The semi-finals of the CIB Egyptian Open take place today, with action beginning at 18:00 (GMT+2) at the Great Pyramid of Giza as the all-Egyptian line-up aim to book their place in the finals of the first PSA Platinum event since the PSA World Tour restarted.
There is one unseeded player through to the semi-finals, after Mostafa Asal got the better of New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the last eight. He will do battle with the tournament’s top seed, Ali Farag, for a place in the final. The second men’s match will see World Champion Tarek Momen take on last week’s CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner Marwan ElShorbagy.
World No.1 Nouran Gohar will take on the women’s winner of last week’s season-ending Finals, Hania El Hammamy, before World No.4 Nour El Tayeb faces four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini for a place in the final.
You can catch all the action live from the Great Pyramid of Giza on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only), and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (Indian sub-continent only).
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Here’s the Order of Play
(All times are local – GMT+2)
Nouran Gohar v Hania El Hammamy
The first match of the evening will see World No.1 Nouran Gohar take on CIB PSA World Tour Finals winner Hania El Hammamy for a place in the final of the CIB Egyptian Open in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Due to the latter’s age, the pair have only met twice on the PSA World Tour before, with Gohar having won both. She has only dropped a single game to ‘the Gazelle’, and won their last clash convincingly, taking a 3-0 victory in the third round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January.
‘The Terminator’, who is enjoying her fourth month as the women’s World No.1 following the retirement of Raneem El Welily, has come through the week relatively unscathed to this point. She beat fellow Egyptian Zeina Mickawy 3-1 in the second round, before downing Rowan Elaraby and Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis in straight games to reach the semis.
El Hammamy, on the other hand, had to fight through an absolute epic against Camille Serme. Unsurprisingly, their quarter-final match lasted an hour and a half and went to five games! Prior to her battle with the Frenchwoman, the World No.6 got the better of compatriot Mariam Metwally and Belgium’s Tinne Gilis.
The pair currently sit in 4th and 5th on the SquashLevels Power Ratings after their performances so far this week, with Gohar holding the slight advantage with a higher level. She has a win likelihood of 56%, but we know that EL Hammamy can beat all of the big guns on her day, showing that at the CIB Black Ball Women’s Squash Open earlier this year.
Can ‘the Terminator’ advance to a first final as the new World No.1? Or will El Hammamy continue her fine form, as she aims for a third title in four events?
Ali Farag v Mostafa Asal
The first men’s semi-final sees the top seed, Ali Farag, take on Mostafa Asal, with the 19-year-old appearing in the last four of a major tournament for the first time in his fledgling career.
The pair have met three times before on the PSA World Tour, with the former World No.1 and World Champion having a 100% record over his compatriot. Their last clash came at the 2019 Allam British Open, where Asal took a game off Farag, the only one he has managed to win in their three clashes.
As the only unseeded player in the semi-finals, Asal is the only player left to have already played four matches in Giza this week. He downed Bernat Jaume in the first round, before taking a surprise 3-0 victory over German No.1 Simon Rösner. He then got the better of former World No.1 James Willstrop before an epic encounter with World No.5 Paul Coll. The ‘Raging Bull’ come out the victor after a 103 minute battle, which saw one of the biggest celebrations in the sport’s history.
Meanwhile, Farag has spent over an hour less on court, thanks to a pair of straight game victories en route to the last four. After a first round bye, he then got the better of Omar Mosaad, before a tricky five-game battle with Swiss No.1 Nicolas Mueller. He downed former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the quarter-finals to reach this stage.
According to the SquashLevels data, this is the most one-sided match of the evening, with Farag having a win likelihood of 84%. His level is 18,000 higher than his compatriot, but Asal has risen up the Power Ratings this week and sees in 13th, up six spots from his pre-tournament position.
Can the ‘Raging Bull’ cause another huge upset on this incredible run? Or will Farag bring that run to an end and book his place in a first final since the restart?
Nour El Tayeb v Nour El Sherbini
From Farag to his better half, as Nour El Tayeb takes on Nour El Sherbini in the second women’s semi-final, with the pair meeting for the second time in 14 days.
They faced off in the semi-finals of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in Cairo earlier this month, with El Tayeb taking the victory. However, that was her first win over the four-time World Champion in their last six meetings, which includes the 2018-19 PSA World Championships final in Chicago. The ‘Warrior Princess’ holds the 13-6 advantage over her compatriot overall.
Both players have sailed through to the last four, with El Tayeb overcoming France’s Melissa Alves, and compatriots Nadine Shahin and Salma Hany comfortably. She is yet to drop a game and has spent just 86 minutes on court through those three matches.
El Sherbini has spent just 83 minutes on court, having also won all of her matches 3-0. She has gotten the better of Australian No.1 Donna Lobban, Canada’s Danielle Letourneau and World No.11 Joshna Chinappa to make it to the last four.
The pair are currently the top two on the SquashLevels Power Ratings after their performances so far this week, with El Sherbini at the summit. The four-time World Champion has the higher win likelihood percentage at 55%.
Can El Sherbini continue her prolonged dominance over her Egyptian rival? Or can El Tayeb reach a third successive final after doing so in Manchester and Cairo?
Tarek Momen v Marwan ElShorbagy
The final match of the evening will pit World No.4 Tarek Momen against World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy, for the last place in the finals of the CIB Egyptian Open.
This will be the 9th meeting between the two Egyptians on the PSA World Tour, with the current World Champion holding a healthy 7-1 advantage over ’the Jackal’, but this will be their first ever clash at this late stage of a tournament.
ElShorbagy has averaged 50 minutes per match during the tournament so far, dropping just two games en route to the semis. He downed Frenchman Victor Crouin in the second round, before beating England’s Nathan Lake in straight games. He overcame compatriot Mazen Hesham in the last eight yesterday evening.
Momen faced a much tougher test in his quarter-final clash, as he had to battle through stomach pains during his match with Peru’s Diego Elias, which he eventually won in five games after an hour and a half. ‘The Viper’ downed compatriot Fares Dessouky and Mexico’s Cesar Salazar in the earlier rounds of the PSA Platinum event.
This is the closest match to call according to SquashLevels, who have the pair as the 3rd and 4th rated players on their Power Ratings. It is the CIB PSA World Tour Finals champion that holds the slight advantage on the Power Ratings, with a 51% win likelihood, but this one could go either way.
Can ElShorbagy make it through to a second straight final? Or can Momen overcome yesterday’s issues to reach another major final?