Gohar and Tayeb set up first all-Egyptian final at Heights Casino …
Linda Elriani reports, photos by Jean Ervasti
Semi finals day at the 2020 Carol Weymuller Open, and o have the world #3, #4, #5 and #6 playing in our semi finals was just fantastic and everyone was excited to see some more action packed squash.
The first semi final of today was between world #3 and #1 seed Nouran Gohar from Egypt, who is also the current British Open and US Open Champion, and her opponent world #5 and 2020 ToC Champion, Camille Serme from France.
This is Nouran’s first time to play in the Carol Weymuller Open and Camille reached the semifinals in 2016 and was also in the final in 2013, so I’m very sure that both players would love to make it through today to have a chance to lift the Weymuller trophy.
The match started off with long, arduous rallies with both players vying for the T and trying to take the ball early. The quality of the squash was incredibly high and they were both pushing so hard to stick to their game plans.
Camille was managing to slow the ball down a little with some great lobs to help negate some of Nouran’s amazing power. It was even up until 6-6 and then Nouran started to pull away using her superb power in her hard and accurate drives and make it incredibly hard for Camille to be forward and use her attacking game. Nouran took the first 11/8.
In the second game Camille got a good start at 4-1 and was managing to cope with Nouran’s barrage of hard hit shots, but just as in the first game, Nouran dug in deeper and hit several magnificent, powerful drives that won her rallies outright. Her drives pinned Camille back and totally prevented her from taking the ball in the air. Camille was trying so hard impose her game, but she was finding it hard to slow the pace down well enough to impact Nouran.
Both players were moving so well, but Nouran was particularly fast today and seemed to be reading Camille’s shots very early. Nouran ended up coming through the second with the same score line 11/8.
The third game was evenly matched again at the start up to 6-6 with the points going back and forth. The rallies were so fun to watch as both players covered the court with such ease and grace and the quality of play was second to none. The game ended up being a repeat of the previous 2 games with Nouran pulling away from her opponent, while was Camille desperately hanging on by her finger nails!
While Camille kept giving her best effort, she looked like she was out of ideas of how to stop the on fire Nouran winning the match. Nouran came through to secure her place in the Carol Weymuller final 11/8, 11/8, 11/7 in 34 minutes.
The name that Nouran has been given by SquashTV is ‘The Terminator’ and we can fully see why! She is relentless, accurate, focused, powerful and fast. Very impressive squash today and Nouran was clearly firing on all cylinders. Camille really tried her best, but today it just wasn’t quite enough.
A smiling Nouran said: “I’m really happy with the match. It was hard after losing last week. Camille was playing brilliantly and she can beat anyone on her day. I was trying to play my game hard and accurate, but in front of her as she is very dangerous on the volley. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”
The head to head with these 2 players is 5-5 with Nour having won their last meeting. So it was going to be interesting who could move ahead not only in the tournament, but also in the stats too.
The match started well and evenly with some great long rallies. Nour and Joelle have very different styles so it was interested to see who could dominate.
Nour is skilful, wonderfully swift and fantastically gutsy so you know you have to do so much to win each point. Joelle’s volleys are strong and she controls the middle, so well so Nour would have to keep the ball away from Joelle as much as possible.
At 5-5 the pressure from Nour started to show and some errors started to creep in. Joelle was going short just a little too early and not quite well enough and Nour took total advantage of this and took the first game 11/6.
The second game was always in Nour’s favor. Joelle was looking a little flat and her drives where not as tight as they usually are so this gave Nour more opportunities to use her creativity and hit some wonderful shots in the front. There were some marvelous rallies but Nour seemed to come out on top and continued like yesterday to be looking like she was having fun on the court. Nour got game ball at 10/3 but Joelle squeezed back 2 more points before Nour won the second game 11/5.
The third game was Joelle’s best game of the match. She pressed Nour deeper and this gave her the chance to use her volleys and cut off the ball short. Joelle got her first considerable lead of the match at 5-2. But with a cross court nick off the serve from Nour and a couple of errors from Joelle and some gutsy patience, Nour was fully back in the game.
Nour was managing to hit a great width and with an opponent as tall and strong as Joelle this is vital. Joelle tried to regain her composure, but each time she tried Nour seemed to have the answer or she would make an error. It was the 2 errors from Joelle that gave Nour the finals points to victory taking the match 11/6, 11/5. 11/8 in 33 minutes.
A very happy Nour El Tayeb after the match said: “I was more nervous than yesterday. Joelle has been playing great squash recently. I think it was up and down from both of us. But I managed to play the bigger points better. Winning in 3 against Joelle is massive, I’m happy and proud. This will be the second final in a row here which is great! I’m really looking forward to playing Nouran tomorrow.”