Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag retained their world titles in Chicago with straight game wins over Nouran Gohar and Karim Abdel Gawad
Egyptian duo Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag retained their titles with wins over compatriots Nouran Gohar and Karim Abdel Gawad at Chicago’s Union Station.
The PSA World Championships is the most prestigious tournament in squash, with $1,000,000 in total player compensation split equally between the male and female athletes.
Super Seven for Sherbini
Nour El Sherbini now has an incredible seven World Championship titles following a stunning 11-6, 11-4, 12-10 victory in the women’s final.
It was the third time El Sherbini and Gohar had battled it out for the right to be World Champion, and it was Gohar who made the brighter start to the opening game.
But El Sherbini found her mark – executing her trademark shots emphatically to swat aside the positive opening from the World No.2 to take the first 11-6.
The confidence was flowing through El Sherbini as she found her targets superbly well in the second, which she claimed in just nine minutes to double her advantage.
Gohar got the much-needed start to the third when she came out of the blocks with a 6-2 lead. It looked as though Gohar had got a vital foothold back in the contest when she had four game balls, but El Sherbini saved all four to force a tiebreak.
World title number seven was sealed as El Sherbini came through the tiebreak on top to leave her just one crown away from equalling the record.
“It’s huge and special for me and I can’t believe I did it and I’m so happy. Winning the final 3-0, it’s good and I didn’t want to lose the third game. I didn’t want to get nervous and I didn’t want to think a lot.
“I was just focusing in every point and I just said that even if I’m going to lose the game, just play every point. I was prepared and was preparing that I’m going to lose this game.
“Of course I’m happy that I’m closer to Nicol’s record. She’s a legend and what she did was amazing and unbelievable. I’ve always been looking up to her, so to put my name beside her that’s something special and huge for me.”
Fourth for Farag
The men’s final saw World No.4 Ali Farag become only the second Egyptian after Amr Shabana to lift four World Championship trophies after he won with a 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 scoreline.
Gawad’s run to the final came just seven months after he was consigned to a wheelchair as he received treatment for a heel injury. He had beaten World No.1 Diego Elias and World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy en route to a second World Championship final following his title win in 2016. Farag has also had his injury struggles this season, spending four months on the sidelines because of a knee problem.
31-year-old Gawad started brilliantly but was unable to convert a 9-5 lead in the opening game as Farag came back to take the opener. By this point, Farag was in full stride and errors began to flow from Gawad’s racket as Farag came through to take the win in straight games.
Farag – like El Sherbini before him – has now won all three World Championships held in Chicago. Farag and El Sherbini were also the winners the first time Union Station hosted this tournament back in 2019.
“It’s so special. No matter how many times you go through it, it’s even more special than the time before. Especially against such a champion like Karim, I’m super relieved and super happy.
“Two months ago we played a practice match and we were limping and the standard wouldn’t have even earned us a place in the World Championship, let alone the final. To come all the way through to reach the final is a very proud achievement for the two of us.”