Farag and Welily are the Fantasy El Gouna Champions
Top seeds Ali Farag and Raneem El Welily – winners of the 2019 ‘real’ El Gouna International – are the Fantasy El Gouna Champions after narrow wins over fourth seeds Paul Coll and Nour El Sherbini in the final poll.
A delighted Farag said : “Never won any tournament back to back so definitely feels good to do it for the first time without even playing. Forever grateful for the fans’ trust. Does that mean I’m back to World no. 1? 🤣”
Welily commented : “Wow!!! This is a very special win for me. One of a kind for sure. It’s one that I will remember for ever. I really needed this win, you know, especially since I’ve worked so hard for it 😂😂 I’m just kidding of course.
“Thank you to all those that voted throughout the week. Thank you to squash site for covering the event too 😉 it’s been good fun.”
Welily and Farag also won the Fantasy Grasshopper Cup last month, so we’ll be expecting some tactical voting in the Fantasy Manchester and British Opens to help stop their runs.
We’ll have some innovations for those events – including wildcard places allocated to non-professionals – stay tuned for details, and stay safe …
El Gouna International 2010-2019
 Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 (79%)  Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
 Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-2 (53%)  Tarek Momen (Egy)
 Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-1 (63%)  Nour El Tayeb (Egy)
Ali : “Obviously happy to have the faith of the fans.”
Raneem : ” VERY PLEASED. Who knew one could win just by staying at home 😂”
Nour : “One of my favorite tournaments so I’m veryyyyy pleased!!”
Coll ousts World Champ Momen as finalists are settled
The Fantasy El Gouna finals are set after semi-final victories from Ali Farag, Paul Coll, Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini.
Defending champion Farag maintained his impressive run of results as he enjoyed a 3-1 verdict over Karim Abdel Gawad with a 79% share of the vote. Coll got the better of world champion Momen via a 53% verdict, a poll notable for the scarcity of 3-0 results.
Welily and Sherbini, having enjoyed 90%+ margins in previous rounds, were both pushed to the limit as Welily edged past Camille Serme with a 56% poll while Sherbini overcame Nour El Tayeb with a 63% verdict.
Women’s Quarters : Tayeb gatecrashes last four
While Raneem El Welily, Camille Serme and Nour El Sherbini enjoyed thumping wins in the Fantasy El Gouna quarter-finals, all getting on or around 90% margins in their 3-1 wins, Nour El Tayeb edged through in five against second seed Nouran Gohar with a 53% verdict.
No rest day for the victorious quarter though, with semi-finals taking place today …
Men’s Quarters : Top four through to semis
The Fantasy El Gouna quarter-finals saw emphatic wins for the top four seeds, defending champion Ali Farag leading the polls with a 91% vote over Miguel Rodriguez. In the semis he’ll face compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad who enjoyed a 62% margin over Diego Elias.
Second seed Tarek Momen had a nice round 80% verdict over Fares Dessouky, setting up a semi-final against Paul Coll, a 71% winner over Simon Rosner.
Rowan does it again as top four ease through
Two-time world junior champion Rowan El Araby produced a second successive upset – the only one of the round – as she beat sixth seed Joelle King with a 57% verdict, setting up a quarter-final against top seed Raneem El Welily, who ended the winning run of in-form Hania El Hammamy with a 76% poll.
THe other top four seeds all cruised through – Camille Serme 98% over Joshna Chinappa, Nour El Sherbini 94% over Nele Gilis and Nouran Gohar 96% against Alison Waters. In the quarters they’ll meet Amanda Sobhy, Sarah-Jane Perry and Nour El Tayeb.
Men’s seeds set up enticing quarters as Fares takes out Marwan
The men’s quarter-finals will be contested by seven of the top eight seeds, after a third with margins ranging from 61% to 95%.
Top seed Ali Farag again topped the polling with a 95% victory over compatriot Youssef Soliman, setting up a last eight meeting with Miguel Rodriguez who edged past Greg Marche with a 70% poll. Diego Elias overcame Mohamed Abouelghar in four games and now meets Karim Abdel Gawad, who enjoyed a 78% margin over Gregory Gaultier in a repeat of the 2017 final.
Kiwi Paul Coll eased past Saurav Ghosal with a 94% poll and now meets Simon Rosner, an 88% winner over Mazen Hesham.
The only upset came as Fares Dessouky beat 2018 champion Marwan ElShorbagy after a dramatic recount of the votes. He’ll meet Tarek Momen (68% against Joel Makin) in an all-Egyptian quarter-final.
Yesterday’s Tie Break asked “how many matches have been played in previous El Gouna Internationals?” Answer : 561 ! (we don’t have any prizes, yet …)
Women’s Round Two : Rowan topples Tesni
It was plain sailing for the seeds in Women’s round two, with one notable exception as Egyptian teenager Rowan Elaraby beat 9th seeded Tesni Evans by the narrowest of margins, just one vote for a 50.4% victory !!
The next closest margin was Olivia Blatchford Clyne‘s 61% win over Donna Lobban, while the top four seeds Raneem El Welily, Nouran Gohar, Camille Serme and Nour El Sherbini all recorded margins of 94% or more.
Men’s Round Two : Seeds safely through
Not a hint of an upset in Men’s round Two as all sixteen seeds sailed through with win percentages ranging from a massive 98% (Ali Farag over Youssef Soliman and Diego Elias against Eain Yow Ng) down to Mazen Hesham‘s 62% against Raphael Kandra and Greg Marche‘s 64% margin over Zahed Salem.
Round One : No upsets as all 17/32 seeds progress
There were no upsets in the opening round as all 32 17/32 seeds progressed, with margins ranging from 53% to 97%, moving through to meet the top sixteen seeds in round two.
In the women’s draw the closest matches were Julianne Courtice 3-1 Farida Mohamed (53%) Zeina Mickawy 3-1 Nayar Hany (56%) , with Sabrina Sobhy narrowly recording the most emphatic win with an 89% tally against wildcard Salma Eltayeb.
In the men’s matches England’s Declan James impressed with a massive 97% win over Edmon Lopez, while the closest margin was Nicolas Mueller‘s 57% win over George Parker.
As per the non-Fantasy schedule, the next three rounds are split, but we’re splitting them along gender lines so today’s matches will be Men’s Round Two.
Making the Draws
The DRAWS are now available, after an opening ceremony behind closed doors in Whitley Bay. Positioning of the 9/16 seeds was influenced by your voting preferences, with all other spots decided randomly on a spreadsheet.
Interestingly the all-French section – Coline Aumard v Melissa Alves winner to play Camille Serme – mirrors the way the Black Ball Open draw fell, but it really was random !
On the men’s side, there’s an all-World Junior Champion clash between Mostafa Asal and Karim El Hammamy.
We’ve adjusted the schedule slightly, with Round One now taking place in its entirety on Thu 9th.
Voting for each round will open at 09.00 UK and run through to 08.00 the next day.