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Nour El Sherbini is the Windy City Open champion for 2020

Windy City Open Final: El Sherbini Claims Title

Four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini claimed the 2020 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family title after defeating World No.1, and three-time champion, Raneem El Welily in the final at the University Club of Chicago.

This was the 24th meeting between the last two women to hold the World No.1 spot, with El Welily having won 12 of their previous 23 clashes. Their last 13 meetings had all come in finals, with El Sherbini having won seven of those, including at the 2016 and 2018-19 World Championships.

The match started with the World No.1, who had previously won the Windy City Open in three successive years from 2015-2017, trying to make El Sherbini move around the court as much as possible, with the reigning World Champion suffering through knee pain and illness throughout the week.

However, El Sherbini was able to settle well, and she went on to take the first game 11-8 after some lengthy rallies in the latter part. It would the errors from the ‘Warrior Princess’ the would see El Welily take the second game to restore parity in the final.

The World No.4, who has only featured in three events so far this season due to the aforementioned knee injury, came out strongly in the third, and although El Welily pulled it back to level at 7-7, it was El Sherbini that took it 11-8, thanks to some quality shots in the front two corners.

The World No.1 was not done yet, though, as she came back to win the fourth game comfortably, before taking a lead at the start of the fifth. The pair have gone to five games twice in a final before, with El Welily taking the crown at both the DPD Open and the CIB Black Ball Squash Open in 2019.

However, it would be the ‘Warrior Princess’ who added the Windy City Open crown to her ever-growing list of major titles, winning out 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 in just under an hour, as she helps her charge for the World No.1 spot once more.

“Finally I got to win this tournament! Every year I try very hard and I think Raneem is the favourite here. She has won it three times before and she plays her best here, but I am glad it was my turn this time!” El Sherbini admitted.

“This is one of the few tournaments I had not won so it was very important for me to win this title. The head-to-head [with El Welily] says a lot about how we have played a lot against each other, and also in a lot of finals. It is always tough and fair against Raneem. We are very good friends and I don’t think I would have got through this week without her help. She has been getting me through this week, and I think we are going to have dinner after. We are such good friends!”

“I am really grateful that the tournament is over because I have been suffering the whole week [with illness], and it was very hard for me physically and mentally to prepare fore every match and try to be fit and ready.

“I wasn’t feeling veery well and I was dealing with a lot, but I am really glad that I made it to the last day and that I kept digging in until the last point in the match. I didn’t want it to go to five, whether I was winning or losing, I just wanted it to finish quickly but I am glad I am on the winning side at the end.”

[2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9 (59m)

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