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Hania El Hammamy with the CIB Black Ball Squash Open trophy

#TBT - Reliving Hania El Hammamy's Epic Black Ball Open Victory

With the CIB Black Ball Open beginning on Monday morning in Cairo, we are taking a look back at the last time we visited the Black Ball Sporting Club, when Hania El Hammamy became a major winner at just 19 years of age.

It was one of the great victories in the sport’s recent history, with the young Egyptian defeating four higher-seeded players, including four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini, en route to winning her first major trophy.

Here is a look back at how she got the job done, and announced herself on the world stage!

Round 2: vs. Mayar Hany

El Hammamy (left) in action against Mayar Hany

After receiving a bye through to the second round in Cairo, 19-year-old El Hammamy started her CIB Black Ball Open campaign against fellow Egyptian Mayar Hany.

The pair had only met on the PSA World Tour once before this encounter in March, with El Hammamy having defeated Hany in the Qualifying Finals of the Cleveland Classic three years earlier.

Their second-round match-up at the Black Ball Sporting Club had the same result, as the No.9 seed eased her way into the tournament with a comfortable 3-0 victory, booking her place in the last 16.

[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt Mayar Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 (25m)

Elsewhere in the second round, Egypt’s Nada Abbas caused an upset by beating World No.12 Joshna Chinappa in four games, while Frenchwoman Coline Aumard got the better of World No.13 Salma Hany in a deciding game to advance to the last 16.

The biggest shock of the round came through Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, who took the biggest win of her career as she got the better of New Zealand’s No.1 Joelle King, fighting back from two games down to defeat in the Kiwi in a fifth.

Round 3: vs. Camille Serme

El Hammamy (left) and Serme in action in Cairo

The third round pitted El Hammamy against French No.1 Camille Serme for the fourth time in six months, as another chapter was added to the newest rivalry in squash.

The duo had already faced each other at the Open de France – Nantes 2019 presented by Tailor Capital, CIB PSA Women’s World Championship 2019-2020 and the Windy City Open 2020 presented by the Walter Family.

It was that clash at the World Championships which really saw the rivalry begin as the Egyptian fought her way back from two games down to win 3-2 in their quarter-final clash, as she booked her spot in the last four of a major tournament for the first time in her career.

Their third round meeting at the Black Ball Sporting Club in March was more emphatic for the youngster, who needed only three games to take the victory, but once again, it was a high-quality affair.

After going a game behind, El Hammamy was able to summon her best to win the next three games, including two tie-breaks that finished 13-11, to secure a spot in the quarter-finals, knocking the World No.3 out in the process.

[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [3] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-1: 9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 13-11 (73m)

The big news from the third round was that, due to injury, Nouran Gohar had to withdraw from her match, meaning Nada Abbas went straight through to the last eight. Frenchwoman Coline Aumard also reached the quarters of a major for the first time in her career.

Quarter-Finals: vs. Amanda Sobhy

El Hammamy (right) celebrates during her match with Amanda Sobhy

World No.10 El Hammamy took on World No.8 Amanda Sobhy in the last eight, with a place in the semi-finals of the PSA Platinum level Black Ball Open up for grabs.

The pair were facing off for the third time on the PSA World Tour, and El Hammamy was looking for her first victory against the leading American on tour, having lost both of their previous matches, although one of those came at the Qatar Classic in 2015, when El Hammamy was only 15 years of age.

After trading the first two games 11-6, the Egyptian was able to find another gear. In a very fast-paced encounter, which lasted just 40 minutes. She won the third and fourth games to secure a 3-1 victory, booking her spot in the last four in Cairo.

[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [8] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 (40m)

Both Nour El Sherbini and Sarah-Jane Perry booked their places in the semi-finals with ease after winning in straight games, but the big battle of the evening saw Nour El Tayeb knock out World No.1 Raneem El Welily, taking the last match of the evening in the final game.

Semi-Finals: vs. Sarah-Jane Perry

El Hammamy (left) and Perry on court in Cairo

El Hammamy’s route to the final saw her then do battle with English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry in the semi-finals, in what would become a cracking five-game battle.

It was only the second time that the duo had met on the tour, and once again, El Hammamy was still without a win against her opponent prior to this clash, having lost their only previous meeting, in the first round of the 2018 Allam British Open.

Their semi-final match-up in Cauro went back-and-forth, with the 19-year-old twice taking the lead, before the Englishwoman fought back to level the match, eventually sending it into a deciding game. However, El Hammamy was able to win the fifth 11-6 to advance to a first major final.

[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-2: 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 (69m)

The other semi-final saw Nour El Sherbini overcome Nour El Tayeb in four games to set up a clash with El Hammamy in the final, in what would be the last match on the PSA World Tour for six months.

Final: vs Nour El Sherbini

El Hammamy (fore) and El Sherbini in action

The final pitted El Hammamy against four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini, as the now-World No.1 aimed to win at the Black Ball Sporting Club for the first time in her illustrious career.

Once again, El Hammamy was aiming to defeat her opponent for the first time since turning professional, having lost all three previous encounters on the PSA World Tour, including in the semi-finals of the CIB PSA Women’s World Championship in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza in October 2019.

However, it was the 19-year-old that started the stronger of the two, and took the first game, before being pegged back by El Sherbini. The same pattern followed through the third and fourth games, with the four-time World Champ having to pull herself back into the contest.

The match went into a decider, and like it was supposed to, it finished with a tie-break to end the tournament. It was El Hammamy who came through to take it 13-11, putting her name in lights as the newest major champion on Tour.

[9] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [4] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11 (71m)

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