[2] Mostafa Asal 3-1 [4] Mazen Hesham  11-4, 9-11, 11-1, 11-1 (51m)
[1] Nour ElSherbini 3-0 [3] Hania El Hammamy  11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (39m)


[1] Nour ElSherbini 3-0 [4] Olivia Weaver (USA)  11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (38m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy 3-2 [2] Nouran Gohar  8-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 15-13 (99m)

[4] Mazen Hesham 3-2 [1] Diego Elias (Per) 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 (77m)
[2] Mostafa Asal 3-2 [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Eng) 7-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-1, 11-2 (70m)


Hania El Hammamy and Nouran Gohar produced another classic on semi-finals day, with El Hammamy emerging victorious after 99 minutes of breathtaking action.

Almost seven months on from their record-breaking encounter at the CIB World Tour Finals – the longest PSA Tour women’s match ever – the Egyptian pair put on another show, this time with a spot in the Florida Open final on the line.

They split the opening two games before Gohar took command of game three, quickly moving to 5-0 up and then closing it out 11-5 following a video review. Back came El Hammamy once more, though, with a new ball in play to start game four, and she ensured the match would go to a decider after winning the game on a stroke.

It looked as though that might’ve taken the wind out of Gohar’s sails, too, as El Hammamy was quickly 5-1 up in the fifth, with victory in her sights. But this time, it was Gohar who fought back, eventually forcing a tiebreak after some more brutal rallies.

El Hammamy had already squandered one match ball at 10-9 up when the tie-break began and missed another two at 11-10 and 12-11, with the tension inside the arena now palpable.

Gohar would then have a match ball of her own, saved by El Hammamy on a short backhand volley, but the drama would finally come to an end moments later.

After bringing up another match ball on a stroke decision, El Hammamy clinched victory in sensational fashion, diving for a forehand and then hitting a backhand from her knee before Gohar hit the tin to bring an end to the match.

“It’s always physical against Nouran, it’s always long,” El Hammamy said after her win.

“I just heard it was 99 minutes, so yeah, it’s always tough. I think today was more about squash, so I’m definitely glad about my performance, I’m glad that I managed to fight.”

Discussing what she was thinking during the fifth-game tie break, El Hammamy added: “I knew how I was losing my match points, I made a lot of errors.

“I had two match balls that I think I lost with an error, so maybe on the third or fourth, I tried to play safe. Even if I wanted to go short, I tried to play safe, not hit a winner, and I think with that dive I saved myself from one of those winners that Nouran likes to play. I dug deep in that last rally and I’m very pleased and very proud of myself.”

El Hammamy also touched on the help of Laura Massaro, who she’s been working with remotely.

“We called twice this morning,” she said. “She tried to prepare me mentally as much as possible for this match. This matchup is not always about squash. For the last three meetings, it was more than squash, it was more about interactions with the ref, interactions between both of us, so she prepared me mentally for these scenarios, she prepared me well to know how to deal with them, so thanks to her, and thanks to my coach Omar AbdelAziz as well.”

Mazen Hesham came back from 2-1 down to beat home favourite Diego Elias in the SmartCentres Florida Open semi-finals.

Playing at his home club, Elias came into the match with an impressive record against the Egyptian, winning 12 of their 15 matches, including each of the last nine, but he was unable to add another win to that record, going down in 77 minutes on the glass court. Elias had taken the opening game in their last seven meetings, but it was a different story here, as Hesham executed his shots with aplomb throughout game one, winning it on a stroke after a controversial video review had brought up game ball.

Elias struggled in the early rallies of game two, but the errors crept into Hesham’s game at a crucial stage towards the end, opening the door for the Peruvian to level the score. That appeared to settle the No.1 seed down, as he raced into a 5-1 lead in game three, and while Hesham got back to 5-4, Elias halted his charge with an outstanding cross-court volley which hit the nick and rolled.

He then hit a perfect forehand volley to bring up the game ball moments later and closed it out when Hesham hit the tin, but the Egyptian dug deep to claim game four and send us into a decider.

The end to game four was somewhat controversial, with Elias wanting a let after contact between the two players, but his appeal came too late after playing on in the rally, and Hesham came out firing in game five. He was soon 9-5 up, and while Elias closed the gap to two points, that was as close as he got, with Hesham clinching victory on the following point to reach his first Gold event final since 2022.

“I’m very, very pleased,” he said after his win. “I haven’t beaten Diego in God knows how long.”

“It’s been a few years and he’s been at the top of the rankings for around the last two years. He’s improved so much, mentally and physically, and he’s such a nice guy outside of the court as well.

“Inside the court, I think both of us were a bit feisty but that happens with this sport. We respect each other so much, and I was really pleased with how both of us fought and kept our composure at the end, and I was really lucky that it went my way. Other times, it wouldn’t go my way, but it happened today.”

Discussing how he got back into the match after falling 2-1 behind, he added: “I told myself… if you’re going to win against these guys, it’s going to be so hard, they never give it to you easily, especially when I haven’t beaten him for a long time now.

“He knows he can push against me, he knows he can make it tough and physical for me. I just had to stick in there and prove myself wrong that I can push these guys, and I can challenge them this year more than ever.”

When asked what was going through his mind as Elias closed the gap in game five, he joked: “Typical Mazen, typical Mazen. You try to go too early too quick, and you always try to see the finish line.

“I told myself that you have to stick in there and you have to keep working for it, as he can come back any time, so I’m really, really, glad I kept my mental focus in there. I had a few relapses, but this is the way it is and I’m very, very proud of myself for pushing today.”


[4] Mazen Hesham 3-0 [6] Joel Makin (WAL)  11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (42m)
[1] Diego Elias (PER) 3-0 [5] Tarek Momen 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (38m)
[2] Mostafa Asal 3-0 [9/16] Sébastien Bonmalais (FRA)  11-3, 11-1, 11-5 (38m)

[1] Nour ElSherbini 3-0 [5] Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy  3-1 [6] Amina Orfi   12-10, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6 (64m)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 [8] Farida Mohamed    12-10, 12-10, 11-3 (54m) 

Round Two

[4] Mazen Hesham3-1 Abdulla Al-Tamimi (QAT)  10-12, 11-3, 11-2, 11-2 (41m)
[5] Tarek Momen 3-1 Raphael Kandra (GER)  5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (45m)
Grégoire Marche (FRA) 3-2 [8] Mohamed ElSherbini 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8 (83m)
[2] Mostafa Asal 3-0 Leonel Cardenas (MEX)  11-3, 11-5, 11-2 (38m)

Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-2 [7] Nada Abbas  14-16, 11-9, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4 (57m)
[1] Nour ElSherbini3-0 Salma Eltayeb    11-3, 11-5, 11-4 (20m)
[8] Farida Mohamed3-1 Tomato Ho (HKG)
[2] Nouran Gohar 3-0 Zeina Mickawy 11-7, 11-6, 11-0 (27m)
[3] Hania El Hammamy 3-1 Nour Aboulmakarim 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-2 (36m)
[6] Amina Orfi v Kenzy Ayman

Gohar Wins in Style on Return to Action

Nohan Gohar made an emphatic return to action following a lengthy injury layoff, beating Zeina Mickawy 3-0 in the final match of the afternoon session.

Gohar’s last action came in the QTerminals Qatar Classic in September, but she looked at her imperious best in her comeback match, taking just 27 minutes to book her spot in the last eight. Games one and two were comfortable for the World No.2, but it was her performance in game three that will have put her competitors on notice, with Gohar recording a bagel to complete the victory.

“It feels great. Obviously, it takes you a while to get used to the court and the movements. Even if you’re training, it’s completely different to a tournament and it has been almost six months, so it’s been quite a long time but I’m glad to be back for sure.”

Speaking about the process she went through to get back to this stage, Gohar added: “It’s funny, I was literally learning how to walk again, it felt so weird to not be able to walk for a while.

“I was tying my shoes and not able to take two steps in a row and I was in so much pain as well for so long as well, so to be pain free is an absolute pleasure. And I just think it can get better, that’s the good part, that’s the positive about it, I can see myself improving every single day.

Discussing the 11-0 scoreline in game three, the Egyptian revealed that she was solely focused on playing good squash.

“I was just trying to find my range again, find my weight of shots and feeling comfortable on court,” she said.

“I was just in the zone, not really thinking about the score to be honest, I was just thinking about where I’m hitting the ball. I’m glad that I was improving every single day and I’m hoping that I can improve every single match as well.”

Amina Orfi set up a mouthwatering quarter-final matchup with Hania El Hammamy, beating Kenzy Ayman in the final encounter of day three. 16-year-old Orfi enjoyed a remarkable year in 2023, rising to a career-high ranking No.16 in the world, and kicked of 2024 in style, taking just 24 minutes to see off her compatriot 3-0.

The final score read 11-4, 11-5, 11-2 and reflected her dominance, with Ayman’s front-court backhand falling short on match ball to wrap up proceedings.

“I’m very happy, I think I played very well today,” she said following the match. “After a month off from playing tournaments, I was a bit nervous, but I made sure to focus on the things I worked on over the past month, and I think that went well.

It’s very important [to win in three] because it’s my first time playing this amount of matches in a year, so if there’s an opportunity to shorten the match then I have to take it, and with these tournaments being week after week, one after the other, it’s very important to do that.

Orfi’s win set up a meeting with No.3 seed El Hammamy, in a rematch of their dramatic encounter at last season’s PSA World Championships, which El Hammamy won 3-2.

Speaking on that rematch, Orfi added: “I’m really looking forward to that. Last time we played it was a good match and I enjoyed playing it so this time I’m just going focus on my squash and hopefully I can convert it.”

El Hammamy Downs Aboulmakarim in All-Egyptian Affair

Hania El Hammamy kicked off her quest for glory in the first event of 2024 with a win, beating fellow Egyptian Nour Aboulmakarim 3-1. The World No.3 look in complete control as she raced into a 2-0 lead, but lost her way in game three, as her young opponent capitalised on some lose shots to keep her hopes alive.

But El Hammamy regained her focus in game four, dropping only two points in the game to ensure there would be no fairytale fightback for Aboulmakarim.

“It was a very challenging first round for the beginning of the year. I’ve never played against Nour on the Professional Tour. Last time I played against her was two or three years ago in a match for university, so I really didn’t know what to expect.

“I think I was playing ok and then for some reason I lost a little bit of focus, and she fired things at me, but overall, I’m very happy and looking forward to the rest of the tournament.

“I tried to reset after the third and I tried to wake myself up a little bit. It felt like I was losing my focus, I was a little bit soft and passive, but I just think that I just had to be more alert and that made the difference for sure.”

Mohamed Battles Past Ho on Return from Injury

Farida Mohamed battled past Tomato Ho to book her place in the SmartCentres Kinetic Florida Open, winning 3-1 in 32 minutes. The Egyptian took the opener 11-6 and, despite being pegged back in the second, looked like she had taken control of proceedings in a dominant third game, which she won 11-2.

As she had done in the second, though, Ho responded well, giving herself four game balls to send the match into a decider at 10-6, but was unable to convert any of the four, with Mohamed reeling off six points on the bounce to clinch victory.

Speaking to Amanda Sobhy on court after victory, Mohamed revealed she was happy to be back on tour, even if she wasn’t quite back to her best.

“I’m definitely not very happy with my performance, but I haven’t played in around two months, so it’s kind of a mini offseason for me,” she said.

“The nerves were bad and I’ve been injured, so I’m just happy to be here today, pain free, and I’m feeling better mentally and more settled in my life outside of squash, so I’m feeling good.

“I wasn’t really off court [during the injury] because I didn’t listen to the doctors that much, but it was kind of an infection in my foot so I’m glad I’m feeling fit now. I didn’t know if I’d be ready for this one, so I’m really glad to be here today.”

Women’s World No.1 ElSherbini cruised to a 3-0 victory over fellow Egyptian Salma Eltayeb in just 20 minutes.

Speaking after her win, ElSherbini said:

“I’m happy with the way I played, happy with the first win of the year and looking forward to this week.

“It was actually the first time I’ve ever played Salma. She’s a young, up-and-coming player so you don’t quite know what her game is or how she’s playing, but I know she’s very dangerous and has very good hands, so I had to be ready from the first point.”

Round One

Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-2 Mariam Metwally  4-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (48m)
Salma Eltayeb  3-0 Ineta Mackevica (LAT)  11-6, 11-3, 11-5 (18m)
Zeina Mickawy 3-1 Grace Gear (ENG)  9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-2 (37m)
Nour Aboulmakarim 3-1 Emilia Soini (FIN) 11-9, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5 (37m)
Kenzy Ayman 3-0 Anna Serme (CZE)  11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (21m)

Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 3-2 Yahya Elnawasany  11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-13, 12-10 (72m)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-1 Karim El Hammamy  13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8 (71m)