Egyptian duo Hania El Hammamy and Nour El Sherbini will line up in the final of the 2021 CIB Squash Open Black Ball following respective wins over World No.2 Nouran Gohar and England’s Georgina Kennedy earlier today at the PSA World Tour Gold event.
El Hammamy has claimed her first ever win over compatriot Gohar at the eighth attempt after Gohar was forced to retire from their match due to an ankle problem. The match was finely balanced after a thrilling opening two games which saw both players take a game apiece.
However, Gohar started to slow down in the third and, despite receiving treatment from the physio during the game break, was unable to continue the match, handing El Hammamy a place in the title decider.
“It’s always tough playing against Nouran and it’s not the way I wanted to get the first win against her,” El Hammamy said afterwards.
“I’ve never beaten her, not in juniors, not in training, not anywhere, to be honest. 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.”
El Hammamy and El Sherbini met in the final of the Platinum tier Black Ball event back in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with El Hammamy capturing her first major PSA title. The World No.4 reached the final of the Gold Black Ball event last December too, but squandered a 2-0 lead against England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.
Gohar’s defeat means that El Sherbini is guaranteed to start the New Year as the World No.1. She would have lost top spot had Gohar bettered El Sherbini’s results in Cairo this week.
The 26-year-old overcame surprise semi finalist Kennedy – who was appearing in her first PSA Gold semi final – by an 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 margin to reach her fourth final at the Black Ball Sporting Club. It will be her second final in the Gold tier Black Ball event after she finished as runner-up to former World No.1 Raneem El Welily back in 2019.
“It was a tough match playing Gina for the first time,” El Sherbini said.
“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.”
The pair will lock horns in the final at 20:00 (GMT+2) tomorrow (December 16) and the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV as well as the channels of PSA’s broadcast partners.
The men’s event also begins tomorrow and play will start from 12:00 (GMT+2) and be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Results – Semi Finals: Women’s 2021 CIB Squash Open Black Ball
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Georgina Kennedy (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (26m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-4 retired (55m)
Draw – Women’s Final: To Be Played December 16th
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
Draw – Men’s First Round: To Be Played December 16th
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v [9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
[9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [WC] Abdelrahman Nassar (EGY)
Declan James (ENG) v [9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v Victor Crouin (FRA)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v [9/16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
[9/16] Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
[9/16] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v Patrick Rooney (ENG)