Ali Farag and Nouran Gohar captured the 2019 FS Investments US Open titles at Philadelphia’s Drexel University after overcoming compatriots Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Tayeb to win the first Professional Squash Association (PSA) Platinum event of the 2019/20 season.

Gohar claimed back-to-back Platinum titles after also taking the honours at the British Open in May, but the 22-year-old had to battle back from two games down and championship ball down to claim her 10th career PSA World Tour title.

El Tayeb, who won the championship in 2017 alongside husband Farag as they became the first married couple in sporting history to win the same major title on the same day, looked like she would reclaim the prestigious trophy as she powered to a two-game lead and match ball in the third. However, Gohar fought hard to force the match into a fourth and the tide turned immediately as she put together a series of well-constructed rallies to level the match at two games apiece. El Tayeb stayed with Gohar until 7-7 in the decider, but younger Egyptian eventually pulled away to claim a memorable 3-11 8-11 14-12 11-8 11-7 victory.

“I can’t believe it,” said Gohar after the match.

“It was so tough out there, I felt my legs burning and it was like I was doing court sprints with Nour out there in the first two games. I just tried to hang in and I didn’t want the crowd to be upset about a bad final match. I was thinking ‘that’s the worst final ever’, but it turns out, and I hope, it was a good one.

“I was really nervous, and I thought ‘just fight, you didn’t work that hard to just let it go’, so for each point I was just telling myself to fight. I tried to adapt, I knew that my plan wasn’t working, and I thought when the opportunity came to just take a risk and see how it goes. The crowd was amazing and the best ever, I think even better than an Egyptian crowd. It’s really nice for us to have such a good crowd and it cheers you on when you are down.”

While El Tayeb narrowly missed out on taking the women’s crown, Farag made no mistake in claiming his seventeenth PSA World Tour title as a masterclass of a performance saw him end ElShorbagy’s unbeaten start to the season in a free-flowing match that saw only four decisions made by the referee throughout the 40-minute contest.

ElShorbagy had already won the J.P. Morgan China Open and Oracle NetSuite Open to mark an impressive start to the new season, but the three-time U.S. Open champion was powerless to prevent his opponent from securing an unexpected 11-4 11-7 11-2 victory.

“To be winning not only a major, but the U.S. Open which is one of the most prestigious tournaments we have on the calendar, it feels amazing,” said Farag, upon becoming the third Egyptian to win the U.S. Open twice after ElShorbagy and the legendary Amr Shabana.

“It’s a good day for the family, I can’t be too disappointed but there is no one I hate more in this building than Nouran Gohar right now! I’m kidding, both Nouran and Nour played an amazing match and that’s how squash should be played.

“Obviously I’m very proud with how I played as well, Mohamed has had an unbelievable start to the season, to be unbeaten in 12 matches in a row, and I was one of the victims, so to get the win today feels amazing.”

2019 FS Investments U.S. Open Championships

Men’s Final:

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 11-4, 11-7, 11-2

Women’s Final:

[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [4] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-11, 8-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-7

 

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