Day 8 – Semis


[1] Nour El Sherbini 3-0 [5] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)                       11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [3] Camille Serme (Fra)                            11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (36m)

[1] Ali Farag 3-2 [3] Tarek Momen                          10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 (84m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy 3-1 [4] Paul Coll (Nzl)                11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 (50m)

ElShorbagy Reclaims World No.1 Spot 

Mohamed ElShorbagy ensured he will overthrow rival CIB Ali Farag as the new men’s World No.1 on August 1 after he overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll at the University Club of Chicago to reach the final.

ElShorbagy, who will record the 50th month of his career at the top the PSA Men’s World Rankings next month, has been gunning for the coveted ranking ever since losing it to Farag in October, 2020, and he will take on his fellow Egyptian in the final of the sport’s most prestigious tournament after beating 2019-20 runner-up Coll 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 in 50 minutes.

He will now attempt to win his second World Championship title – following his 2017 win over younger brother Marwan in Manchester – and will line up in his fourth World Championship final after also reaching the title decider in 2012 and 2014. He is only the third Egyptian to achieve that feat after Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour, with Ashour beating ElShorbagy in 2012 and 2014.

Despite losing the World No.1 ranking, Ali will also have a chance to capture his second World Championship title after he dethroned reigning champion Tarek Momen in a repeat of the 2018-19 PSA World Championship final, which was the first PSA World Championship to be held in Chicago.

The match was an enthralling 84-minute battle, with Farag coming through to win 10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 as he made it 16 wins in a row in Chicago after he also won the 2020 Windy City Open to go with his 2018-19 PSA World Championship triumph.

Like the men’s final, the women’s final will also see the world’s top two players go head-to-head, and both the World No.1 spot and the World Championship title will be on offer when reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini takes on World No.2 CIB Nouran Gohar tomorrow.

It will be the fifth year in succession that the women’s final will feature two Egyptians and El Sherbini has made history after becoming the first woman to reach six successive World Championship finals. The 25-year-old will aim to become the third woman to win a World Championship crown on five occasions tomorrow following a dominant 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 victory over United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.

“Being in the final of the World Championship without losing a game makes me more confident, and I want to win this tournament by playing my best tomorrow,” said El Sherbini after reaching the seventh World Championship title of her career.

“It’s huge for me to be trying to win a fifth World Championship. I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself or think a lot about it. I have one more match and will make a good plan and just try to focus, play squash and that’s it.”

Gohar is through to her first World Championship final, with the 23-year-old powering past France’s World No.4 Camille Serme with an 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 victory in 36 minutes.

Gohar, from Cairo, will now look to return to World No.1 for the second time in her career – and first time since October, 2020 – while she is aiming to become the third Egyptian female to lift the iconic trophy after El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily.

Mohamed ElShorbagy

“The job is not done. One of my goals was to get the World No.1 spot, which is now in the bag, but tomorrow is a big day. I’m playing my biggest rival on tour, we’ve been rivals for the last three or four years now, and I can’t wait to get back on court with him. We haven’t played in a big match like this in a long time.

“This is the first game I lost in this event, and I think it’s good to get tested. All of my matches have been tricky, but to lose one game and to have him make me earn the win are positives for tomorrow. I’m really glad I responded the way I should, and I’m happy to be back in the World Champs final again.

“When you lose a game like that, you need to not panic and breathe. The first thing I needed to do after the third was to get my thoughts together. I got my tactics right at the beginning of the court, and meditation is a big part of my training.

“As you grow older you learn more things to do off court than can improve you on court, and I’ve been doing it for a few years now. It doesn’t get bigger than playing the World Championship final, it’s the biggest match of the year.

“It’s great to have the two best players in the world contesting it, I think we’ll both give a great match for all the squash fans around the whole world and in the crowd here in Chicago. I really can’t wait, and I’m really excited to be on court with him tomorrow.”

Ali Farag

“Let me just start by saying that I really love Tarek as a person.

“I said it last time after my match, but I have to reiterate how much of a good friend he has been, advising me on everything. The way we played the match and how intense it was. It was very physical, I couldn’t celebrate afterwards because I was cramping in my fingers, I don’t know for one more point how I would have held the racket. Thank god, the last one went in. The first was weird, Nour El Sherbini was on fuego, we didn’t really get the time to warm up properly, let alone with the fast ball in the first one – the pace was a little erratic and I couldn’t control that.

“If you fail to do that against Tarek then you’re going to be in big trouble. Even then I still had game ball up, he did well to clinch that game, I felt that I needed to slow the pace down and I think I did that well in the second. The third, even though I won it, I don’t think I was in control for most of it and then in the fourth I got tired.

“It very rarely happens to me against any other player, but against Tarek when you get into his pace, you lose it. Maybe, not very proud with the way I threw it away and then the knee thing happened and I was all over the place. I don’t know how I won that fifth, I don’t know what happened. I just said ‘Ali, find a way’.

“Winning the World Championship title against your main rival would be an awesome thing to do. I would love to play with Mohamed, even though he is on fuego again. He has been playing pretty good squash. Paul has been to the final before, so he knows how to get there, and if I play with him again it is going to be very tough.

“I’m happy for my parents, I see them there in the crowd. My mum is better at hiding being tense! I love them both so much and I’m so happy to be in another final.

“And I love Tarek.”

Tarek Momen :
So my World Championship title defense run ended last night in the semis. Lost a very close 3/2 match against the World no.1 Ali Farag
Was very close to achieving a historic 3 consecutive final appearances at the World Champs (something that hasn’t been done in 20+ years on the men’s side)
I gave it everything I had but it was so close in the end, Ali did very well to seal the win and as heartbreaking as it is losing the way I did, I think I’m super proud of how hard I fought for it. I may have lost my status as the current World Champ but I’m happy to be back playing my best squash again

Nouran Gohar

“Obviously reaching the final doesn’t feel the same as the semi-final, even though it’s still something good. I was really eager for this one. I wanted to go at least one step better and take my chances. I’m just happy that I was able to do it today and not next year, because I can’t wait another year, I had to do it this time!

“I’ve been in the same situation when Laura, Raneem and Nicol all were playing. I stayed for like two years not being able to pass through them and the quarter finals and it was very frustrating at that time. I just think maybe it’s our time to do the same with the other players.

“The top five right now are really competitive. You can see Amanda did an upset and beat Hania 3-0 in the quarter finals. Anyone can beat anyone in the top 10 right now, it’s how you prepare on that day and handle the pressure. A World Championship is different as well, the pressure is something else and the one that is able to handle the pressure better is the one that wins.

“If I win tomorrow then it’s a bonus to become World No.1, but the match itself is something else. I want to win the match itself, not thinking about the rankings, not about the title – it’s just another day and another match and we’ll see what happens.”

Nour El Sherbini

“Amanda has been doing really well this week. And to be the first US player to be in the semis of the World Championship and I know how hard it is to be in a semi-final of a World Championship and playing in front of a home crowd with everyone supporting her. I took a bit of an advantage of the crowd supporting her, so it put pressure on her more than me. I knew that everyone would be behind her, I wanted to be relaxed and calm and focus on my game plan.

“Thankfully, I had my dad here, he is the main support for me today and all the crowd I needed today, he’s the main reason for my win.

“I just see him outside and the look in his eyes, he’s always smiling, so he gives me the confidence and makes me relaxed. Maybe, he’s not saying anything but once I look at him he gives me all the confidence I need.

“Being in the final of the World Championship without losing a game makes me more confident and want to win this tournament by playing my best tomorrow.

“It’s huge for me to trying to win a fifth World Championship. I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself or think a lot about it. I have one more match and make a good plan. Just try to focus, play squash and that’s it.”