The finals of the CIB Egyptian Open take place today, with action beginning at 19:00 (GMT+2) at the Great Pyramid of Giza as the first Platinum titles since the PSA World Tour returned from it’s enforced break are won.
It has been over seven months since the last time anyone lifted a Platinum title, with Hania El Hammamy doing so at the CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open in March, but this is a different era of squash, the COVID-19 era, and the winners today will be the first winners of a major tournament under these new protocols.
Along with the possibility of winning a major title, the World No.1 spots in both the men’s and women’s World Rankings are also on the line tonight, with the possibility of a completely different combination at the summit come November 1.
World No.1 takes on World Champion in the women’s final, as Nouran Gohar faces off against Nour El Sherbini, while World Champion Tarek Momen takes on the tournament’s top seed Ali Farag for the men’s crown.
You can catch all the action live from Great Pyramid of Giza on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only), and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (Indian sub-continent only).
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Here’s the Order of Play
(All times are local – ZONE)
Women’s Final: Nouran Gohar v Nour El Sherbini
The women’s final pits the new World No.1, Nouran Gohar, and the reigning four-time World Champion, Nour El Sherbini, against each other in a final for the first time since September 2017. A second successive win in front of the Pyramids would see El Sherbini overtake Gohar at the top of the World Rankings.
That came at the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open, and was one of El Sherbini’s ten wins over ‘the Terminator’, who only has three victories in this match-up. However, two of those have come in their last three battles, but it was the ‘Warrior Princess’ who won their last duel, at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals two weeks ago.
Both women received byes into the second round, and from there have been pretty dominant. Gohar has dropped two games throughout the event and has beaten three Egyptians en route to the final, in Zeina Mickey, Rowan Elaraby and Hania El Hammamy, the latter in the semi-finals yesterday.
Compared to Gohar’s 196 minutes on court, El Sherbini has spent an hour less in action, and has dropped just a single game. That came in yesterday’s last four clash with Nour El Tayeb, which she won 3-1, following comfortable straight game victories against Australian No.1 Donna Lobban, Canada’s Danielle Letourneau and India’s Joshna Chinappa.
The pair both sit inside the top three on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, which predicts a 3-2 scoreline. El Sherbini’s level has improved by 2.8%, while Gohar’s level has jumped up by 6.3% across this tournament. The ‘Warrior Princess’ is expected to be the winner, with a 67% win likelihood.
Can El Sherbini secure another victory at this venue, after winning the World Championship on her birthday last year? Or will the World No.1 stamp her authority at the summit of the World Rankings?
Men’s Final: Ali Farag v Tarek Momen
The men’s final sees a repeat of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championship showpiece, as the winner that day, Ali Farag, takes on the man who went on to lift the World title last season, Tarek Momen.
That meeting in Chicago in March 2019 was one of 11 previous duels the Egyptian pair have had on the PSA World Tour, with Farag holding a 7-4 advantage. They are 1-1 in finals, though, with ‘the Viper’ winning the 2018 Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill in an 87 minute epic.
Farag has been on court for 228 minutes across his four encounters, which started with a comfortable 3-0 victory over compatriot Omar Mosaad. He then overcame a five-gamer with Swiss No.1 Nicolas Mueller, before beating former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and first-time Platinum semi-finalist Mostafa Asal to reach the finale.
Momen has had to battle through two intense five-game battles over the last couple of days to reach this stage. After beating Fares Dessouky and Mexico’s Cesar Salazar in the early round, he needed 90 minutes to overcome World No.6 Diego Elias, before then beating Marwan ElShorbagy in a tumultuous clash.
Like the women’s final, the pair doing battle occupy spaces in the top three of the SquashLevels Power Ratings, with Farag having moved clear at the top following his performances in Giza this week. His level has increased by 2.4%, while Momen’s level has increased by 3.5% over the course of the week.
Can Farag retake the World No.1 spot in style? Or will Momen spoil the party by winning a first title on Egyptian soil?