first ever female squash World Champion Nour El
Sherbini successfully defended her Orascom
Development PSA Women’s World Championship title
after defeating compatriot Raneem El Welily to
take the honours in El Gouna, Egypt.
Held at the New Marina against the backdrop of
Egypt’s Red Sea, El Sherbini - who defeated
Laura Massaro 12 months ago to become the
youngest Women’s World Champion of all time -
was in spell-binding form to dispatch a slightly
nervy El Welily, who was appearing in her second
World Championship final.
The 21-year-old hit her targets well and never
allowed fellow Alexandrian El Welily to get into
her game, with El Sherbini closing the win out
by an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 scoreline to etch her
name into the history books once more.
Sherbini’s victory brings a six-month title
drought to an end and it is her first major
title since she lifted her first World
Championship title in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a
"I'm over the moon, two or three months ago I
wouldn't have imagined that I would have won
because I haven't won a [major] title this
season," said El Sherbini.
"It felt like like I wasn't going to win this
season anymore, but once I knew that it was
going to be in Egypt, I was so excited and I
wanted to come and play in El Gouna.
"I'm really happy to win in front of my home
crowd and it's never easy to play Raneem. I've
grown up learning a lot from her and she's told
me a lot of things off court and on court. She's
the best ‘sister’ I could ever have besides my
squash career and I am really thankful for
everything she did for me."
is guaranteed to be an Egyptian winner of the
Orascom Development PSA Women’s World
Championship for a second year in succession
after World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World No.4
Raneem El Welily prevailed on semi-finals day in
El Sherbini, who became the youngest ever female
World Champion last year when she beat Laura
Massaro in the final, was in cruise control in
the opening two games against World No.5 Nouran
Gohar, nullifying the 19-year-old’s hard-hitting
brand of squash to go 2-0 up.
Gohar overturned five match balls in the third
game to take the match into a fourth, but got
herself back in front in the fourth to complete
the win by an 11-4, 11-4, 13-15, 11-9 scoreline
to stay in with a chance of being the first
female Egyptian to lift the iconic title twice.
was a very tough match, Nouran is very young and
very tough,” said El Sherbini.
"It would mean everything to become World
Champion here playing in front of an amazing
“They always come to support us and watch us and
I'm really glad that we're having the World
Championship in El Gouna. It's really amazing
I've reached the final and I'm going to give it
everything I have to win the title here.”
El Welily will appear in a second World
Championship final after she overcame French
World No.3 Camille Serme in four games.
2014 runner-up El Welily and the in-form Serme –
meeting for the 12th time on the PSA World Tour
– played out a high-quality 47-minute encounter,
with El Welily triumphing by an 11-6, 2-11,
12-10, 11-5 margin of victory.
The 28-year-old from Alexandria squandered four
match balls against Malaysian icon Nicol David
in the final three years ago in Cairo, but she
says that she has learned from that
disappointment and it won’t be in her thoughts
ahead of tomorrow’s final.
the last World Championship] has been out of my
mind for so long," she said.
"It really doesn't bother me anymore. I'm past
it, I'm over it and I've learnt so much from it.
I've become a much better player since then.
"I really appreciate that moment and if it
happens again, although I really wish it
doesn't, I'm not going to regret anything."
runner-up Raneem El Welily ended a four-match
losing streak against 2013 winner Laura Massaro
in the last eight of the Orascom Development PSA
Women’s World Championship to set up a
semi-final clash with World No.3 Camille Serme,
whose fixture with Joshna Chinappa had to be
relocated to another venue due to rainfall.
On the glass court staged in El Gouna’s New
Marina - on the banks of the Red Sea - the
enigmatic World No.5 El Welily came back from a
game down to defeat last year’s finalist Massaro,
less than a month after she lost out to the
World No.2 at the same stage of the British
Welily played some impressive squash matched
with a focus that has sometimes been missing in
her game to record an 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-6
victory - avenging last year’s World
Championship semi-final defeat to the
Englishwoman in Kuala Lumpur.
“I had absolutely nothing to lose today, I was
keen on playing and keeping the rallies going,”
said El Welily.
“This has made a huge difference for me mentally
today. She's obviously a very strong player
mentally and it's hard to break her. To beat her
today is absolutely fantastic.
“I wasn't doing the wrong things in the first
game, I was doing the right things but I was a
bit passive. I tried to find my rhythm and tried
to get in front of her as much as possible and I
think that worked. I'm happy to be in the
semi-finals and I'm sure that the next match is
going to be really hard."
Serme will compete in only her second ever World
Championship semi-final after she prevailed in a
titanic five-game encounter with Indian No.1
Their match was a casualty of the weather - thus
taking place on the traditional courts - where
Chinappa had played her first and second round
matches, while Serme had only practiced on the
And Chinappa’s experience on the traditional
courts showed as she took Serme all the way to
five games, eventually losing 11-3 in the fifth
to send 28-year-old Serme into the last four.
be honest, I think it [her experience on the
traditional courts] was an advantage because she
has played two matches on there," said Serme.
"She knew how to play on it and I felt a bit
nervous coming back here because I haven't
practised on these courts for a few days. I
think it was an advantage for her, they were
tough conditions, we had to change courts last
minute and the crowd was so loud.
"I know it's the same for both players, but it
was a tough match."
No.5 Nouran Gohar will take on reigning World
Champion Nour El Sherbini for a place in the
final of the Orascom Development PSA Women’s
World Championship after they managed respective
wins over Malaysia’s Nicol David and England’s
Sarah-Jane Perry in El Gouna, Egypt.
World Junior Champion Gohar put in an
unrelenting display to go two games and five
match balls up against David, an eight-time
winner of the most prestigious tournament on the
fought tooth and nail for every point and saved
four of the match balls, but a loose shot from
the 33-year-old towards the end of an intense
rally saw a stroke awarded against the 81-time
PSA World Tour title winner, handing the match
“It feels amazing to beat my idol, it was a
very, very tough match today, mentally more than
physically,” said the 19-year-old.
“At 2-0 up and five match balls up, I still
couldn't believe it and then she started playing
amazingly, like it was still 0-0. She came back
really strongly, so I just tried to stick to my
game plan and not try to think about the win.
“There were nerves for sure at that point, but
the crowd supported me really strongly, so I'd
like to thank them, my coaches and the support
from my family. They were the reason why I won
those last points.”
No.1 El Sherbini got the better of Gohar in last
year’s British Open final and in the same stage
of the World Championship 12 months ago.
And the 21-year-old - who beat World No.2 Laura
Massaro in last year’s final - earned her place
in the last four courtesy of a 11-6, 11-3, 12-10
scoreline over British Open runner-up Perry.
“I get a lot of support when I play here, I get
a lot of people coming and it makes me push to
win because I want to win in front of them," El
happy that I'm through 3-0, it was nearly longer
than that, but I'm happy to finish it in the
“I think that the court conditions changed from
the other days and it was hotter and bouncier. I
just tried to change my plan and she was playing
well at the end, but thankfully it worked and I
managed to win the match.”
World No.2 Laura Massaro and Egypt’s World No.4
Raneem El Welily will face off in the
quarter-finals of a PSA World Tour event for the
second tournament in a row after both players
rose to wins on the fourth day of the Orascom
Development PSA Women’s World Championship.
Massaro, the 33-year-old from Preston, overcame
New Zealand’s Joelle King in a tight four-game
encounter, hitting consistent lines despite a
drop in intensity in the third game, to win it
by an 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 13-11 margin.
“The fourth was really close and I felt like I
had pulled away a bit, but then she ended up
coming back really well and I was in a little
bit of a battle really,” said Massaro.
"I think I started quite well. Joelle was a
little bit off at the beginning but she began to
up her game a little bit. I felt like she
started hitting to my forehand a little bit more
and was keeping it off my backhand.
“It took me a little while to rejig my plan a
little bit and try and figure that out. I was
perhaps a little bit edgy towards the end more
than anything. Joelle is such a good player,
she's so physical and I'm just pleased to get
through that in the end.”
defeated El Welily in the last eight of last
month’s Allam British Open and will look to put
in a repeat performance against the former World
No.1 after El Welily dispatched United States
No.2 Olivia Blatchford in a comfortable 3-0
Blatchford, competing in the second round of the
World Championship for the first time in her
career, tried in vein to compete with El Welily,
but couldn't find any rhythm.
Struggling to adapt to the dead conditions on
court early on – particularly failing to hit her
targets in the back corners – she gifted control
to El Welily. And the Egyptian, with the benefit
of a match on the glass court already behind
her, settled early, hitting with perfect weight
and precision to dictate proceedings courtesy of
a sumptuous display that marks her out as a
genuine title threat.
“I'm definitely happy with the way I played
today,” said El Welily.
“It was the first time I've ever played Olivia
so to come away with a 3-0 win is pleasing and
unusual for me.
“I know she's played on glass courts before but
I think the conditions today were very different
to what she's experienced before. It's windy on
there and you never know what’s going to happen
with the ball – you have to react and take it as
World No.3 Camille Serme is also through to the
last eight after she dispatched World No.13
Emily Whitlock in straight games to set up a
quarter-final meeting with Indian No.1 Joshna
Chinappa, who saw off former World No.3 Alison
Serme, seeded second for the tournament, took
the ball early to crash in a series of
devastating backhand volleys and punished any
loose shots from Whitlock in clinical fashion to
take an 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 victory.
knew she beat Alison at the British Open, so I
was focused from the start and didn’t want to
give her any hope," said Serme.
"I came into the match with a clear tactical
plan. Joshna is a very powerful girl, she hits
the ball really hard and I think on that court
with the wind it might be tricky to try lobs and
shots like that because the ball can go out
World No.5 Nouran Gohar and eight-time World
Champion Nicol David will meet in a
mouthwatering quarter-final clash after they saw
off Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb and Annie Au,
respectively, on day three of the Orascom
Development PSA Women’s World Championship held
in El Gouna, Egypt.
Gohar, the reigning World Junior Champion, was
up against another former World Junior Champion
in El Tayeb and the 19-year-old played with
power and control to come out with a 3-0
victory, taking it 11-8, 12-10, 11-9 in 46
minutes to reach the last eight.
will be a tough match for sure [against David],"
"Nicol has so many titles, she's a living legend
and she's my idol.
“To play against her is tough mentally and
physically. I'm just going to enjoy it and hope
that the crowd will be behind me.”
David won the World Championship crown the last
time it was held in Egypt three years ago and
she stepped up her efforts to claim the biggest
title on the Women’s Tour for an unprecedented
ninth time with an 12-10, 11-4, 13-11 triumph.
The 33-year-old Malaysian superstar will look to
improve on her last result against Gohar, with
the hard-hitting Egyptian ending David’s 10-year
unbeaten run at the Hong Kong Open in August en
route to a maiden World Series title.
“I think I played much better today than
yesterday,” David said.
“I knew I had to be sharp – she’s very
dangerous. In the second game especially I felt
like I put it all together well and I’m really
pleased to come through 3-0 in the end. I had to
make sure I played tight and didn’t allow her
the time to mix it up.
“And now I get to play on the glass court which
is very exciting. It’s such a treat to be here
and it’s not often I get the chance to play in a
new place and a new location so I’m really
El Sherbini, the defending champion, navigated a
tricky tie against World No.18 Tesni Evans of
Wales to seal her quarter-final berth for a
second year in succession.
The 21-year-old World No.1, who is bidding to
become the first female Egyptian ever to lift
the prestigious title on two occasions,
prevailed in a crucial first game on the
tie-break, which then gave her the impetus to
close out an 13-11, 11-4, 11-4 victory.
“The whole season hasn’t gone that well, so I’m
just hoping that this tournament will go well,"
admitted El Sherbini.
trying to go through match by match without
thinking a lot. Now I’m into the quarter-finals
and I’m thinking ahead to the next round and
The Egyptian will take on British Open runner-up
Sarah-Jane Perry for a place in the semi-finals,
with Perry coming through a four-game scrap with
fellow Englishwoman Victoria Lust to reach the
No.2 Laura Massaro began her Orascom Development
PSA Women’s World Championship campaign with
victory over Egypt’s Mariam Metwally in El Gouna,
Massaro, who claimed the biggest title on the
Women’s Tour three years ago, reached the final
of this tournament last year and ensured that
she would make a winning start to this
instalment, winning 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 in 30
"I took her extremely seriously," said
33-year-old Massaro, who will play New Zealand’s
Joelle King next.
"I know how good she is, and this is the first
round of the World Championship, so I wanted to
play as well as I could and not to take any
The Englishwoman will be joined in round two by
Egypt’s Raneem El Welily, who beat former World
No.2 Jenny Duncalf to move to within one win of
a blockbuster quarter-final matchup with Massaro.
Welily, the World No.4, squandered four
championship balls to Malaysia’s Nicol David the
last time the Women’s World Championship was
held in Egypt in 2014, but she kickstarted her
tournament with a 3-0 triumph over England’s
The Egyptian prevailed in a crucial first-game
tie-break, which allowed her to press on to
record an 13-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory.
“It's the first day, the first match, the first
time at this venue, so I was trying to play a
little bit basic to start with,” said El Welily.
“You could see at the beginning that my shots
weren't as accurate as they could have been, but
my mindset was okay, so I wasn't upset that I
made the errors, I was actually feeling that I
was on the right track.
“Jenny is a really experienced player and every
time I play her it's extremely hard. Just like
that, she scores with some unbelievable boasts.
I'm just happy to be through today. It's one
point at a time, I have no bad memories,
everything is good.”
El Welily will face United States No.2 Olivia
Blatchford, who impressed with a 3-2 win over
Australia’s Donna Urquhart.
No.3 Camille Serme also earned her place in the
second round after she came through against
World No.21 Salma Hany Ibrahim, winning it 11-6,
Last year’s World Championship saw Serme bow out
at the quarter-final stage to World No.5 Nouran
Gohar and she is using the memory of that
disappointment to spur her onto greater things
this time around.
“Last year, I had a lot of expectations at the
Worlds, but when I lost to Nouran in the
quarters it was a really big disappointment,”
“It was the end of the season and I don’t want
to feel that way again. I know I’ve won two big
titles this year, I know I can do well, but
everyone is strong at the moment, especially the
girls from the top eight and you never know what
can happen. I just take it match-by-match and I
really focus on what to do on court."
Serme will face England’s Emily Whitlock for a
place in the quarter-final after the World No.13
progressed courtesy of a win over French
qualifier Coline Aumard.
England’s Alison Waters will meet India’s Joshna
Chinappa in the other second round fixture, with
the duo claiming respective wins over qualifiers
Hana Ramadan and Misaki Kobayashi.
champion Nour El Sherbini led fellow Egyptians Nouran Gohar and Nour El Tayeb
through to the second round of the Orascom Development PSA Women’s World
Championship after they all rose to wins on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea on day
one of the main draw.
El Sherbini - who defeated England’s Laura Massaro in the final of the last
instalment of the prestigious tournament - was in dominant form to see off
Canadian qualifier Samantha Cornett by an 11-2, 11-4, 11-6 margin of victory to
set up a meeting with Tesni Evans.
“I know she wasn't playing well in the first, but I just wanted to try my shots
and try the court with the conditions, the weather and everything,” said El
“Maybe I relaxed a little bit in the third, but I just had to get back to my
length and shorts.
“I hope it [the Egyptian crowd] helps. I always love to play in Egypt and I love
the crowd and everyone coming to support. I hope it's not going to put pressure
on me, I just want to play. It's just a tournament like any other tournament.”
No.5 Nouran Gohar bounced back from her shock first round loss at last month’s
Allam British Open with a comfortable victory over close friend and fellow
Egyptian Nadine Shahin.
Gohar, who reached the semi-final stage of this tournament a year ago, fell to
16-year-old Nada Abbas in a huge upset in Hull 12 months after she reached the
final of the sport’s oldest tournament.
But she responded with a focused display against World No.23 Shahin, with the
hard-hitting 19-year-old completing the win by an 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 margin to
ensure she will take on former World No.5 El Tayeb for a place in the
quarter-finals after El Tayeb saw off Hania El Hammamy.
“We play the same, hard-hitting game, we know each other's games really well,"
"She is one of my close friends and we're sharing a room here as well. Mentally,
it's quite difficult to cope with it because we were laughing and talking half
an hour before, then you have to play."
eight-time World Champion Nicol David took a step closer to winning the biggest
title on the Women’s Tour for a ninth time after she negotiated a tricky
encounter with India’s Dipika Pallikal Karthik.
While the scoreline looked comfortable, it was far from plain sailing for David
as she had to battle hard in both the first and second games to prevent Pallikal
from getting onto the scoreboard.
“Dipika hits the ball very well and on this court I felt like my timing was a
little out early on and I wasn't timing my shots,” said David.
“I was opening up the court and allowing her too much time to attack. But I was
pleased with how I worked through it to figure out my targets and I really found
my groove in the third and felt like I was establishing my game."
She will be joined in the next round by Hong Kong’s Annie Au - who beat Rowan
Elaraby - while Sarah-Jane Perry and Victoria Lust will also meet in round two.
returning to form at the recent Allam British Open to secure her first PSA World
Series title since 2015, England's World No.2 Laura Massaro says she's relishing
the challenge of travelling to Egypt this week to compete in the Orascom
Development PSA Women's World Championship.
Massaro lost out to Egypt's World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in last year's title
decider - squandering a 2-0 lead in the final - but after reversing that
scoreline en route to lifting the British Open for a second time, she's hoping
to double-up once again by taking on Egypt's best in their own back yard, in
what she thinks will be one of the most competitive World Championships ever.
"A year is a long time in sport so there's no question of me wanting to make
amends for last year," said the 33-year-old.
"I know, and showed at the British, that I'm capable of putting together a
tournament winning week. But I also know just how tough it is to back up from
events and how hungry everyone else is.
"All of the girls in the top eight or ten have hit form in recent months and all
have the belief that they can win - it's a hugely exciting time for the fans and
the players. Whoever holds it together for the duration of the week and can
manage the expectations will win.
"I know from the British Open last week that a home crowd can really spur you on
- but they can put a lot of pressure on you as well. In Egypt, the crowd will
have high expectations on the home players and for me, I relish that hostile
environment and will try and use it to my advantage."
Despite climbing through the World Rankings to top the standings for the first
time in her career in January 2016, Massaro, the 2013 World Champion, failed to
win a major title in almost 12 months prior to her victory in Hull.
And she credits a frank and open discussion with her team in the wake of a
quarter-finals exit at the Windy City Open in February as the turning point in
her recent fortunes.
"After the Windy City Open, I sat down with my team to really reassess where I
was at because I felt like, in the big events especially, I was struggling to
translate the work in training into on-court success," said Massaro.
"The Women's game is moving along at a huge pace, so we analysed what I was
trying to achieve and what the objectives are. Seeing people like Nick [Matthew]
come out with a new lease of life in the past few months, combined with that
reassessment, has really given me a new impetus in training and I feel like the
team behind me is stronger now than ever before.
"But to then translate that change in the style we did at the British Open was
"I knew that I was on the right lines so hopefully now I can carry that form and
momentum into the World Champs this week and put another big week together."
Qualifying for the Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship takes
place between April 5-6, with the main draw held between April 7-14.
Massaro takes on Mariam Metwally in round one and is seeded to face 2014
runner-up Raneem El Welily in the last eight.
World Champion Nour El Sherbini is looking to become the first female Egyptian
player ever to win the prestigious Orascom Development PSA Women’s World
Championship crown on home soil when the tournament takes place between April
7-14 in El Gouna, Egypt.
El Sherbini overtook the iconic Susan Devoy to become the youngest ever female
World Champion 12 months ago when she recovered from two games down to defeat
England’s Laura Massaro in a climactic final - a win which also saw her overtake
Massaro at the summit of the World Rankings the following month.
And the Alexandrian will be roared on by a partizan Egyptian crowd in El Gouna
as she aims to lift her first major Tour title since last year’s triumph in
"I’m super excited to be playing in Egypt, I can't explain how exciting it is,"
said the 21-year-old.
"I always love playing in Egypt in front of my family and friends. The last
[Women's] World Championship in Egypt in Wadi Degla  didn't go my way and
I lost first round, so I will give it everything this time to go as far as I
El Sherbini has lifted just one Tour title since her World Championship victory
and, as such, her World No.1 ranking has come under threat from the likes of
Massaro, World No.3 Camille Serme and compatriot Raneem El Welily.
However, El Sherbini is looking forward to the impending battle for her crown as
she bids to recapture her best form.
"It’s very tough on the Tour right now," El Sherbini admitted.
"Everyone is playing well and anyone can win any event. It's tough and
challenging, but that's the game and I love it like this.
"Being the World Champion and the World No.1 was really huge for me and the
final match against Laura is one of my best ever memories. Being 2-0 down and
coming back, I can remember every point in the match. To able to say you are the
World Champion is just amazing.
"But being the defending champion won't change the way I approach the
tournament. It’s the last tournament of the season [aside from the PSA Dubai
World Series Finals], so it's just a case of giving it one more push and giving
Qualification for the Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship takes
place between April 5-6, with the main draw beginning on April 7 and lasting up
until the final on April 14.
El Sherbini begins her title defence against a qualifier in round one and is
seeded to meet World No.5 Nouran Gohar in the last four.