The 2019/2020 season was a very different one on the PSA World Tour for several reasons, with the COVID-19 pandemic being the most obvious of those.
The season also saw a split World Championships, with the men and women having their premiere events at different venues, in different countries, at different times of the year.
The women’s World Championship took place in Egypt, with the glass court having the epic backdrop of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The men’s World Championship took place two weeks later, at the incredible Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.
They might not have been the same event, but that did not stop the drama! Here is the story of the World Championships in the 2019/2020 season.
Subramaniam Hits The World Stage
Malaysia’s Sivasangari Subramaniam was only 20-years-old when she turned up to Egypt for the CIB PSA Women’s World Championship in 2019, and her first round clash came against US No.1 Amanda Sobhy.
She showed no nerves though, fighting back from a 2-1 deficit to win the last two games of their contest, defeating the American to advance to the second round. She then got the better of No.30 seed, and Dutch No.1, Milou van der Heijden, to break into the last 16 of the sport’s premiere event.
Subramaniam came up against Hania El Hammamy in the third round, and we know what the Egyptian has already gone on to do in the sport in such a short time. The Malaysian gave as good as she got, eventually losing 3-1 in a high-quality affair.
She showed that she could well be a force to be reckoned with in the future, and the Malaysian can now say she is a member of the top 30 in the World Rankings going into this year’s World Championships in Chicago.
The El Hammamy-Serme Rivalry Begins
At very different stages of their careers, Frenchwoman Camille Serme and Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy have struck up one of the sport’s newest rivalries, and it all began in the quarter-finals of the CIB PSA Women’s World Championships two years ago.
The pair had met four times before on Tour, but Serme had won all four matches comfortably, including at the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital six weeks before meeting in front of the Pyramids.
Their duel in the last eight of the World Championship was arguably the match of the tournament, as Serme took what looked to be a comfortable two-game lead, as she strode towards the semi-finals.
However, El Hammamy, the young Egyptian spurred on by the home crowd, fought her way back into the contest, and was able to win it in a deciding game, coming back from two games down to win 3-2, booking her place in the last four of the biggest event in the sport.
The duo have since gone on to meet a further seven times since then, at almost every major tournament, including the El Gouna International Squash Open, the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family, CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open and at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in each of the last two years.
El Sherbini Celebrates Birthday With Fourth World Title
Unsurprisingly, the final of the Women’s World Championship came down to the two best players in the field, in World No.1 Raneem El Welily, and World No.2 Nour El Sherbini, the only two Egyptian women to ever win the tournament.
The pair had won the last four World Championship crowns, with El Sherbini taking three of those, including being the reigning champion after a victory in Chicago in February 2019. El Welily lifted the title in 2017, doing so at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
The Egyptian duo were meeting for the 23rd time on the PSA World Tour, and to show their dominance in the sport, it was the 13th consecutive meeting to decide who won be the tournament’s winner, following contests at two World Championships and in ten other major finals, including the British Open, Hong Kong Open, Windy City Open and Tournament of Champions among others.
El Welily had claimed victory in the last two matches, winning both 3-2, but this time it was Nour El Sherbini that went on to claim the victory, and in doing so she celebrated her 24th birthday in the perfect way.
Nour El Sherbini lifts the Women's World Championship trophy
The ‘Warrior Princess’ secured her fourth World Championship crown, tying Susan Devoy at that mark, and now only two women have ever won the biggest prize in the sport more times than her. She has the chance to tie Sarah Fitz-Gerald on five this month, while Nicol David has eight World Championship wins to her name.
Home Favourite Al Tamimi Pushes Momen All The Way
Playing in front of his adoring home fans at the incredible Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha, Qatari No.1 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi put on a show, reaching the last 16 of the World Championships.
He started out against No.15 seed Gregoire Marche, and despite a mid-match wobble which saw the Frenchman fight his way back into the contest, the Qatari was able to advance to seal a second round berth, against another Frenchman in Mathieu Castagnet, going on to win that 3-0 to make the last 16.
The home favourite came up against World No.3 Tarek Momen in the third round of the tournament, and he was on the brink of victory, leading 2-1 and several points ahead in the fourth game.
However, ‘the Viper’ somehow managed to claw his way back into the contest by turning the fourth game around, before going on to win the fifth and secure a quarter-final berth, in what would be the tournament of his life…
Marwan Takes Out Mohamed In ElShorbagy Battle
The most mouth-watering tie of the quarter-finals in Qatar came between the two brothers, as top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy took on No.9 seed Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the last four in Doha.
The pair were doing battle for the 18th time on the PSA World Tour, with the older Mohamed having claimed victory in 14 of their previous 17 meetings, including their last three contests, two of which had already come at the start of the 2019-2020 season.
Unlike the majority of their battles, which tend to be long, drawn-out affairs, this clash between the siblings lasted less than an hour, despite going the distance to a fifth game.
The match went to and fro, with Marwan winning both the first and third games by a scoreline of 11-6, while Mohamed took the second and fourth games in 11-2 and 11-3 scorelines. That led to a deciding game, which ‘the Jackal’ won 11-8 to secure a spot in the World Championship semi-finals.
Momen Makes History With World Champs Win
Following on from his tense battle with the Qatari No.1 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, Tarek Momen made his way through to the final, thanks to victories over Peru’s Diego Elias and Germany’s Simon Rösner.
In the final of the biggest tournament of them all, he came up against ‘Superman’ Paul Coll, in a hotly anticipated contest, with both men aiming to win the World Championship for the first time in their career.
More importantly for Momen, he had reached the final in Chicago eight months earlier, losing out to Ali Farag, who claimed his maiden World title at Union Station that day.
‘The Viper’ brought his best game, and took the lead in the match with a consummate performance in the first game. He was undoubtedly helped by an injury picked up by the Kiwi shortly after, but Momen kept his foot on the pedal, and achieved a resounding victory in less than 40 minutes.
In doing so, he made history as he joined wife Raneem El Welily in becoming World Champion. The pair were recognised by the Guinnes Book of World Records for become the first husband and wife to be crowned World Champions in the same sport!