World No.1 Raneem El Welily overcame compatriot and reigning World
Champion Nour El Sherbini in a five-game thriller in Cairo, Egypt, to be
crowned the 2019 CIB Black Ball Squash Open champion.
The Black Ball Squash Open is the first major women’s tournament to take
place in Egypt’s Capital since the 2016 Wadi Degla Open, where El Welily
also triumphed and the World No.1 continued that strong run of form in
Cairo to take home the PSA World Tour Gold title.
El Welily and El Sherbini were meeting in their 11th successive PSA
final, with the latter claiming the last victory earlier this year in
New York, and it proved to be one of their closest yet as Cairo-based El
Welily was forced to come from 2-1 down to capture her 20th PSA title.
A tight first game went in the way of 23-year-old El Sherbini, who was
featuring in her third successive final after winning both the
Tournament of Champions and PSA World Championships in 2019, before El
Welily found her rhythm in the second to draw level for the loss of just
The momentum continued to swing between each player until the fifth,
when El Welily was able to create her own patch of dominance to close
out a 9-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-1, 11-5 victory in 53 minutes.
The Black Ball Open is her third PSA title of the 2018-2019 season,
following wins at the China Squash Open and U.S. Open earlier in the
“It feels good to have won this match,” said 30-year-old El Welily
following her victory. “Playing Nour is never easy and today was a
little bit different than any other time we have played.
“I think we both showed very good patterns throughout the match and we
had some very good patches where we both played well. That hasn’t
happened in a while, so I am very happy to have been a part of this good
the fourth, I was tense, so I decided to go back to basics. Every time
we get on court, it’s a different situation. I have got to believe that
it’s going to be a different match, a different result, and that the
last match doesn’t mean anything.
“We are very good friends off court, and we fight until the end and
respect each other. I think that is why we fought so hard tonight.”
El Sherbini added afterwards: “It’s been a tough week, and it was a
bonus to be playing in Egypt in front of my friends, family and my team.
I’m glad I made it to the final here after winning the Worlds a few days
“I have played a lot of hard battles with Raneem and she was better
today. Hopefully, we’ll have more battles to come.”
Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily and reigning World Champion Nour
El Sherbini will face each other in the final of the CIB Black Ball
Squash Open after they defeated World No.8 Nouran Gohar and World No.5
Joelle King, respectively, in Cairo, Egypt earlier today.
The two players will face each other in their 11th successive meeting in
a PSA World Tour final in the latest instalment of their rivalry as they
go head-to-head for the PSA World Tour Gold title.
No.1 El Welily was pushed all the way to five-games in an enthralling
encounter with compatriot and former World No.2 Gohar to reach her 46th
It was Gohar, who was celebrating her 200th PSA World Tour match, who
got off to the better start as she attacked with relentless pressure in
the opening exchanges to find her targets quickly and edge out El Welily
to take a one-game lead.
Gohar continued her ferocious hitting to put the World No.1 under
pressure in the second, however, the experienced El Welily was able to
weather the storm to level the scores, before taking a 2-1 advantage.
Cairo-born Gohar hit back again though, producing some of her best
squash to push the match to a deciding fifth, which El Welily was able
to convert on the tie-break to close out a 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 4-11, 15-13
victory in 66 minutes.
“It takes two players to play a good match and full credit to her
today,” said El Welily following her match. “I’m just happy to be
through today, it was such a crucial match and I’m glad I pushed myself.
“It would mean so much [to win the title], but I don’t like to think
about it that way. I’m just looking forward to playing another match
tomorrow and glad to be through after that brutal match.”
will face compatriot El Sherbini in the final tomorrow after she
overcame New Zealand’s No.3 seed King in a masterclass performance from
The World No.2, who will play in her third successive PSA World Tour
final tomorrow following victories at the Tournament of Champions and
PSA World Championships, showed no signs of fatigue from her epic
five-game battle with France’s Camille Serme last night as she stormed
to a 2-0 advantage against King.
The Kiwi fought back in the third to take the lead in the game, however,
the Egyptian came from behind to take the match on the tie-break and
claim an 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 victory in 34 minutes.
“Yesterday was a really tough match,” said Egypt’s El Sherbini following
her win. “I was sure today was going to be tougher, so I really wanted
to be ready from the start and focused. As you could see she was coming
back strong in the last game, but I was just trying to finish the last
game, so I’m really pleased to sneak that one.
“The women’s game is always improving and getting tougher. All of us are
really fast and are putting the game at another level.
“Me and Raneem have been battling for a long time now and most of the
matches have been in finals. Hopefully the better player will win and
I’m going to take it as if it is just another match.”
The final of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open will take place on Friday
March 15 and play starts at 19:00 (GMT+2). Matches will be shown live on
SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and ONSports.
Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King was the only non-Egyptian player to
reach the semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour
Gold event after she overcame India’s Joshna Chinappa in Cairo, Egypt
King, 30, played out a tight five-game battle with the Indian No.1 to
move within one win of reaching the final after she recovered from going
2-1 down to triumph in five-games at the Black Ball Sporting Club.
“You’ve got to hand it to Joshna,” said World No.5 King. “She has had an
amazing tournament. She beat Nicol [David] 3-0, obviously beat SJ
[Perry] yesterday and came out firing against me today.
“It’s just one of those wins when you are on the backend of someone
playing really well and it took me a while to find my feet, but I think
the pleasing thing is that I found a way to win.
“Those matches can be easy to tick off and think you’ve been outplayed,
but I dug in and at least thought that if she is going to beat me then
I’m going to make it really hard and it’s nice to come off winning.”
World No.5 will now face reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the
last four after the Egyptian overcame France’s World No.4 Camille Serme
in a thrilling encounter that went all the way to five-games.
The two players were meeting for the second time in two weeks after
facing each other in the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships in
Chicago, which saw El Sherbini claim the victory in five-games before
going onto win the prestigious title.
Serme came out of the blocks firing in Cairo today and looked determined
throughout the entire match to avenge that defeat, however, El Sherbini
was resilient to prevail, coming from 2-1 down to win 4-11, 12-10, 6-11,
11-7, 11-8 in 64-minutes.
“It’s really hard every time against Camille,” said 23-year-old El
Sherbini following her victory. “Last time I was 2-0 up and this time I
was 2-1 down, I’m really happy that I’m through. I just kept pushing and
“I’m playing Joelle, it’s going to be tough. We last played a while ago
and so it is going to be a tough one. I’m going to try to relax now and
focus and look forward to tomorrow’s match.”
other semi-final will see Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily pitted
against compatriot and World No.8 Nouran Gohar.
El Welily was in formidable form to dispatch England’s former World No.1
Laura Massaro in straight-games to advance, while Gohar came out on top
against ‘giant killer’ Hania El Hammamy, who recorded an impressive win
over World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in round two yesterday.
“Laura is a very tough opponent and is hard to beat,” said 30-year-old
El Welily. “She’s very hard to play and I’m very pleased to be through
to the semi-finals today.
“I’m trying to enjoy myself on court as much as possible, that was my
aim at the start of the season. This is what led me to become No.1 and
I’m trying to do the same in every match.
“Nouran is a very good friend and we play for the same club – Wadi Degla
– so we have shared a lot of good moments together and we are very close
off court. Recently we have played a lot, so it’s going to be another
play against Hania you have to play at your best,” said 21-year-old
Gohar following her victory. “I knew I had to be on my toes from the
first point even when I was a match ball up and it was really tough out
“I’m really happy to be back and enjoying my game again. It would mean
the world to me to take the title here, a big title like this and it’s a
big bonus that it is being held here in Egypt as well.”
The semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open will take place on
Thursday March 14 and play starts at 19:00 (GMT). Matches will be shown
live on SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the
official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (Indian subcontinent only).
World No.15 Hania El Hammamy and India’s World No.16 Joshna Chinappa
both caused upsets on the second day of action at the CIB Black Ball
Squash Open after they defeated World No.3 Nour El Tayeb and World No.6
Sarah-Jane Perry, respectively, in Cairo, Egypt.
18-year-old El Hammamy claimed the first major scalp of the day after
she downed compatriot El Tayeb, who earlier this month finished
runner-up at the PSA World Championships, in straight-games to advance
to the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.
Up until today, El Hammamy had never beaten El Tayeb, however, the
18-year-old was unstoppable out on court as she played with confidence
beyond her years to condemn an out-of-sorts El Tayeb to a premature
“I’ve played against Nour so many times and lost,” said El Hammamy
afterwards. “I never even win in training matches, so this one is very
special. She came runner-up at the Worlds and she is one of the top
three players in the world.
“Obviously, the last two tournaments I have won have given me so much
confidence and I was so excited to play today against a top player and
believing in myself that I can win.”
She will now face compatriot and World No.8 Nouran Gohar for a place in
the semi-finals after she despatched World No.12 Salma Hany in
straight-games to advance.
“Every match is completely different,” said former World No.2 Gohar.
“Hania played superbly today and to play her is a tricky match. I have
to be on my toes from the first point and I hope it will be a great
Indian No.1 Chinappa claimed her own big win after she took out English
No.1 Perry to reach the last eight of the tournament.
The Indian had not secured a victory over the Englishwoman since the
2012 Chennai Open, with Perry winning the last three encounters.
However, Chinappa made sure to reverse her bad fortune as she prevailed
in a tight battle to win 11-4, 6-11, 14-12, 11-9 in 50 minutes.
“It was a hard game from the beginning until the end,” said Chinappa
following her win. “It was really close in all the games and I’m
fortunate to be on the winning side.
“What made the difference today was I think that I was a bit better
mentally that I have been in our previous matches. I was more focused,
more consistent, and I was able to withstand long rallies.”
Chinappa will now face New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King tomorrow
night at the Black Ball Sporting Club after the Kiwi prevailed in a
tough match with Wales’ World No.10 Tesni Evans.
Evans came through a gruelling five-game encounter against Egypt’s
Mariam Metwally yesterday and the Welshwoman looked to have kept that
winning momentum on her side as she took the first game.
However, the Welshwoman was unable to continue that form as number three
seed King came back firing to impose her game plan and draw level,
before going onto seal a 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 win.
“I actually hate playing Tesni,” said 30-year-old King. “She’s probably
my best mate on tour, we practise together all the time and so we know
each other’s game. It’s always one of my hardest matches to play. She
always fights until the end and I was pleased to get off in four.”
Elsewhere, top seed and World No.1 Raneem El Welily set up a
mouthwatering quarter-final tie with England’s former World No.1 Laura
Massaro after the Egyptian got her tournament off to a winning start
against World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby.
The Cairo-based Egyptian got her tournament off to the perfect start as
she looked strong on court, taking just 30 minutes to down younger
compatriot Elaraby and advance to the last eight.
“It’s never easy against Laura,” said El Welily following her win. “She
is very stubborn and tough on course and I hope that it is going to be a
good match. I will have to rest today and prepare for tomorrow.”
Massaro, meanwhile, found her accuracy quickly and looked sharp on court
to defeat Egypt’s Yathreb Adel in straight-games.
“She is such a dangerous opponent and it can make you a bit on edge
because you don’t know what you’re going to get from her,” said
England’s Massaro following her win over Adel.
“I’m really happy with how I stayed strong at the right times, getting
over that line in the second was probably a really big one and then just
picking up balls and making things tough in the third.”
Elsewhere, Egypt’s World No.2 Nour El Sherbini and France’s World No.4
Camille Serme will go head-to-head, just over a week after meeting in
the semi-finals of the PSA World Championships, which the Egyptian went
El Sherbini was dominant against England’s former World No.3 Alison
Waters in round two of the Black Ball Open to send the 34-year-old out
in the early stages as she stormed to an 11-5, 12-10, 11-3 victory.
“It’s never easy playing Alison,” said the 23-year-old Egyptian. “She
has been playing for a long time and it’s always tough playing her.
“This is the first match after the Worlds and it is always very hard
mentally to get back on court and play after a big win.”
Meanwhile, Serme claimed her own impressive win as she successfully
manoeuvred past Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in straight-games in a masterclass
of a performance.
“After the worlds, I was obviously very disappointed, but it passed
quite quickly,” said the Frenchwoman following her win.
“We started working and training hard immediately and I was actually
glad we had a big tournament right after. But still, when you see Nour
[El Tayeb] losing in the first round, you stop and think maybe it’s not
that easy to go into the next one quickly. So today, I made sure I
arrived ready to fight from the start of the match.”
opening day of action at the 2019 CIB Black Ball Squash Open saw Egypt’s
World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby down Hong Kong’s World No.11 Annie
Au in straight-games as she led the Egyptian charge on the first day in
Elaraby was one of four Egyptians who all advanced to the last 16 of the
PSA World Tour Gold tournament, after she produced one of her best
performances to take out the experienced Au at the Black Ball Sporting
The Black Ball Squash Open is the first major women’s tournament to take
place in Egypt’s Capital since the 2016 Wadi Degla Open and it was the
Egyptians who dominated the day as they flew the flag for the home
nation on day one.
Elaraby will now face compatriot Raneem El Welily in the next round,
with the World No.1 and the other top eight seeds receiving a bye into
the second round.
“The last few times I have played Annie I have lost in five and I
couldn’t push the fifth game in both,” said 18-year-old Elaraby
following her win.
“There is always the push you get from playing in Egypt, in front of
your family and your friends, it’s a blessing really. But I also learned
from the last two times we played and I made sure that this time I had
enough energy to close it out, not like previous matches.”
will be joined by fellow Egyptians Salma Hany, Yathreb Adel and Hania El
Hammamy after they all secured victories on the opening day of action in
Hany was forced to dig deep to prevail against a tough Nele Gilis of
Belgium in four-games, while Adel was taken all the way to five-games by
compatriot Mayar Hany in the first match of the day.
They will now face Egypt’s World No.8 Nouran Gohar and England’s former
World No.1 Laura Massaro in round two, respectively.
“Today was such a tough battle,” said 22-year-old Hany following her win
over Gilis. “Me and Nele go way back to juniors when we played a lot and
every time she proves that she has got better. Her and Paul [Coll] have
brought a new level of physicality to the game and today she proved
“She pushed me way beyond my limits and I think maybe I wasn’t 100%
accurate but I made sure I stuck to the game and didn’t let go.”
Fellow Egyptian El Hammamy, meanwhile, will face PSA World Championship
runner-up Nour El Tayeb for a place in the quarter-finals after she
defeated tournament wildcard Salma Youssef in straight-games.
“I’m looking forward to playing Nour tomorrow,” said El Hammamy
afterwards. “Obviously she is in great form, and we played three or four
times, which went all in her favour, but hopefully tomorrow I can
perform well and create an upset.”
Welshwoman Tesni Evans prevented a complete Egyptian domination on the
first day of action as she survived a scare against World No.24 Mariam
Evans went 2-0 up, before a resilient Metwally battled back to level the
scores and take the match to a tense deciding fifth. However, the
experience of Evans, who last month claimed the British Nationals title,
proved vital in the end to close out a 3-2 win.
The Welshwoman will now face New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King in
round two tomorrow.
“I was 2-0 up and feeling really good and then I just mentally knocked
off in that third game and switched off completely,” said Wales’ World
No.10 Evans. “Mariam played unbelievable in the last three games, she
was absolutely going for it and it was such hard work to keep my head
there in the fifth.
“It’s no secret how good friends me and Joelle are, we are actually
rooming together this week and it will be another tough battle,
especially with how well she is playing at the moment. I just need to
recover as best I can and have another good go tomorrow.”
Joining her in the second round will be India’s Joshna Chinappa after
she despatched Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David in
The Indian No.1 executed her game plan to perfection to take a 2-0 lead,
before managing to close out a tight third game and book her place in
the last 16 where she will take on England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.
“Obviously it was such a tough opponent to face in my first round here,”
said Chinappa following her victory. “I’m just really lucky to get
through in three, the third game was really tight and I’m really pleased
that I was able to close that out.
“It’s another hard match. SJ is coming back from injury but she is in
great form and I hope it is going to be a good match between us.”
Meanwhile, there were also victories for Hong Kong’s Joey Chan and
England’s Alison Waters after they defeated England’s Millie Tomlinson
and Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy, respectively to reach the last 16 stage.
Chan will go up against France’s World No.4 Camille Serme for a place in
the quarter-finals, while Waters faces the challenge of Egypt’s reigning
World Champion Nour El Sherbini.
“You have to keep yourself going,” said England’s Waters after her
match. “She played well and was so strong around the middle on that
forehand. I just tried to straighten up when I had the chance and get to
play my shots.
“I’ll regroup tonight and get some rest. Playing the World Champion in
Egypt will be a tough match, but I’m looking forward to it.”
The second round takes place on Tuesday March 12 at 15:30 local time
(GMT+2)Europe and Japan).
Matches held on the glass court will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of
world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
The main draw of March’s Black Ball Squash Open PSA Gold tournament was
released today, with World No.1 Raneem El Welily headlining the draw at
the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt from March 11-15.
The Black Ball Squash Open will be the first major women’s tournament to
take place in Egypt’s capital since the 2016 Wadi Degla Open when El
Welily took the title and she will be looking to repeat that performance
in her home city next month.
The reigning World Champion – who, along with the other top eight seeds,
receives a bye into the second round - will open her tournament against
either compatriot and World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby or Hong Kong’s
Seeded at the opposite end of the draw is former World No.1 and two-time
World Champion Nour El Sherbini, who will face either England’s former
World No.3 Alison Waters or Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy in round two of the
El Welily and El Sherbini are seeded to meet in the final, with both
players already meeting in two finals so far this season, with one title
apiece and El Sherbini coming out on top in the last meeting at the J.P.
Morgan Tournament of Champions.
Other home favourites at the tournament comes in the form of World No.4
Nour El Tayeb and World No.8 Nouran Gohar. Cairo-born El Tayeb will face
one of her compatriots in Hania El Hammamy or wildcard Salma Youssef in
round two, while Gohar – who was also born in Cairo – will take on
either Belgium’s Nele Gilis or Egypt’s Salma Hany for a place in the
New Zealand’s World No.3 Joelle King will be looking to halt the
Egyptian charge as the Hong Kong Open winner begins her tournament
against either Egypt’s Mariam Metwally or Wales’ Tesni Evans. The Kiwi
also faces the prospect of meeting World No.2 El Sherbini in the
semi-finals of the tournament should both players play to their seeding.
Meanwhile, France’s Camille Serme and English pair Sarah-Jane Perry and
Laura Massaro will all be in action in the Egyptian capital and complete
the top eight seedings at the tournament.
World No.5 Serme is seeded to meet El Sherbini in the quarter-finals,
while Massaro could meet El Welily in the last eight and Perry faces the
prospect of a showdown with King for a place in the semi-finals.
Matches held on the glass court will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of
world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).