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Nour El Sherbini

CIB Squash Open Black Ball: Semi-Finals - Player Reaction

It's semi-finals day at the CIB Squash Open Black Ball as the battle reaches near boiling point for a place in the final of the PSA World Tour Gold event.

You can stay up to date with all the latest reports and reaction from the players here.

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and surprise package Georgina Kennedy go head-to-head in the first semi-final of the night.

The Englishwoman has produced some stunning results so far this week but will have to be at her best to test herself against reigning World Champion El Sherbini.

The second semi-final will see an all-Egyptian affair between World No.2 Nouran Gohar and World No.4 Hania El Hammamy. The two have had some fierce battles in recent times and no doubt tonight's clash will rise to the occassion.

You can watch every moment LIVE on SQUASHTV (worldwide) and multiple broadcasters around the world.

Keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Order Of Play
(All times local GMT+2)

Top Seed El Sherbini Reaches Final

Nour El Sherbini

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini secured her place in the final of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball after she defeated England’s World No.25 Georgina Kennedy, 11-7, 11-5, 11-3.

El Sherbini, who won the Platinum version of this event earlier this year, was facing the young Englishwoman for the first time after Kennedy had become the surprise package of the event, beating former champion Sarah-Jane Perry amongst others en route to her first semi-final at a PSA World Tour Gold event.

However, it was a step too far to beat the reigning World Champion as El Sherbini played with confidence to unravel Kennedy’s game plan with the 24-year-old struggling to gain any sort of momentum in the match.

El Sherbini will face either World No.2 Nouran Gohar or World No.4 Hania El Hammamy in her sixth final of the year.

“It was a tough match playing Gina for the first time,” said El Sherbini in her post-match interview.

“She has been playing amazing, she’s very fit and playing really good squash and I had to get my A plan to play her. I knew how big an event this was for her and playing in the semi-final is big, but I’m really happy with my performance and that I knew how to play against her.

“I might watch a little bit of the next match, I know it’s going to be a very tough one, both are in top form and playing well this season. I’ve played a lot of good matches with both of them and actually lost against both of them last time, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and whoever is going to win hopefully I’ll be ready for.”

Kennedy said:

“Obviously going into the match I was pretty nervous with how big the event is and it being my first Gold semi-final.

“There were quite a lot of nerves going into it and that coupled with playing the World No.1. I was quite disappointed with how I played there, from the moment I stepped on the court it felt a lot more dead than it has done in the past couple of days. I knew the ball was dying off and I could see Nour was struggling a bit in the first and we both had a few complete mishits. I felt like I couldn’t really find my feet, partly down to the quality of her and the hold she puts on every shot, but my quality wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be today.

“That’s really exciting [to break into the top 20 in January]. I come into these events as the unseeded player, but I’m not satisfied with just getting to the first or second round, I want to make the backend of tournaments and I’m proud of myself for doing that. At the beginning of 2022 I want to keep pushing and bridging the gap between the top girls.

“The highlight has been being here in general, I’ve been watching Black Ball for ages and obviously a highlight would be beating SJ [Perry] for the first time, she’s such a quality player and it was really exciting for me.”

Result:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (26m)

El Hammamy Reaches Final After Gohar Retires

Hania El Hammamy

Egypt’s World No.4 Hania El Hammamy will face World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the final of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball after she defeated compatriot Nouran Gohar in their semi-final clash following Gohar’s retirement due to injury.

Going into the match, El Hammamy had never beaten the World No.2 in their previous seven encounters but tonight’s battle was shaping up to be a thriller with both players displaying their exquisite squash before Gohar was forced to shake hands at the end of the third.

El Hammamy took the lead in a high quality first game, with both players not giving each other an inch as the 21-year-old El Hammamy prevailed 11-8. Gohar responded well in the second though as she used her ferocious hard hitting to her advantage to draw back level by the same scoreline.

The third looked as though it was going to be an equally tight affair with the scores locked in at 4-4 before Gohar looked as though she suffered an injury to her ankle with a big drop off coming from the 24-year-old as El Hammamy pressed ahead to comfortably take a 2-1 lead.

That proved to be the end for Gohar, who would’ve set up a battle for the top spot in the women’s World Rankings against El Sherbini if she reached the final, as after receiving physio treatment in the game break she called an end to the match.

El Hammamy will face El Sherbini in tomorrow’s final in a repeat of their 2020 battle when the former won her maiden Platinum crown on the Black Ball Sporting Club glass court.

“It’s always tough playing against Nouran and it’s not the way I wanted to get the first win against her – I’ve never beaten her, not in juniors, not in training, not anywhere to be honest,” said El Hammamy.

“It’s not a great feeling to win this way and hopefully she recovers soon and we have many more tough matches.

“I was just focusing on my game plan and focusing on what I was doing. Today I felt really good on court and I didn’t want to lose my focus or lose my game plan at all. I don’t think I even noticed anything, but definitely something happened [to Nouran] and I didn’t see it.

“I thought someone was telling her to review [in the second game] so I was a little upset and Ashraf [the referee] noticed it and didn’t give her any kind of warning, so I was a little upset.

“I had to let it go and concentrate because if the ref didn’t say anything then I should focus and there is nothing I can do. I wish her a speedy recovery and hopefully she is back soon.

“I don’t think anyone needs to rate her [Nour El Sherbini] to be honest, she’s already rated very highly, so it’s going to be a tough match. I love playing against Nour, it’s an honour playing against her and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”

Result:
[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 retired (55m)

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