The big rankings news in July saw Mostafa Asal break into the top ten for the first time in his short career, as he moved to World No.9.
The major event in the month of July was the biggest tournament in the sport. The PSA World Championships 2020-2021 were held at the University Club of Chicago and it was two familiar names that would take home the trophies as the top two in the world faced off in both the men’s and women’s finals.
Chicago had been good to men’s World No.1 CIB Ali Farag, as he claimed his first World Championship in the city in 2019, before then taking the spoils at the Windy City Open in February 2020.
Farag came in to the event as the top seed, and at the same venue as he took his Windy City Open title 17 months previously, he was able to win once more. He came up against World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy in what was a riveting final, with the man at the summit of the World Rankings securing his second World Championship crown.
The women’s final saw the top two in the world go head-to-head once again, and Nour El Sherbini took on CIB Nouran Gohar for the title in Chicago. Like Farag, the Princess was a fan of Chicago, having also won the World Championships and Windy City Open in the city over the last two years.
The pair, who were doing battle in one of four finals they featured in over the course of the year, played some incredible squash, but it was El Sherbini that came out on top, securing her fifth World Championship crown, putting her alongside Sarah Fitz-Gerald, and behind only Nicol David in the women’s game.
On the Challenger Tour, there were also wins for the Egyptian trio of Moustafa El Sirty, Omar El Torkey and Fayrouz Aboelkheir.
July Title Winners
Smash Basem Makram (M 3) – Omar El Torkey
CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour (M/W 10) – Moustafa El Sirty & Fayrouz Aboelkheir
PSA World Championships (M/W WC) – Ali Farag & Nour El Sherbini
For the first time in 2021, there was a change at the top of the World Rankings, as Mohamed ElShorbagy took over the men’s World No.1 spot for a fifth time, tallying up his 50th month at the summit of the game. Meanwhile, Youssef Ibrahim broke into the top 20 for the first time in his career.
August saw another major tournament on the PSA World Tour, with the most storied event in the sport, the Allam British Open, being played at the University of Hull, and once again, it was a familiar tale in the women’s event.
The top two in the world, in Nour El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar, met once again, with the pair doing battle for 64 minutes. It was the Princess who came from behind to secure her fourth major title of 2021, following on from her successes at the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, El Gouna International Squash Open and the PSA World Championships.
The Allam British Open was not the only PSA World Tour event in August, with the Silver level Manchester Open taking place at the National Squash Centre earlier in the month. The women’s final saw CIB Hania El Hammamy overcome the challenge of English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry to claim her lone title of 2021.
August Title Winners
Manchester Open (M/W Silver) – Hania El Hammamy
CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour 2 (M/W 5) – Moustafa El Sirty
Allam British Open (M/W Platinum) – Nour El Sherbini
CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour 3 (M/W 5) – Yahya Elnawasany & Nour Heikal
There were changes afoot at the top of the men’s World Rankings once again in September, as Ali Farag moved back to the top of the tree. Meanwhile, Youssef Soliman broke into the top 20 for the first time in his fledgling career as well. In the women’s rankings, Rowan Elaraby moved into the top ten for the first time
World No.2 Nouran Gohar finally got the better of the Princess in a final in 2021, doing so at the fourth attempt. The win for The Terminator saw her claim the CIB Egyptian Open title in front of the Pyramids.
After 63 minutes, and an incredible five-game battle, in which Gohar withheld a two-game fightback from El Sherbini, it was eventually the World No.2 that got over the line, winning an encapsulating fifth game on a tie-break.
After reaching the summit of the World Rankings again, Farag showed his class in September, with wins at both the Platinum level CIB Egyptian Open and the Gold level Oracle NetSuite Open in San Francisco.
In the Platinum level tournament in front of the Pyramids, the World No.1 got the better of the man he was doing battle with at the top of the rankings.
He faced off against Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final, and found himself two games down, as the ‘Beast from Alexandria’ came out firing. However, Farag was able to regroup, and fought back to win the contest 3-2, to take his second major title of the year.
He then followed that up with a victory at the Oracle NetSuite Open, as the World Tour returned to the States for the first time since the World Championships had been held in Chicago two months earlier.
In the open air at Embarcadero Plaza, Farag got his revenge on Paul Coll following the Kiwi’s win in the Allam British Open final in August. The World No.1 rounded off an incredible month with a 3-1 victory over the New Zealander, in the second of four finals between the pair in 2021.
The biggest event of the month on the Challenger Tour was the CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour 4, with a Challenger 20 level title up for grabs. It was Karim El Hammamy and Hana Ramadan that were victorious, both winning for the first time in 2021.
Elsewhere on the Challenger Tour, it was another great month for Egypt’s Moustafa El Sirty. Along with Farag on the World Tour, he was the only other play to win twice in September, with victories at the Madeira International and the Heroes Graz Open.
September Title Winners
Madeira International (M 10) – Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
CIB Egyptian Open (M/W Platinum) – Ali Farag & Nouran Gohar
Heroes Graz Open (M 10) – Moustafa El Sirty
CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour 4 (M/W 20) – Karim El Hammamy & Hana Ramadan
The Egyptian trio of Fayrouz Aboelkheir, Malak Khafagy and Nardine Garas all reached the top 100 for the first time as well. Mohamed ElSherbini was the biggest mover in the higher echelons of the men’s rankings, moving inside the top 25 for the first time, while lower down, Aly Abou Eleinen breached the top 100, also for the first time in his careers.
There were two new major winners in October, both coming in the men’s game. The first of those was Egypt’s Mostafa Asal, who somehow came through three epic five-game battles, plus a four-gamer that lasted more than 100 minutes, to claim the U.S. Open presented by Truist crown in Philadelphia.
The event was held at the brand new, state-of-the-art Arlen Specter US Squash Center, with two glass courts in operation over the first four days of action. Asal came into the tournament as the No.8 seed and his first test came against Frenchman Baptiste Masotti, as he came from behind to win 3-2.
That was followed by another instalment of epic squash with Paul Coll, as the pair did battle for more than 100 minutes. After winning that in four, he then defeated Peru’s Diego Elias in a fifth-game tie-break to reach the final, where he came from two games down to defeat compatriot Tarek Momen, claiming an unbelievable first major title.
The women’s title was defended by Nouran Gohar, as she retained the crown that she had won at Drexel University back in 2019. ‘The Terminator’ got the better of Hania El Hammamy in the final this year, to secure her second major title in as many months.
Just 11 days after the action in Philadelphia came to a conclusion, the Qatar QTerminals Classic got underway at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.
The month of October continued to go perfectly for Nouran Gohar, as following her victory at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia, she then went to Detroit, and also claimed the title at the DAC Pro Squash Classic.
The Bronze level tournament took place at the Detroit Athletic Club, and Gohar was the top seed going in to the event. She dominated the competition, dropping just a single game en route to her fourth title of 2021.
Elsewhere, Moustafa El Sirty continued his amazing run of form in 2021 with another victory, this time winning the CAS – Serena Hotels / Combaxx International Squash Championships in Pakistan. Salma Eltayeb was also victorious in Pakistan, as she claimed her maiden Tour title. Also entering the winner’s circle for the first time in October were fellow Egyptians Yassin Elshafei and Marwan Tarek.
October Title Winners
Equinox Boston Open (M 10) – Marwan Tarek
U.S. Open (M/W Platinum) – Mostafa Asal & Nouran Gohar
CAS – Serena Hotels / Combaxx International Squash Championships (M 30/W 10) – Moustafa El Sirty & Salma Eltayeb
DAC Pro Squash Classic (W Bronze) – Nouran Gohar
Bangabandu Ispahani Squash Tournament (M 5) – Yassin Elshafei
After both sealed major wins in the month of October, Mostafa Asal both moved up to career highs of World No.6, while Mazen Hesham also moved up to World No.11 for the first time. Hania El Hammamy moved inside the top four in the women’s rankings.
Moustafa El Sirty won another event in Pakistan in the month to continue his incredible year, while Mazen Gamal created the surprise in France.
November Title Winners
15th CNS International Squash Championship (M 20) – Moustafa El Sirty
Open PSA Lagord Tennis Squash (M 10) – Mazen Gamal
The PSA World Tour returned to the Black Ball Sporting Club in December, for the Gold level CIB Squash Open Black Ball, and the big story was the return of CIB Nour El Tayeb, as she made her first appearance on Tour since giving birth to her first child, just five months previous.
Once again, it was World No.1 Nour El Sherbini who was victorious come the end of the week, as she defeated Hania El Hammamy in the final, winning 3-1 in 48 minutes to end 2021 with five titles to her name.
December was one of the busiest months of the year on the Challenger Tour, and Yahya Elnawasany claimed two victories in Doha.
Moustafa El Sirty‘s victory at the CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour 5 was his ninth in 2021, the most on Tour this year. Nada Abbas won the women’s title at the Challenger 20 level event.
December Title Winners
CIB Egyptian Challenger Tour 5 (M/W 20) – Moustafa El Sirty & Nada Abbas
CIB Black Ball (M/W Gold) – Nour El Sherbini
QSF 3 and 4 (M 10) – Yahya Elnawasany