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Nouran Gohar in action against Amanda Sobhy

El Gouna Semi-Finals: Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players who are in action in the semi-finals at the El Gouna Squash International.

Who reaches the final of the PSA Platinum event? Tune in to find out…

(All times are local GMT+2)
18:30 [4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Follow [3] Paul Coll (NZL) v [2] Tarek Momen (EGY)
20:00 [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
Follow [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [6] Fares Dessouky (EGY)

You can catch all the action live from the Conference & Culture Centre on SquashTV (all countries), the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (Indian sub-continent only) and multiple broadcasters around the world.

You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Gohar Becomes First El Gouna Finalist

Egypt’s World No.2 Nouran Gohar has booked her place in the El Gouna International final for the second time after defeating USA’s World No.5 Amanda Sobhy 11-6, 11-8, 11-2.

Sobhy held the advantage in the head-to-head going into today's match with six wins to Gohar's two. However, the Egyptian was in scintillating form from the first point as she found her length and accuracy quickly to power into a one-game lead.

Sobhy looked as though she was going to get back into it in the second, but Gohar fought back before trading points with the American to double her advantage.

The third proved to be straightforward for Gohar with Sobhy unable to come up with any answers to the Egyptian's dominant play as she saw out the semi-final win comfortably with Sobhy looking to struggle with the hot conditions by the Red Sea.

Sobhy said:

“No excuse, she played extremely well. To be honest, I found the heat conditions very hard tonight. In the third, I just didn't know where I was, and even now, I'm still very woozy.”

[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [4] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-2 (29m)

Coll Reaches El Gouna Final for First Time

Paul Coll

New Zealand’s World No.4 Paul Coll is through to the final of the El Gouna International for the first time in his career following a hard-fought 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 victory in 63 minutes against World No.3 Tarek Momen.

Coll executed his game plan to perfection, utilising height and slowing the game down to nullify Momen’s attacking intent to ensure his path to the PSA Platinum final.

“I was super happy with my game plan and the way I stuck to it all the way through,” said Coll afterwards.

“It was really tough mentally for me as well, but super happy. I used a lot of height, Tarek loves the pace and tried to slow my movement down to 80% just to really be balanced on the ball, I thought that was enough to pick up a lot. I just tried to do that and put the ball away when I had the opportunity and just soak it up as much as possible.

“I got that from Jonah Barrington, I’ve spoken to him a few times and he said on the defence shot, pop it up super slow and make your opponent hit a winner against you. On this court, it’s super bouncy and I backed my movement to pick up whatever he threw at me.

“Mohamed [ElShorbagy] is a warrior. He’s been here for a long time, but Dessouky has been in red hot form, so I hope they battle it out and go deep into the fifth.”

Momen said:

:The conditions are unbelievable, it’s almost unfair. I didn’t do anything wrong today. I was a bit unlucky in the second with the errors, but they were the right shots to play. I wasn’t impatient, I wasn’t rushing.
“He made zero errors the whole match, unbelievable. I have often matches like that where my opponents are sharper than they are with anyone else.

“It’s so hot, I cannot put the ball away, I even adapted to the weather, but he could fetch every single ball I was throwing at him, then something must be wrong, and there is no way I can hit a single winner.

“I hit some decent shots, he was picking them up, and eventually, I was the one making errors, while he wasn’t making many winners, he didn’t have to.
Those conditions are just not fair, that’s my opinion, I did the best I could, it was not my day.”

[3] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [2] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (63m)

El Sherbini Survives El Hammamy Thriller

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini was forced to hold off a comeback from compatriot Hania El Hammamy in a thrilling five-game battle as she booked her place in the El Gouna International final.

The last time these two played, El Sherbini found herself on the wrong side a 3-2 scoreline in the final of the Black Ball Open. However, this time the World No.1 made sure to hit her marks as she started strong to open up a two-game lead.

World No.7 El Hammamy showed her mental resilience though as she battled back from the brink, testing the physicality of El Sherbini to push the match to a tense fifth.

The experience of El Sherbini proved vital in the end though as she built up a strong lead and never relented to take the victory in 74 minutes.

“She never gives up,” said El Sherbini afterwards.

“She’s still young, she’s top seven in the world she’s very good and has been giving everyone in the top 10 very tough matches. Last time I played Hania, I lost 3-2, so whenever you lose a match you always wait for this match, it doesn’t matter how many matches you won after, you just wait for the match you lost. I’m sure we’re still going to have many more battles together.

“The fifth game, I always tell myself to play it as if it was the first game. Try to win every point and of course taking the lead made a huge difference. I didn’t expect the fifth game to be like that but I just wanted to keep winning every point and don’t give up until the last point. As you saw she kept fighting until the last point, she still wanted to win.”

El Hammamy said:

“First, I think that Nour has got a huge advantage for not spending as much time on court. Second thing, I didn’t have enough time on this court as I played most of my matches on the traditional.

“Still, reaching the semis is something I didn’t think I could reach as I was not even sure that I would play the event, I had a little injury before the event, so it means a lot to me.

“I am proud of myself to be able to push myself, push my body, even from 2-0 down, I tried and found a way.

“As much as I am disappointed for losing today, because I know I can reach the final, but I can’t give myself a hard time for that one.”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [6] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 11-5 (74m)

ElShorbagy Sees Off Dessouky

Mohamed ElShorbagy

World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy is back in a PSA Platinum for the first time since the COVID-enforced suspension of the tour after he defeated World No.7 Fares Dessouky in four-games at the El Gouna International.

ElShorbagy will take on New Zealand’s Paul Coll in his fourth final in El Gouna after he played dominant squash to take the lead, 11-6, 11-9, before Dessouky began to edge his way back into the encounter.

Dessouky, who took out Mostafa Asal in the previous round, fought his way back to take the third before a number of stoppages ensued causing disruption to the match in the fourth. ElShorbagy held his composure well though and was able to convert in 69 minutes to take the win.

“I put in a lot of hard work the last period,” said ElShorbagy.

“I haven’t played all the tournaments in Egypt for the last year for different reasons and to watch all of them play was hard for me. All of them competing, while I’m away at home, knowing I’m fresh, knowing I can compete but being forced not to play was very tough for me. Tough mentally. Hadrian Stiff back in Bristol has taken so much from me because it was such a tough period but to be back here and back doing what I love most, to come back to where I belong, I think I belong in finals and to be back there again is quite emotional for me.

“I’m born to win titles, I believe so much in myself from day one. I actually made a phone call before this season started to Ramy [Ashour] – we’ve been rivals for so many years and we had different journeys but I had a similar part last year where I couldn’t compete and if someone knows how that feels it’s Ramy, so I called him and asked for help and what to do, I’m struggling here mentally and his words to me “you’re not behind, they’re the ones behind you”, so Ramy has helped me so much mentally. I can’t wait to finish the tournament so I can have a chat with him. We played an amazing match on this court, so every time I come back to this court it brings back memories.

“It was hot and humid and it’s brutal conditions. This is the hardest conditions to play at besides playing at altitude. I felt that I have so much experience at playing in these conditions and he had a tough match yesterday, I had a tough match as well, but I have more experience. Most of the ones who had a good start are the ones who won all their matches, so I had to learn quickly what was happening. You put your tactics together before a match but when you watch the matches before you, you learn a lot. Paul gave a masterclass really, the way he won gave me a lot of motivation to play well as well. Sometimes your rival motivates you to play better.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6 (69m)

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