World No.1 Nouran Gohar has become the first woman to book her place in the final of the inaugural CIB Egyptian Open after she withstood the challenge of the in-form Hania El Hammamy in front of the spectacular Great Pyramid of Giza.
Gohar has been struggling with an ankle injury throughout the tournament but her focus and mental resilience was unwavering despite her physical issues as she completed an 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 victory to earn her spot in the title decider.
El Hammamy, who won the CIB PSA World Tour Finals two weeks ago, struggled to contain Gohar’s hard-hitting style of play in the early stages of the first game, which took a while to get going after some court maintenance following the first two points.
The 20-year-old generally likes to play at a fast pace herself, but she soon began to counteract Gohar’s game plan by varying the pace of the match.
El Hammamy was rewarded with victory in the first game, but surrendered the second after once again getting caught up in the way that Gohar wanted to play the match as the fast pace hitting returned.
Gohar established an 8-5 lead in the third but was then forced off court with a hip flexor injury which required treatment. Upon her return, it looked as though El Hammamy was going to come back, but three sumptuous winners into the nick saw her snatch the third game to take the lead for the first time.
First the kill
Then the cross court nick
NouranGohar</a> is finding her range and showing the power she possesses here<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SquashByThePyramids?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SquashByThePyramids</a> <a href="https://t.co/P9vP14DjZc">pic.twitter.com/P9vP14DjZc</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) October 16, 2020
And the 23-year-old found yet more winners from the mid-point of the fourth to make it three wins out of three against El Hammamy, while the victory sees her reach her first final since becoming World No.1.
The World No.1 is battling through an old ankle injury and a hip injury she sustained in this clash, and she is putting everything into winning this one as soon as she can!#SquashByThePyramids pic.twitter.com/IDI52k3iFw— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) October 16, 2020
“I’m the last one to like matches that stop and start, I like to have a rhythm in the match,” said Gohar.
“This week has been a little bit different, I’ve been having a different injury every day. Hamdullah, it’s not a severe one, but it doesn’t really help the mind. I’m really proud of myself with how I dealt with it.
“It’s down to the hard work that my team have done with me. The game of squash is not only about tactics and fitness, sometimes you have to deal with situations mentally and it’s all about the experience and the hard work that you put into training. I’m just very proud and I hope my team is proud as well.
“Hania is the player to beat right now. She’s very good in all aspects and I have so much respect for her. I knew it was going to be hard and tough out there, we both love to play a fast-paced game.
“With the little niggle in my leg, I had to adapt and change and it just went my way this time, but we will have great battles in the future, I’m 100 per cent sure.”
"I like to have a rhythm in the match, but this week it has been different. I have been having, every day, a different injury."— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) October 16, 2020
NouranGohar</a> gave us her reaction after reaching the final of the <a href="https://twitter.com/CIBEgyptianOpen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">CIBEgyptianOpen #SquashByThePyramids pic.twitter.com/hjrJf7RUVy
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 (75m)