World No.9 Salma Hany is into the semi-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open after she took out the tournament’s top seed, and fellow Egyptian, Nouran Gohar, in a deciding game at Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco.
Gohar came into the PSA World Tour Gold level tournament off the back of winning the CIB Egyptian Open in front of the Pyramids and she also held a 100% record over Hany, having won all seven of their previous encounters on Tour.
It was the World No.2 that was able to close out the first game 11-9, after finding herself 9-8 down, but from there, it was all Hany. The tournament’s No.6 seed won six straight points at the end of the second game to come from 5-6 down to win it 11-6 and take the match into a decider.
Hany then held a lead throughout the entirety of the final game, but ‘the Terminator’ brought it back to 9-9. However, the World No.9 was able to win the last two points of the contest to book her place in the semi-finals.
“I’m pretty happy. When I stepped on court today all I was thinking is that I don’t want to go home too soon from this tournament,” Hany said.
“I was really enjoying my time on court and every time my head went to the score and I was getting close, I just told myself to enjoy every rally and not rush the win. Nouran is an unbelievable player, we go way back since we were nine-years-old. She’s younger than me, but I learned a lot from her. She is such a fighter and to share the court with her today was a pleasure. I’m glad I came out the winner.
“I just kept my head in the rally itself and forgot about the score, I wanted to spend as much time as I could on court. I wanted to win, but I also wanted to enjoy playing here and I think that made the difference. I wasn’t rushing winners, when Nouran is down she gets scary and it’s like taking a piece of meat to a lion. You don’t want to look at her, you just want to focus on your game.”
The Egyptian will now face New Zealand’s World No.8 Joelle King in the semi-finals, after the Kiwi got the better of Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy in straight games to make it into the last four of a tournament for the third time in 2021.
“It was one of those matches where I wasn’t really listening to what the score was,” King said after the match.
“I have been up in the last few matches I have been up against her and she’s come back and beaten me, so there’s just no letting up with someone like her. She is so hungry, she’s an amazing player and the future of our sport. I just didn’t let up at all and I felt really good.”
In the men’s draw, World No.9 Mostafa Asal caused the upset of the day, as he defeated former World Champion Tarek Momen in straight games, to book his place in the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold level tournament.
It was the pair’s first meeting since their fractious battle at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in June. Asal showed his qualities throughout, to secure an 11-8, 11-6 victory to book his place in the last four.
“It is a really difficult feeling to play again so much intense squash after the World Tour Finals. I was down at the British Open and CIB Egyptian Open, some difficult times. So to be able to compete in an amazing city and in front of an amazing crowd. It’s packed today!” Asal said.
“All the squash fans know what happened after the match at the World Tour Finals. Tarek wrote on social media some bad stuff with me, but I have all the respect to Tarek. I have been watching him since I was a kid. we were at the same club so I grew up watching him play, so I said sorry to him for anything and I wanted to play a great match with him.”
Asal will face World No.1 Ali Farag in the last four, after his fellow Egyptian got the better of Welshman Joel Makin in a pulsating contest, in which both players gave it absolutely everything for 35 minutes.
“I always love getting on court with someone who gives maximum effort. He is the prime example of 110% effort. The more respectable thing was that that point got me to 7-7. He was doing a lot of work and he then won the next two points. Any other player would probably have folded at that point and I thought I had the confidence, but it is a testament to his work ethic. He got a standing ovation from the crowd and rightly so!” Farag said.
The semi-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open takes place tomorrow with play beginning at 18:45 (GMT-7), with glass court action from Embarcadero Plaza in San Francisco live on SquashTV.
Results – Quarter-Finals: Men’s Oracle NetSuite Open 2021
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-1: 16-14, 10-12, 11-5 (57m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (NZL) 2-1: 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (39m)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-0: 11-8, 11-6 (32m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Joel Makin (WAL) 2-0: 11-9, 12-10 (35m)
Draw – Men’s Semi-Finals: Oracle NetSuite Open – To be played September 26th
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Results – Quarter-Finals: Women’s Oracle NetSuite Open 2021
 Salma Hany (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 (35m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 2-0: 11-5, 11-5 (25m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 2-0: 12-10, 11-6 (21m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt  Tesni Evans (WAL) 2-0: 11-3, 11-9 (18m)
Draw – Women’s Semi-Finals: Oracle NetSuite Open – To be played September 26th
 Salma Hany (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)