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Nour El Sherbini (left) and Ali Farag (right) with the CIB Egyptian Open trophies

#TBT - The Story of the 2020 CIB Egyptian Open

The 2021 CIB Egyptian Open begins tomorrow, with 96 players descending on the Pyramids in the search for glory at the Platinum level tournament.

Last year’s event saw some big shocks, as seeded players fell by the wayside early on, before some major clashes took place on the glass court in front of the Pyramids.

Here, we take a look back at the story of the 2020 CIB Egyptian Open, which saw two familiar faces taking the titles at the end of the week’s play.

Gilis Takes Down US No.1 Sobhy

The second round threw up some big contests, with Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis taking on US No.1 Amanda Sobhy for a place in the last 16 of the CIB Egyptian Open.

The match took place on the traditional side courts at the New Giza Sporting Club, with the American going into the clash with a 100% record over her opponent.

It looked like it would go her way after the first game, but Gilis fought back, and had to do so again after Sobhy also took the third game.

After taking the fourth game 11-8, Gilis took the match into a decider, eventually winning the fifth on a tie-break, 12-10, to claim her first victory over Sobhy, and book her place in the third round of the event. She would go on to reach the quarter-finals.

Gaultier Reaches First Major Quarter-Final Since Comeback

January 2020. Gregory Gaultier makes his long-awaited comeback from a knee injury, after 14 months away from the PSA World Tour.

Nine months later, the ‘French General’ made it through to the quarter-finals of the CIB Egyptian Open, making the last eight of a major tournament for the first time since his comeback.

Gregory Gautier celebrates after his victory over Miguel Rodriguez

The Frenchman received a bye through to the second round, thanks to his peg ranking of 12, before then getting the better of Spain’s Borja Golan, winning in four in 61 minutes.

He then come up against Colombian Miguel Rodriguez, the No.8 seed for the tournament, and in just over an hour, he took the victory, winning once again in four, to advance to the quarter-finals of a major for the first time since the FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships in 2018.

In the last eight, Gaultier took on World No.2 Ali Farag, and although it was a step too far for the former World No.1, he showed that he could battle with the best once again.

El Hammamy and Serme Go The Distance Again

Was it any surprise that a match between Hania El Hammamy and Camille Serme would go the distance? It was always happening!

The pair’s contest in front of the Pyramids in 2020 was no difference, and twelve months on from the Egyptian’s surprise win in the quarter-finals of the PSA Women’s World Championships at the same venue, the same result came to fruition.

Unsurprisingly, the Egyptian Open quarter-final between the two went al the way, with this one lasting more than 90 minutes, and it as one of the matches of the season.

It was the Frenchwoman that took the first game, but El Hammamy battled back to take the second, on a lengthy 17-15 tie-break, before then also moving into the lead of the clash after the third.

Serme fought back to take the fourth game, but it would be El Hammamy that eventually took the win, after 91 minutes of high-quality action, booking her place in the semis at the Pyramids for the second year in a row.

Asal Takes Down Coll In 103-Minute Epic

As if 91 minutes between Hania El Hammamy and Camille Serme was not enough, on straight after that were Mostafa Asal and Paul Coll, whose quarter-final battle lasted more than 100 minutes!

Under the night sky at the Pyramids, the pair went head-to-head for the first time on the Tour, with Coll being the clear favourite. However, it would not go his way 103 minutes later.

The Kiwi twice held the lead in the contest, but Asal would not be beaten, with the 19-year-old showing his fighting spirit throughout the contest.

He sent the match into a decider and then proceeded to save match balls in the fifth, before securing the victory on a tie-break. Come for the match, stay for the celebration!

Farag & El Sherbini Victorious In Front Of The Pyramids

It came down to the usual contenders for the finals at the Pyramids, as Ali Farag took on Tarek Momen in a repeat of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships final, while the top two in the World Rankings, in Nouran Gohar and Nour El Sherbini, face off in the women’s final.

Both matches were done in three, with El Sherbini continuing her dominant form in front of the Pyramids, following on from her victory at the spectacular venue at the Women’s World Championship twelve months earlier.

She got the better of then World No.1 Nouran Gohar in the final, to then take top spot at the summit of the World Rankings once again come November 1st.

The men’s final saw Ali Farag take on Tarek Momen, as the two most recent World Champions went head-to-head for the Platinum level title.

Farag took the victory in three games, winning in just under 50 minutes, as he also secured the top spot in the World Rankings, thanks to his victory in front of the Pyramids.

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