World No.2 Nouran Gohar got her title challenge under way at the CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Canada’s Hollie Naughton as round two of the PSA World Tour Platinum tournament drew to a close in Cairo.
It was their first meeting on the PSA World Tour and Gohar wasted no time in establishing her hard-hitting style of play on the encounter, storming to an 11-7 victory in the opening game.
World No.29 Naughton grew into the match in the second, with Gohar only just doubling her lead by a two-point cushion, but she dominated the third against a war-weary looking Gohar, who gave up on the game mid-way through as the Canadian took it 11-6.
However, Naughton wasn’t quite able to hit her targets in the early part of the fourth as Gohar got back on top to take a 7-0 lead.
That lead proved crucial as the Egyptian really struggled with her movement in the latter stages following a collision at 6-0, and she walked gingerly off court after finally dispatching her opponent 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 in 45 minutes.
“It’s completely different this year, we’re playing a World Series [Platinum] and it’s straight after another World Series [Platinum] in Chicago, so to deal with it and recover is a little bit tough,” said Gohar.
“I’m really glad that I’ve been playing over three years here in New Cairo and seeing how Black Ball is improving every year is super impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a club involving in an exponential way.
“It’s really good for the game to have such clubs supporting squash.”
Gohar will take on fellow Egyptian Nada Abbas in round three and will look to avoid the shock defeat she suffered to the then-16-year-old at the 2017 Allam British Open, where Gohar had reached the final a year before.
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Hollie Naughton (CAN) 3-1: 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (45m)