Nour El Sherbini Claims Fourth World Championship Crown
Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini celebrated her 24th birthday in style by capturing her fourth World Championship title after overcoming compatriot and World No.1 Raneem El Welily in front of Cairo’s spectacular Great Pyramid of Giza to win the 2019-20 CIB PSA Women’s World Championship.
El Sherbini is only the fourth, and youngest, female player to win four World Championship titles, while she is the first person to win a World Championship trophy in front of the Pyramids since Australia’s David Palmer in 2006. Her 11-4 9-11 11-5 11-6 victory over the top seeded El Welily was all the more impressive given that she was appearing in her first tournament of the season following a debilitating knee injury which has seen her fall to No.4 in PSA Women’s World Rankings.
Despite a compromised preparation, El Sherbini played near perfect squash throughout the tournament and progressed to the final and third World Championship title decider against El Welily without dropping game.
El Welily beat El Sherbini at the 2016 Al Ahram Open to become the first woman to win a professional squash title in front of the Pyramids, but looked overawed on this occasion as a number of errors in the opening game handed the initiative and lead to her opponent.
The World No.1 struck back in the second but thereafter had no answer to El Sherbini’s all-out attack which earned the younger Egyptian a deserved 41-minute victory to capture the biggest title in women’s squash and qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.
“The last couple of months for me have been really hard,” said El Sherbini after winning her 20th career title on the PSA World Tour.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do… but I took the risk and took the decision that I wanted to play this tournament badly, and I wanted to come and try and see how it goes. I was getting better every match and I’m very grateful and happy to be standing here right now.
“I missed playing with all the top players and especially Raneem. She is closest to my heart and it’s very hard to play her mentally and emotionally, but we try to leave the emotions and focus on squash once we get inside the court. I think because today is my birthday, I was making sure not to be sad. I was very relaxed and it took a lot of pressure off thinking about the messages, so it helped me a lot.
2019-20 CIB PSA Women’s World Championship
Final: Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6
Karim Abdel Gawad Wins CIB Egyptian Open
In a repeat of the 2016 Al Ahram Open final, Karim Abdel Gawad produced a scintillating 11-6 11-8 11-8 victory over World No.1 and World Champion to claim the men’s CIB Egyptian Squash in front of Cairo’s spectacular Great Pyramid of Giza.
Gawad became the first man in a decade to win a trophy in front of the Pyramids when he beat Farag in straight games three years ago and he matched that 3-0 score line to continue his 100 per cent record at the iconic landmark.
Despite spirited resistance, Farag was unable to prevent Gawad capturing his 22nd PSA World Tour title with 61-minute masterclass and qualifying for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.
“Playing Ali is always very tough for me,” acknowledged Gawad. “He’s always been my competitor since we were seven years old until now. I know how hard it is, we played in the final [in front of the Pyramids] in 2016 and now we’re playing again in the final here. He’s dealing with a lot of hard moments and he is just a champion to be on court with and he fights until the end with this amazing spirit, best of luck to him and his family.
“I talked a lot with my coaches, Omar Abdel Aziz, Mahmoud Abdel Kader and Ahmed Faragallah. We talked a lot and put together different plans, with the World No.1 it’s very difficult, so you have to have different plans and more than a plan to just win. Winning in three games means a lot to me in such an amazing venue for me and for everyone.”
2019 CIB Egyptian Open
Final: Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (61m)