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Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad in action against Simon Rosner

Tournament of Champions - Semi-Finals: As It Happens

The semi-finals of the men's and women's J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions take place today.

New Zealand’s Joelle King is the only non-Egyptian player in the semi-finals and she will take on World No.1 Raneem El Welily in a repeat of the 2018 Hong Kong Open final, which the Kiwi won.

Meanwhile in the men's tournament, it is an all-Egyptian battle between Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad and Tarek Momen and Ali Farag with a place in the final up for grabs.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player or follow our live scoring page.

We'll also have reports and reaction from all of today's matches right here.

Schedule (all times local UTC-5)

El Welily Downs King to Reach Final

Raneem El Welily celebrates beating Joelle King

World No.1 Raneem El Welily will appear in her second J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions final after the Egyptian overcame New Zealand’s Joelle King in highly-entertaining, five-game battle under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.

El Welily, the 2015 ToC winner, had won just one of her last four matches against the World No.4 and had suffered three straight defeats, including in November’s Hong Kong Open final.

King started the better of the two to take the opening game 11-9, but it was all El Welily in the second as the Egyptian put in an immaculate display to limit King to just four points as she levelled the scores.

The momentum shifted again in the third as King marched into an 8-3 lead and looked as if she was destined to restore her lead.


But she couldn’t hold onto the advantage as El Welily reeled the Kiwi back in, with spectators at Grand Central being treated to some high-quality exchanges as the world’s top female player showed some incredible shots from her attacking arsenal.

King fought back from two game balls down to force a tie-break, where El Welily held her nerve to go a game up.


And she held off King again in the fourth to complete an 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 victory which sees her reach an eighth successive PSA Tour final.

The win also ensures that there will be an Egyptian winner in both the men’s and women’s events, with all other semi-final spots taken up by El Welily’s compatriots.

“The entire match was very tough, mentally and physically, it was brutal,” said El Welily.

“I remember being down [in game three], it’s not something you forget. I was being positive at the time and told myself to keep pushing because it didn’t matter what happened in this game, I just had to do my best and give it 100 per cent.

“Being positive for me was the key today, I kept pushing and she has been playing really well, so I’m really happy to come out as the winner today. It doesn’t help that she has won the last few times.

“At the end I was leading and I don’t know why I was such a coward at the time, but I’m glad I wasn’t a coward at the last point, at least, and I went for the shot.”

El Welily will play either World No.2 Nour El Sherbini or World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the semi-finals, while husband Tarek Momen is also in acton against Ali Farag in the men’s semis.

“I hope Nour and Nour kill each other on court tonight, but I’m not going to watch it, I’m going to rest until Tarek’s match,” El Welily continued.

“It’s going to be a tough match, him [Ali] have played a lot this year and the year before, so I hope it’s going to be a good match.”


Result
[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [4] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (50m)

El Sherbini to Face El Welily in Women’s Final

Nour El Sherbini (left) v Nour El Tayeb (right)

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini will face World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the title decider after she came through in four games to reach her third ToC final.

El Sherbini and El Tayeb met in the final of this tournament 12 months ago, and it was El Sherbini who took the honours on that occasion too.

Both players played some magnificent squash during their 46-minute encounter, with El Tayeb taking the early initiative to hold four game balls in the opener.

However, the 25-year-old collided with the forehand wall after clipping El Sherbini’s leg while hurtling towards the front of the court to chase down a drop. That halted El Tayeb’s momentum as her opponent rattled off a number of points to snatch the game.

El Tayeb did manage to convert a lead in the second to bring the match back to all square, and maintained a small lead in the third until she was penalised for a double bounce on one of her retrievals.

A frustrated El Tayeb pleaded her innocence and, while El Sherbini agreed to play a let rather than taking the point, that incident rattled El Tayeb as she lost five of the next seven points to hand El Sherbini a 2-1 lead.


There was no let up from the 23-year-old as she dropped just four points in the fourth, completing a 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 victory in 46 minutes.

El Sherbini and El Welily will now go head-to-head for the 20th time on the PSA Tour, with El Welily winning 10 of them. It will be the 12th time that they will have contested a final, with El Welily taking the title on six occasions.

“It means a lot [to reach the final], I wasn’t really happy with my squash over the last few months, but I’m happy that I went back home, regrouped and trained hard,” El Sherbini said afterwards.

“I’m happy I won today, the match was tough from the first game and Nour was playing well. I had to work hard to win, but for me it’s a really good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“I didn’t see it [the double bounce], the ref said it was good, so I stopped. In the video [replay] it was good, so I’m not going to take the point when it’s good. We were playing a very clean and fair match, we had only one review the whole match, and it shows how much we respect each other.

“[Raneem] has taken the No.1 spot, but it’s just another match. I need to rest and focus for tomorrow, and I’m sure it’s going to be even tougher than today and more fair. We’re very good friends and it’s going to be a good match, hopefully.”


Result
[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-1: 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 (46m)

ElShorbagy comes from behind to beat Gawad

Mohamed ElShorbagy beat Karim Abdel Gawad in four to reach the final

Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad faced off for a place in the final of the Tournament of Champions, with the Beast securing the win over his compatriot, 3-1.

The pair have won three of the last four TOC crowns between them, and have both also won two titles this season, so it was always set up to be a good battle.

This victory also guarantees that Mohamed Elshorbagy will remain on top of the pile when the rankings come out at the start of February.

The first game was going the way of the World No.1 for the majority, until the former top seed found his form.

ElShorbagy had a 7-4 lead in the first, but Gawad rolled off seven straight points to take the game, and the early lead.

The World No.1 again raced out to lead in the second game. This time he was able to keep the momentum to take the second 11-7 and tie the match at 1-1.

The Beast carried on that form into the third game, where he would take a 2-1 lead. His pace and power were just too much for his compatriot in the third.

Gawad also seemed to suffer a slight shoulder injury during that third game, before also accidentally taking one on the nose from ElShorbagy’s hand as he followed through after a shot.

It would be the reigning World Champion that made it through to the final, as he searches for his third Tournament of Champions title.


He took the fourth game 11-6 to win the match and will go on to face another Egyptian, in World No.2 Ali Farag, in the final.

“I trained the whole summer to be in these kind of situation,” Elshorbagy explained.

“If I didn’t back it up today physically, if I was going to lose today then it would have been because he was better than me, not because I was physically tired.

“Being physically tired is not acceptable for me. It is just wrong for me when an athlete gets tired during a tournament because it means that they haven’t trained hard enough.

“It was a challenge, obviously, after Diego’s match. It was a huge battle but I had to come back here and show a strong body language. I wanted to back it up mentally. I am really glad I pulled through.

“He played amazing in Egypt to beat me in three and I had to watch this match and analyse it with my team and see what went wrong.

“I felt I couldn’t cope with his pace. Maybe when I was young I used to play faster than him but I think my body is telling me that I cannot play as fast as before and I have to use my brain a little bit.

“I think I played with my brain, I didn’t play emotionally, and I think I got my tactics right from the first point.

“Even when I had that lead in the first game and I lost it, I didn’t lose any confidence because I felt I was playing well and I felt like I could get back and make it hard again. I am just really pleased to be back in the final again.”

Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [8] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (56m)

Farag flies into final of TOC

Ali Farag booked his place in his first TOC final

Ali Farag booked his place in the final with a comfortable victory over Tarek Momen in three games, avenging his semi-final defeat to the same opponent last year.

Both men were looking to add to their two titles they had already won this season, with Momen also looking to improve on his runner-up spot from last year’s Tournament of Champions.

The first game between the Egyptian pair was a tight-knit affair, with neither player able to break free. It was Farag that snuck victory in that first game in the end, taking it 11-9 after quarter of an hour.

The World No.2 carried that form into the second game, doubling his lead with an 11-8 victory. Mr Fantastic then took a commanding lead in the third as he looked to close out the game in quick succession.

He went on to take the final game 11-3, and secure his place in the final at Grand Central.


Farag’s victory means it will be the first all-Egyptian men’s final at the Tournament of Champions. The World No.2 will face World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy tomorrow night.

“I think that today was the best match that I played all tournament,” Farag admitted.

“All opponents are tough so I had to be on it from the very first round anyways, but I am definitely happy with the way it is progressing.

“I have some special people watching me today. So many great people that I want to showcase our great sport in the best way possible so I am very happy with the way I played today.

“It is not hard to say that it is tough to play against Mohamed. He has proven that he is the toughest player to face to play against both mentally and physically.

“He has it all really. It is always exciting when you play against him. You know it is going to be a big one. We played twice so far this season with the score at 1-1.”

Result:
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [4] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 9-11, 11-8, 11-3 (42m)

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