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Gregory Gaultier (left) stars on semi-finals day

El Gouna & Women's Worlds Semi-Finals: AS IT HAPPENS

Follow us here for reports and reaction from semi-finals day at the Men's El Gouna International Squash Open and the Orascom Development PSA Women's World Championship.

World No.1 Gregory Gaultier clashes with World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy in a repeat of the Windy City Open final – with ElShorbagy looking to follow up his win over older brother Mohamed.

In the other Men's semi-final, World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad will take on fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky – where a win will see him overtake Gaultier at the summit of the World Rankings.

Action from the Women's World Championship follows the Men's tournament, with an all-Egyptian clash featuring defending champion Nour El Sherbini and World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar on the cards.

World No.4 Raneem El Welily will be the other home favourite on show and she lines up against World No.3 Camille Serme for a place in her second World Championship final.

You can watch the action LIVE on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Not able to watch? Check out our live scoring page

Here's the Order of Play for SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player
(All times are local EET)
18:30 [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
follow on Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
21:00 [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [4] Nouran Gohar (EGY)
follow on [3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) v [2] Camille Serme (FRA)

Gaultier Becomes First El Gouna International Finalist After Taking Out ElShorbagy

Gregory Gaultier

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier will compete in a second successive El Gouna International Squash Open final after he came out on top against Egyptian World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy in El Gouna in their semi-final clash in the World Series event.

Gaultier had lost out to ElShorbagy’s older brother, World No.3 Mohamed, in controversial circumstances in last year’s final, but he shot out of the traps to take a 6-0 lead in the opening game.

A dispute over one of ElShorbagy’s retrievals in the next rally, called good by the video referee, then resulted in Gaultier remonstrating with the main referee, claiming that ElShorbagy had spoken to him during the rally – echoing the situation in last year’s final, where the older ElShorbagy appeared to have spoken during one of Gaultier’s serves to go match ball up.

The ‘French General’s’ complaints fell on deaf ears though and he lost his head and accuracy completely, hitting tin after tin to let ElShorbagy back into the game, before eventually steadying the ship to triumph 12-10 on the tie-break.

Games two and three were more one-sided affairs, however, with Gaultier hitting his targets to seal an 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 victory in 51 minutes.

“I'm feeling confident, I'm moving well and if I stay focused on what I have to do then I think I can really win the event,” said Gaultier, who extended his unbeaten run to 18 matches as he targets a fourth straight title.

“But there are always tough challenges with these Egyptians, especially here because they always play well at home. I'm just going to stick to what I have to do, take it easy, relax and put my energy into every shot.

“We’ll see tomorrow, it's another final, I've been on a good dynamic recently, winning most of my matches and I've lost only one match this year. I want to keep on winning.”

Gaultier will face either Karim Abdel Gawad or Fares Dessouky in the final – and he will lose his World No.1 ranking to Gawad if the 25-year-old beats Dessouky in his semi-final clash.

34-year-old Gaultier is currently the oldest World No.1 of all time and says that he is still in love with the game regardless of whether he retains top spot.

“I've been World No.1 before, for me it's just a pleasure to be there. I'm not over the moon like the first time I became World No.1,” he said.

“If you win, you deserve to be there, and if you lose then you deserve to go down in the rankings, that's how it works.

“Me and Nick [Matthew] practiced together before the event and we were talking about it. I don't really mind, I'm just playing and enjoying the moment.

“All I care about is having a good time and having fun on the court, that is why I keep playing. The day I feel irritated or frustrated that I have to go back to training or if I don't take pleasure on the court then I will stop.

“I'm still hungry, I still want to win more titles and I still have something left in the tank to do good things before I put the racket into my wardrobe.”

[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 (51m)

Gawad to Become New World No.1 After Beating Dessouky

Karim Abdel Gawad (left) v Fares Dessouky (right)

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad will overtake Gregory Gaultier to become the new World No.1 in next month’s World Rankings after he beat fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky to reach the final of the El Gouna International.

Gawad, who started the season ranked at World No.8, has been in sensational form over the past eight months, lifting the World Championship title, Qatar Classic title and Tournament of Champions title to surge up the rankings.

He required just a quarter-final finish at last month’s British Open to take top spot, ultimately losing to compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in the round before, but held his nerve on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea to recover from a game down against World No.9 Dessouky, beating the 22-year-old 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 to become the fifth Egyptian to top the World Rankings.

“Today is extra special for me, reaching the finals here in El Gouna in front of this amazing crowd is a great pleasure for me,” said Gawad.

“It makes me very happy. I didn't want to think about it [the battle for World No.1] because I've been thinking about it a bit in the last two tournaments and it affected my way of playing so much.

“Today I just wanted to go on court, do my best and reach the finals here in El Gouna. Winning today is a great feeling.

“I don't want to think too much about it [being World No.1] because I still have one more match and this is more important for me. Tomorrow is another day, I have to keep my focus and I have to concentrate as much as I can.”

Dessouky started the better of the two to take the opener, but Gawad responded superbly in the second, changing the pace and lobbing well to draw level, before the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ overturned three game balls in the third to take the lead.

Gawad continued to use the lob to move Dessouky away from the ’T’ in the fourth and the younger Egyptian – who fell at the same stage last year – had no answer as Gawad closed the game out to earn his place in the history books once more – and he will now take on Gaultier in the final.

[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-8 (61m)

Reigning Champ El Sherbini Reaches Second Straight Women’s Worlds Final

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini took one step closer to retaining her PSA Women’s World Championship crown after she defeated World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar to reach her third final in the biggest tournament on the Women’s Tour.

The 21-year-old, who beat England’s Laura Massaro in the final 12 months ago, was in cruise control in the opening two games as she refused to let World No.5 Gohar settle, nullifying the 19-year-old’s hard-hitting brand of squash to go 2-0 up.

El Sherbini looked to have got the upper hand once again in the third game after building up five match balls, but a tenacious Gohar battled back brilliantly, overturning all of them, and then profiting of an error from El Sherbini on her own game ball to halve the deficit.

But El Sherbini got herself back in front in the fourth to complete the win by an 11-4, 11-4, 13-15, 11-9 scoreline to set up an all-Egyptian final clash with Raneem El Welily.

“It was a very tough match, Nouran is very young and very tough,” said El Sherbini.

“She’s already achieved a lot in this game and she is doing very well. I'm glad I finished it in the end and it was really hard and close in the end. In every tournament, every round gets harder and harder and more challenging.

“I have to challenge myself before I try to challenge my opponent. I tried to be prepared for every match and every tournament and I'm glad that everything went well in the end. It would mean everything to become World Champion here playing in front of an amazing crowd.

“They always come to support us and watch us and I'm really glad that we're having the World Championship in El Gouna. It's really amazing I've reached the final and I'm going to give it everything I have to win the title here.”

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [4] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-4, 13-15, 11-9 (57m)

El Welily Halts Serme to Set Up All-Egyptian Final Clash

Raneem El Welily

Egyptian shot-making sensation Raneem El Welily will appear in a second PSA Women’s World Championship final after she defeated World No.3 Camille Serme – setting up a final meeting with compatriot and defending champion Nour El Sherbini.

2014 runner-up El Welily and Serme – meeting for the 12th time on the PSA World Tour – played out a high-quality 47-minute encounter, with El Welily finding her range in no time at all as she hit winners for fun to take the opener.

The momentum was flipped on its head by a dominant Serme, with El Welily powerless to stop the powerful Frenchwoman from dropping just two points en route to levelling the scores.

The third game saw both competitors find all four corners regularly, with a series of thrilling exchanges exciting the crowd at Egypt’s New Marina. The lead changed hands multiple time until El Welily overturned a game ball for Serme before eventually prevailing on the tie-break to seize the upper hand.

And that victory proved to be crucial as the 28-year-old from Alexandria powered through to an 11-5 triumph in the fourth, ensuring that she will clash with El Sherbini in the showpiece finale for the biggest prize on the Women’s Tour.

“I felt behind at so many points and she was playing so well, so I didn't play my best, she wasn't giving me the chance to,” said El Welily.

“I couldn't go for the shots that I would normally go for, so all credit to her for playing some fantastic squash tonight. We're great friends off court and I hate to be the one taking her out, but this is squash, it's what we do every day.

“Off court, we're something, but on court we're fighting until the last point.

“I think that she wasn't really sharp in the first game, I think I stole it. In the second game she was there, I didn't give up until the very last really, but she was very strong and didn't give me the chance to get back.

“Luckily in the third I managed to find one or two solutions and scraped through. It was absolutely tough today. Egypt cannot lose and that is something that is making me very happy and very satisfied. It doesn't matter who wins tomorrow at this point in my head.

“I'm just happy to be in the final again, it's an achievement for me and may the better player win tomorrow.”

El Welily squandered four championship balls the last time she appeared in the World Championship final against Malaysia’s eight-time winner Nicol David in Cairo, but she says that she has learned from that disappointment and it won’t be in her thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s final.

“[Losing the last World Championship] has been out of my mind for so long,” she said.

“It really doesn't bother me anymore. I'm past it, I'm over it and I've learnt so much from it. I've become a much better player since then.

“I really appreciate that moment and if it happens again, although I really wish it doesn't, I'm not going to regret anything.”

[3] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [2] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 2-11, 12-10, 11-5 (47m)

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