting David’s joint worst finish in three years.
With two major scalps already to her name Gohar’s streak continued as she took out Allam British Open champion Camille Serme 3-0 in the semi-finals before eventually losing out to World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the title-decider.
Just one week later and Gohar was again striding past top ten opposition, this time at the Macau Open. Tournament second seed and World No.8 Nour El Tayeb was dismissed in a thrilling 3-2 encounter before No.10 Annie Au was victim in the semi-finals.
Again Gohar couldn’t convert to gather silverware, losing out to World No.3 Laura Massaro in the decider, but her impressive run of results have lifted her into the world’s top ten to No.9 and she will go into next week’s Delaware Investments US Open as a dark horse for victory.
On the men’s tour 22-year-old Marwan Elshorbagy has been in similarly impressive form during September – reaching two finals from three events including the final of the PSA M100 China Open – the biggest final of his career to date.
Elshorbagy began his season with an impressive 3-0 win over compatriot and current World No.8 Tarek Momen which he followed up with a second consecutive 3-0 victory, halting Hong Kong’s Max Lee 3-0 in the quarter-finals.
Elshorbagy’s run continued as he overcame Omar Mosaad, the World No.7, to reach the China Open final where he couldn’t do enough to stop an in-form Gregory Gaultier.
Elshorbagy was back in action a week later at the Macau Open, where eventual winner Max Lee got his revenge in the quarter-final stage but Elshorbagy was once again competing for title glory at the Kolkata International on September 27.
Victories over Rex Hedrick and Chris Simpson saw the Bristol-based Egyptian through to the final to play home-favourite and local star Saurav Ghosal.
With home advantage and a partisan crowd rooting for Ghosal, Elshorbagy couldn’t halt the Indian’s run but his consistency throughout September sees him occupy a career-high No.10 position in the world rankings.
Pictures courtesy of Windy City Open, US Open and Kolkata Open