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Raneem El Welily (right) with tournament promoter Karim Darwish

El Welily Lifts Wadi Degla Open Crown


Egyptian shot-making sensation Raneem El Welily was in scintillating form to overcome compatriot and World No.3 Nouran Gohar in the final of the Women’s Wadi Degla Open in Cairo to lift the inaugural title.

El Welly and Gohar – both representatives of the prestigious Wadi Degla Club – were meeting for the sixth time on the PSA World Tour, with 19-year-old Gohar winning their last two fixtures, including a momentous quarter-final victory at the British Open which helped propel Gohar all the way to the final.

But it was first blood to El Welily in game one, as she overcame a nervy start and a flurry of errors to go a game ahead, with the World No.4 pulling away from the midway point after finally finding her range.

El Welily’s upturn in form continued into the second game as she surged 4-1 ahead, only for Gohar to capitalise on some loose shots from her opponent to come back and rattle off eight points in a row, eventually taking it 11-7.

Gohar’s comeback was short-lived though as El Welily worked her way back into the contest, moving the younger Egyptian into all four corners of the court as she restored her lead in the third, before an unstoppable display in the fourth and final game saw her surge to victory, closing out an 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5 triumph to claim her second PSA World Tour title of the season.

“I’m absolutely happy, Nouran is such a tough opponent, she’s a great player,” said El Welily.

“It’s a pleasure playing with her in the final in front of the Wadi Degla Club and I’m really happy that I managed to win today.

“I was trying to get the ball to the back and was volleying as much as I could. I was trying to do that in the second, but then my length got short and I had to find another way to get the ball to the back. I’m really glad I found a solution there, otherwise it would have been a nightmare.

“Today, it was not about revenge, or who would play better. Nouran and I play at least once every two weeks, she knows my game, and I know hers. It was all about who would manage the event and the conditions better.

“My win yesterday against Nicol gave me a huge boost, a lot of confidence, and I think that’s what made a huge difference today.”

Result – Final: 2016 Wadi Degla Open
[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-5 (42m)

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