Dessouky Comes Back from
the Dead to Beat Farag in CIB Black Ball Open Final Egypt’s
World No.11 Fares Dessouky has lifted the biggest PSA World Tour title
of his career after he completed a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to
overcome World No.1 Ali Farag in the final of the men’s CIB Black Ball
Squash Open, PSA Gold event earlier today.
Dessouky, 26, came through a 75-minute battle against World Champion
Tarek Momen 24 hours previously while he also beat defending champion
Karim Abdel Gawad 3-2 in round two. He found it tough going in the
opening stages as Farag - also a runner-up in 2018 - played some
scintillating squash to take a two-game lead.
Dessouky looked down and out but suddenly the winners started flowing
from his racket as he fought back to take the next two games in
impressive fashion to force a decider.
Farag was the man in form after winning a career-best 14 successive
matches coming into the match, while he had beaten Dessouky in all five
of their previous matches. But he was powerless to respond to Dessouky’s
brilliance in the decider as the man from Alexandria closed out an 5-11,
8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 victory to capture the fourth - and most
significant - title of his career.
feels amazing, this is the biggest final of my career so far, and today
I got the win, so I’m very lucky,” Dessouky said afterwards.
“I didn’t have any plan for today, to be honest. I just went on court to
give 100 per cent so people could enjoy the match. The last match I
played in Qatar, I gave up in the semi-final and I didn’t want to do the
same at this tournament.
“I wanted to grab the win for my family and all my friends who came here
to support me, so thanks a lot to them. I have a new mental coach now, I
know the people wanted something like that, and it’s working
said: “I’m disappointed but not in myself, I left it all out there and
that’s something I can be proud of. Sometimes you come up against an
opponent who is playing really well and tactically he got it spot on.
“When you’re playing well in the first two games and you lose it, it can
be hard to regain it. All credit to Fares, winning so many great battles
back-to-back is a testament to who he has become, so I want to
Dessouky wins over $16,000 for his title win in the last PSA World Tour
tournament of 2020. England’s World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry won the
women’s title, which concluded on Saturday December 12, the day before
the men’s tournament began. Perry also came back from 2-0 down in her
final against Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy.
World No.11 Fares Dessouky will face World No.1 Ali Farag in the final
of the men’s CIB Black Ball Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament
following respective wins over World Champion Tarek Momen and World
No.14 Mostafa Asal.
Dessouky will feature in his biggest PSA final to date after he got the
better of World Champion Momen by a 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 1-11, 11-7 to
reach the eighth PSA final of his career.
The 26-year-old had never beaten Momen in three of their previous
encounters but cut a determined figure on court today as he displayed
his formidable shot making ability during a stop-start match, littered
with decisions to hold his nerve and convert in 75 minutes.
“There is a lot of ups and downs,” said Dessouky afterwards. “Especially
if you are playing well from the first [match] of the tournament. He’s
playing incredibly, he’s very fast on court so I had to really focus on
every point. It’s hard to keep my focus until the end of the match.
“I’m very happy to make it to the final, this is my biggest final since
I started playing PSA, so I’m really happy to be back and competing
again, especially here in Egypt. I have to recover and make sure my body
is in good shape. Tomorrow will be a tough match against Ali, he’s the
World No.1 and is in good form so I will try to dig really deep to grab
Meanwhile, Farag will line up in the Black Ball Open final for the
second time in his career, after finishing runner-up to Karim Abdel
Gawad in 2018, following a polished 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 victory over rising
Asal had been the talk of the tournament following his victories over
World No.4 Paul Coll and World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez coupled with his
extravagant celebrations. But despite some impressive winners from the
19-year-old in the opening game, the victory never really looked in
doubt for Farag as he played an effective game to advance to his third
felt very good,” said Farag. “I had a game plan in mind, but you never
know if you’re going to be able to execute it in three or four games and
even when he came out with outright winners, I still knew I was going
with the right game plan. It’s this balance of being aggressive without
getting too explosive because that’s how he likes to play.
“When you’re at No.1, finals is what you try to achieve consistently.
I’ve never won three titles back-to-back. I’ve won at the Pyramids and
then in Qatar, so it would be amazing if I can add another one here.”
The final will be held at 21:00 (GMT+2) tomorrow (December 18) and the
action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the channels of contracted
World No.14 Mostafa Asal made it back-to-back wins over higher-ranked
opposition as he followed up last night’s victory over World No.4 Paul
Coll with a comfortable 3-0 win against World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez to
reach the semi-finals of the men’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open.
Asal made headlines yet again after toppling New Zealand’s Coll in a
climactic five-game battle in the previous round, after which he ripped
off his shirt in celebration just as he did when he beat the Kiwi in
October’s CIB Egyptian Open in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The shirt stayed on this time around as the 19-year-old cut a more
measured figure after playing some mesmerising squash to complete an
11-4, 11-9, 11-6 victory over Rodriguez, which will see him take on
World No.1 Ali Farag in the last four.
“I was pretty okay today, I was playing well,” Asal said.
“Miguel is an unbelievable player and he gets every ball. I thought that
it would go to the fourth if he took two more points [in the third]
because it would be 6-0, but I’m glad to move through with this
“I’m training all of these shots, so I have the variety to go for it.
I’m happy that I have the game in the back and the short game, and I’m
grateful for this crowd as well, they were unbelievable.”
Farag cut a relieved man as he walked off court following a hard-fought
3-1 victory over fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar.
Farag had suffered a surprise defeat to the World No.12 at last year’s
Grasshopper Cup and was troubled again by his compatriot, who played
some immaculate squash to take a one-game lead. However, Farag proved
why he is the world’s leading player at present as he put in a battling
performance to win the next three games, including two tie-breaks.
was] nervy all the way through, not only early on,” Farag said.
“This is what he does to you. He hasn’t been having the best of years
but if you see the way he puts in the work, you just have to admire him.
To match his attacks is very tough, but it is the way you have to play
sometimes when the ball doesn’t help you. I am super pleased to be
through and I can’t be more relieved really.”
World No.11 Fares Dessouky and World Champion Tarek Momen ensured it
will be an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up courtesy of respective wins
over Peru’s Diego Elias and Welshman Joel Makin.
Dessouky has reached back-to-back PSA World Tour semi-finals for the
first time since April 2017 after he came back from a game down to
topple World No.7 Elias. It ends a three-match losing streak to Elias,
with the pair having had some feisty battles in the past.
was a very touch match, physically and mentally,” Dessouky said.
“It was a mental game, he was talking to me between every single point,
so I had to really focus on court. He’s clever, I’m not blaming him for
doing so, but I had to keep my mind on court, so I’m happy.”
Momen achieved a 3-0 victory over World No.9 Makin, with the third game
going the way of the Egyptian by a 16-14 margin after some breathtaking
Makin fought through an 80-minute battle with former World No.1 James
Willstrop in the previous round but was unable to back that up against
his opponent today, with Momen playing his best squash of the tournament
honestly thought I was going to get away with an easy win today,” Momen
“I played some of the best squash I have played this season for the
whole match. Sometimes, you are flying on court and you have a really
good day and everything works your way. You might then show up the next
day a bit flat, so I am happy that this happened and I had to push
myself so that I can, at least mentally, be as sharp as I can tomorrow
and I think it worked for the best for me today.”
The semi-finals will be held at 19:00 (GMT+2) tomorrow (December 17) and
the action will be shown live on the 2020 Black Ball Open, visit the
tournament website or follow the event
Dessouky Ends Gawad’s Title Defence Egypt’s
World No.11 Fares Dessouky ended the title defence of fellow Egyptian
and World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad to reach the quarter-finals of the
men's CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament.
Dessouky, 26, is making his first appearance at this tournament after
missing out on the inaugural 2018 edition due to injury, and he got the
better of the only man ever to get his hands on this trophy, winning
11-6, 9-11, 3-11, 11-2, 11-3 in 52 minutes.
It was a back and forth encounter which saw the lead change hands
multiple times but, after taking the third game comfortably, Gawad fell
completely off the pace as Dessouky moved in for the kill, meaning there
will be a new name on the men’s trophy this year.
“I’m very happy to be through to the quarters,” said Dessouky.
“It was a tough match, mentally and physically. He’s a very tough and
talented player as everyone knows. I’m happy to be through, and for the
next match, Diego [Elias] and I usually have tough matches, the last
time he won.
“Hopefully this time I play my best and win. Both of us are very skilful
players and we’re playing good squash. We are not just running around
and it’s not just about fitness. Today, we gave the crowd a good match
and for sure they enjoyed the level of squash they saw.”
He will take on Peru’s Diego Elias for a place in the semis, which could
be a captivating affair following some previous feisty battles between
Elias, the World No.7, overcame French veteran Gregory Gaultier in
straight games. Gaultier, a former World No.1, has been a training
partner of Elias in recent months but the 37-year-old had no answer to
the Peruvian’s guile on court today.
were unlucky to draw each other after training for three or four months
together,” Elias said.
“In training he was playing really well, I think it’s unlucky for him
that there are not many tournaments right now because I think he needs
more matches. It’s different than playing practice matches, so I think
it’s unlucky for him but in training, it is a different thing. I think
when there are more tournaments and more chances to play, he will come
back even stronger.”
Meanwhile, Egypt’s World No.14 Mostafa Asal backed up his massive win
over World No.4 Paul Coll at the CIB Egyptian Open in October with
another dramatic 3-2 victory over the Kiwi to reach the last eight.
That win at the Egyptian Open - which took place in front of the Great
Pyramid of Giza - was notable for Asal’s wild celebrations which saw him
rip off his shirt and launch it into the crowd. And, while this time it
didn’t make it out of the court, the shirt did come off yet again in
jubilant scenes following the 19-year-old’s 6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8
so hard to play against someone like Paul Coll,” Asal said.
“In Qatar [where Coll reached the final], he was unbelievable and I
thought it was going to go to him this time before the match. When I
play a top 50 or 60 player, I'm always thinking about my physicality,
and trying to save energy. But when I play Paul, he is the best in the
world for physicality, and I just don't think about it, I just forget
about that and focus on my squash.”
Asal will play Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez for a place in the
semi-finals after he came back from 2-0 down to beat Egypt’s Zahed
Rodriguez, 34, stared down the barrel of defeat in game four as Salem
held three match balls, but the World No.10 launched a superb fightback
to win 5-11, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6.
never gave up,” said Rodriguez afterwards.
“I think I was three match balls down and it happened the same time when
I played him in Switzerland [at the Grasshopper Cup]. It was a mental
game, my short game wasn’t there today and I was a bit edgy on the
shots. I was trying to go too short to finish the rallies and I had to
keep the same strategy as the day before, so I was focusing on playing a
lengthy game with a little bit of pace and it worked.”
Welshman Joel Makin avenged his CIB Egyptian Open defeat to former World
No.1 James Willstrop in a high-quality five-game battle and he will take
on World Champion Tarek Momen in the quarter-finals. Momen beat
compatriot Mazen Hesham in the final match of the day and has lost two
of his last three matches against World No.9 Makin.
World No.1 Ali Farag is also through after beating World No.17 Omar
Mosaad and he will play World No.12 Mohamed Abouelghar after he
dispatched Frenchman Gregoire Marche.
The quarter-finals take place tomorrow (December 16) and play begins at
17:30 (GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on the 2020 Black
Ball Open, visit the
tournament website or follow the event
No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad kicked off his title defence at the men’s CIB
Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament with a
comfortable 3-0 victory over fellow Egyptian Mohamed ElSherbini inside
Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club earlier today.
Gawad is the only man to ever get his hands on the Black Ball Open
trophy when he beat World No.1 Ali Farag to lift the title two years
ago, and he booked his place in round two today courtesy of a 12-10,
11-2, 11-5 victory in just 28 minutes.
World No.33 ElSherbini showed plenty of promise in the opening game as
he went toe-to-toe with the former World No.1 but appeared to struggle
with a leg injury from the second game onwards as Gawad closed out the
win in straight games.
“I know Mohamed very well,” said Gawad.
“We train together and we used to play with each other when we were
young. I know how good he is and I wasn’t expecting the match to go that
easy. Of course, after the first game he had some issues and I wish him
good luck with the recovery.
“It’s very important to win the tournament, these days with the change
of the system for the rankings and the points, each tournament counts. I
was unlucky with an injury to miss a couple of tournaments, but I’m
pleased to be back and back on court playing. I want to play my best
squash, I don’t think too much about rankings now, I just enjoy the
moment of being on court.”
Gawad will play World No.11 Fares Dessouky in a tricky second round
encounter after he defeated Frenchman Baptiste Masotti in straight
games. The winner of that match will go on to face either Peru’s Diego
Elias or French veteran Gregory Gaultier in the quarter-finals.
Elias, the World No.7, required five games to see off England’s Declan
James, winning 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-3 in 65 minutes. He will line
up against training partner Gaultier after he eased to a straightforward
3-0 win against Scotland’s Greg Lobban.
learn so much from Greg [Gaultier],” Elias said.
“He’s one of the best players ever, so I feel really lucky to spend time
with him. I’m trying to learn as much as I can, he’s been helping me a
lot of with my discipline, staying healthy, training hard and being
ready for every tournament. We have been playing for the last three
months, so it’s unlucky we have to play in the next round.”
England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop has also booked his place in
the last 16 after a masterclass performance against the in-form Youssef
Soliman claimed a huge upset win over World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy at
the Qatar Classic last month, but he had no answer to Willstrop’s
accuracy as the 37-year-old closed out the win by an 11-7, 11-9, 11-3
felt absolutely great,” said Willstrop.
“I’m just thrilled to be able to perform like that. I’ve been feeling
alright the last few weeks, training has gone alright and I had a good
match last week and in practice, so things came together. It’s great to
be out there playing and I feel excited about that.”
Willstrop will play Welshman Joel Makin in the next round following the
World No.9’s 3-1 victory over Spain’s Borja Golan. Willstrop won their
last encounter at the CIB Egyptian Open in October.
Meanwhile, World Champion Tarek Momen came back from a game down against
USA’s Todd Harrity in the final match of the day and he will play
compatriot Mazen Hesham for a place in the quarter-finals.
always tough to play a first match after a while,” Momen said.
“With Todd, it’s extra difficult because we have been training together
for the last three or fourth months now. He’s spent most of his time in
Cairo, he was training with my coach and we used to do a lot of drills
and play practice matches together, so it was difficult to play a real
The second round begins tomorrow (December 15) and play begins at 11:00
(GMT+2). All of the action will be shown live on on the 2020 Black Ball
Open, visit the
tournament website or follow the event
Asal and Coll Set Up Mouthwatering CIB Black Ball Open
Second Round Clash Egypt’s
Mostafa Asal and New Zealand’s Paul Coll have set up a mouthwatering
second round clash at the men’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open after they
came through their first round fixtures at the PSA World Tour Gold
tournament earlier today in Cairo, Egypt.
It will be a rematch of their dramatic clash in the quarter-finals of
the CIB Egyptian Open in October, where Asal got the better of Coll in a
nail-biting five-game battle in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza to
reach his maiden PSA Platinum semi-final.
That match was notable for Asal’s wild celebration, which saw him rip
off his shirt in celebration and throw it into the crowd. He will now
look to make it back-to-back wins over Coll after claiming a 3-2 victory
over India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar.
It was a scrappy 82-minute affair, which saw Asal win the physical
battle to complete a 12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-1 win to reach the last
“I didn’t expect that at all,” Asal said afterwards.
“Mahesh surprised me today. I didn’t think that he would play like that.
I wasn’t ready for that type of match, a 3-2.
“I am happy to go through and maybe I am thinking about the next round,
and hopefully we can do good things today. In the end, I am thankful to
go through, and I am ready for the next match.”
Coll, meanwhile, booked his second round spot after beating Frenchman
Victor Crouin 11-5, 11-7, 11-2 in his first appearance since falling to
World No.1 Ali Farag in last month’s Qatar Classic final.
was trying to come out a bit more aggressive than I have done in the
previous couple of tournaments,” Coll said.
“I thought I was a bit passive in the early rounds, so I wanted to start
today, try to dominate the middle and take the ball in short when it was
there and just play some more proactive squash. “
Farag, the 2018 Black Ball Open runner-up, was tested by Spain’s Iker
Pajares Bernabeu in his match, but eventually came back from a game down
to win 11-13, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 in 55 minutes.
The Egyptian - who will become a father in 2021 after wife and World
No.3 Nour El Tayeb announced her pregnancy on the eve of the women’s
tournament last week - was ruthless after dropping the first game, while
Pajares battled on through injury and required treatment after the third
felt good to win for sure, but at the beginning, I felt a bit subdued,”
“He surprised me with his tactics, we have never played before and that
is rare seeing as I have been on the tour six years now.I watched a few
matches including against Greg [Gaultier] in Qatar and [Karim Abdel]
Gawad at the ToC [Tournament of Champions] and he has never played that
slow. He held the ball and played a lot of lobs. It wasn’t what I was
planning so it caught me off-guard.”
Meanwhile, Colombia’s World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez required five games
to get the win over Egypt’s Youssef Soliman in the longest match of the
day at 84 minutes.
Rodriguez will line up against Egypt’s Zahed Salem in the next round,
with Salem beating Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller by a 3-1 scoreline.
of the first rounds are very challenging nowadays,” said Rodriguez.
“I had to fight in my head to keep playing and do my best and it went
all the way to the fifth game. I didn’t have time to play on the glass
court and, for me, it’s always hard to play in the first round,
especially travelling from Colombia. It wasn’t my best match or
performance, but I’m taking this as a positive thing to play better in
the next round.”
Elsewhere, World No.17 Omar Mosaad claimed victory over Malaysia’s Eain
Yow Ng, and he will take on Farag in the last 16. France’s Gregoire
Marche and Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar were the other winners on day one.
England’s Perry Mounts Astonishing Comeback to Beat El Hammamy and Lift
CIB Black Ball Squash Open Trophy
World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry completed an incredible comeback from two
games down against defending champion Hania El Hammamy earlier today in
Cairo, Egypt, to get her hands on the women’s CIB Black Ball Squash
Open, PSA World Tour Gold trophy.
Perry’s last PSA World Tour title came back in October 2018, despite
three runner-up finishes in the intervening years, and she looked set to
be denied yet again after a dominant display from El Hammamy put the
20-year-old two games up and in the driving seat.
But the English player was superb from the third game onwards as she
countered El Hammamy’s pace with some masterful control of the racket to
halve the deficit.
The Egyptian was back in front in the fourth though as she built up two
championship balls to put her within touching distance of retaining the
title she won back in March when she defeated World No.1 Nour El
However, Perry battled on to take it on the tie-break and came back from
8-5 behind in the decider to get her hands on the 11th PSA title of her
match this week has been a challenge in a different way,” Perry said
“Hania’s an extremely amazing player, she’s defending champion and she’s
been making every match brutal for whoever steps on court with her.
Today was no different, I had some chances in the second and didn’t take
them, but I knew If I kept pushing I might get a chance.
“Until the ball hit the tin in the last rally, I was focusing on what I
was trying to do and not thinking about winning. I feel really good
about the team I’ve got around me and I really feel like I can build on
this, push on and test the top ranks of the game where I know I can go.”
Hammamy said: "I was up 2-0 and I started playing a completely different
game, I don't know why, I was not tired. I feel that I messed it up, I
“Maybe I just relaxed, and all credit to Sarah-Jane, she played very
well. I know I could have lost earlier in the tournament, and that I
should be happy to reach the final, but I'm not satisfied to just reach
the final, I feel I disappointed everybody.”
Perry takes home over $16,000 in prize winnings in what is the final
women’s PSA World Tour event of 2020.
The men’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open begins tomorrow at Cairo’s Black
Ball Sporting Club, while the final will be held on Friday December 18.
Perry and El Hammamy Set Up CIB Black Ball Squash Open
Title Decider World
No.5 Sarah-Jane Perry will take on defending champion Hania El Hammamy
in the final of the women’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour
Gold tournament following respective wins over New Zealand’s Joelle King
and USA’s Amanda Sobhy earlier today in Cairo, Egypt.
Perry will line up in her first televised PSA World Tour final since
October 2018 after she got the better of World No.8 Joelle King by a
5-11, 13-11, 13-11, 7-11, 13-11 scoreline to reach the 20th PSA final of
The 30-year-old did squander three match balls in the fifth to give King
a lifeline, but held her nerve to reach her first final of the 2020-21
“I’m pretty relieved right now, if I was a cat, I would have used at
least four of my nine lives today,” Perry said.
“It was a bit all over the place, but my game is to disrupt people’s
rhythm and movement, but I need to find my own as well, which was
definitely in and out tonight.
“I think in the first half of the season, I lost a lot of tie-breaks. To
actually win them is pretty pleasing. I need to focus and not go down in
games, to win comfortably would be beautiful.”
El Hammamy will line up in the Black Ball Open final for the second time
in succession after she overcame World No.7 Sobhy 11-9, 12-10, 11-9 to
reach her second final of the campaign.
The 20-year-old made her major breakthrough when she took out World No.1
Nour El Sherbini in last season’s Black Ball Open held in March, 2020
and she will now look to become the first person to get her hands on
this trophy more than once.
Sobhy, who axed El Sherbini in yesterday’s semi-finals, did threaten the
World No.5 and held four game balls in the second, but El Hammamy’s
impressive retrieval abilities made a huge difference as she weathered
the storm, before staying ahead throughout the third to complete the
really excited for tomorrow’s match, I guess I need one more push to
defend my title,” El Hammamy said.
“Today’s match was a little bit weird, I think we both had our ups and
downs. I don’t think we performed the best we had, but overall, I’m
happy to get through in three.
“Right now, I want to enjoy my spot, I want to enjoy being World No.5
and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I’m doing the best
I can do and hopefully I can make it to No.1 soon.”
USA’s Sobhy Sends World No.1 El Sherbini Crashing Out
of CIB Black Ball Open United
States No.1 Amanda Sobhy got the better of World No.1 Nour El Sherbini
for the first time since 2016 to reach the semi-finals of the women’s
CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold tournament.
It will be Sobhy’s most significant semi-final appearance since the 2019
El Gouna International - and her first at this tournament - and comes
off the back of a 7-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9 victory which saw her
avenge younger sister Sabrina’s defeat to El Sherbini in the previous
It was a real attacking shootout between the two former World Junior
Champions, with Sobhy twice coming back from a game down before showing
nerves of steel in the decider to end a three-match losing streak to El
Sherbini, who has missed out on a place in the final of this tournament
for the first time in her career.
“Nobody beats two Sobhys in a row,” Sobhy said following the match.
“I am in shock a little bit and I don’t think it has sunk in. It is all
a blur but I still can’t believe I just beat the World No.1. I know the
tournament isn’t over yet, it’s not even close to being over, but I
haven’t had a good win in so long, so this just feels really nice. I’m
so pleased with that.
“I think I kind of blacked out the last few points, but I am just so
glad that I crossed that line. To beat Nour El Sherbini, who has been
the in-form player, is huge. But I have tomorrow to think about, I will
enjoy this for the next hour or so, and then it’s time to prepare for
Sobhy will take on defending champion Hania El Hammamy in the
semi-finals eight months after losing to the Egyptian in the
quarter-finals of last season’s Black Ball Open.
El Hammamy, the World No.5, recovered from a game down to beat Wales’
Tesni Evans, winning 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 in 49 minutes.
is a little bit of pressure on me this tournament,” El Hammamy said.
“They are definitely tough matches and I am really happy to get through
to the semi-finals. Tesni is a tough opponent, very talented and very
tricky. I really had to stick to my game plan, try to not to run too
much and I think in the first game, I was up and then I lost my focus
and then she outplayed me.”
The World No.2 also bowed out of the tournament as Nouran Gohar fell to
New Zealand’s Joelle King in straight games.
The 23-year-old was troubled by a foot injury when she was forced to
withdraw from last season’s Black Ball Open back in March and struggled
with her movement once again against King as the Kiwi wrapped up an
11-9, 11-5, 11-9 victory in 39 minutes.
been World No.1 and is World No.2, I knew it was going to be tough and
that she would give it everything she had,” said King.
“I just tried to push the pace and make it as physical as I could to try
and push her mentally. I think I played really well, there were a few
points here or there [that weren’t as good], but I’ve got to be happy
King will take on England’s Sarah-Jane Perry for a place in the final,
with Perry recovering from an inauspicious start to get the better of
World No.4 Camille Serme. It was a dreadful beginning to the match from
Perry as she looked well off the pace and was outclassed by her French
opponent, putting just a solitary point on the board as Serme took the
But it was as if a different player had walked onto court in the second
game as the World No.6 put in a powerful and accurate performance to
dismantle Serme, duly fighting back to win 1-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 to
reach the Black Ball Open semis for a second time in a row.
I had a pound for every time I told myself “you can do it” today, I’d be
quite rich,” Perry said.
“I’ve worked really hard in this block and I’m probably the fittest I’ve
ever been, so I backed myself physically to compete with her at that
higher pace. I’m feeling good and I’m really pleased that I can take on
someone that physical and hold it together, so that was a real thumbs up
The Black Ball Open semi-finals begin at 19:00 (GMT+2) on Friday
December 11. Play will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the channels of
World No.2 Nouran Gohar and defending champion Hania El Hammamy
survived five-game battles against World No.16 Alison Waters and World
No.12 Nele Gilis, respectively, to reach the quarter-finals of the
women’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold event earlier
Gohar overturned two match balls in a gripping 67-minute clash against
36-year-old Waters, coming back from 2-1 down to win it 9-11, 11-6,
8-11, 11-8, 14-12, making it back-to-back five-game wins after her 3-2
victory over 18-year-old Farida Mohamed in the previous round.
Gohar wasn’t at her best and had to deal with a heel problem but held
firm to keep Waters at bay and the 23-year-old will go on to face New
Zealand’s Joelle King in the last eight.
“I don’t think I’m the type of player like [Karim Abdel] Gawad who plays
a lot of five setters,” Gohar said.
“Every tournament has something special and this tournament it seems
like I’m playing five games, I just have to adapt and take it as it is.
Alison played really well, it was very enjoyable out there even though
it was tough at times. I felt tactically, we play at quite a similar
pace and it was all about who would adapt and inject the pace and play
the bigger points.
“I had a niggle in my heel in the middle of the game but overall my body
is holding itself.”
El Hammamy also had to dig in to avoid a surprise upset as the World
No.5 initially surrendered a two-game lead against an inspired Gilis,
with the first four games being separated by just two points, including
However, inside the Black Ball Sporting Club, the Egyptian had enough
left in the tank to prevail in a one-sided decider, earning a 12-10,
12-10, 11-13, 9-11, 11-3 victory in 89 minutes, which is the longest
match of the tournament so far.
“I definitely kind of enjoyed it and didn’t enjoy it at the same time,”
El Hammamy said afterwards.
“I think Nele and I are the most physical players on tour. I really
enjoyed it because I know it’s my strength and I know it’s Nele’s as
well. I would say if I was playing this match against Nele a year ago
then I would have lost this match.”
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini had a more straightforward path into the
quarter-finals as she got the better of USA’s Sabrina Sobhy by a 16-14,
11-8, 11-5 scoreline.
El Sherbini, a two-time Black Ball Open runner-up, saved two game balls
in the opener after a strong start from World No.22 Sobhy, who had upset
World No.10 Salma Hany in the last round. From there, the Egyptian
finished the next two games well to set up a last eight fixture with
Sobhy’s older sister, Amanda.
“Sabrina is really good,” said El Sherbini.
“We are the same age but haven’t had a chance to play a lot against each
other. She came through a very tough first round, beating Salma Hany
3-2. Amanda [Sobhy] is left-handed and Sabrina is right-handed, so
there’s a huge difference between both of them. It’s been a long time
since I’ve played Amanda, so I’m looking forward to it.”
World No.9 Tesni Evans will take on El Hammamy in the next round after
she overcame USA’s Olivia Clyne in five games.
Evans had made a slow start to life at this tournament after dropping
the first game of an eventual 3-1 win over England’s Lucy Turmel in the
previous round, and had to dig in once again against Clyne to complete a
13-11, 11-6, 5-11, 7-11, 11-7 triumph in 62 minutes. That win will see
her compete in the Black Ball Open quarter-finals for the first time.
“The last time, I only lasted 17 minutes against her because I got
injured [at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in January, 2020] so
I am happy I got the win, but she is tough to play, that’s for sure,”
“More than anything, it was mental. I needed to be a bit more positive
and I had to leave it all out there today. I just want to give it
everything and see where I am at. I will always leave everything I have
on the court, I just want to get better and that’s all I can do.”
France’s Camille Serme and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry will go
head-to-head in the other last eight fixture courtesy of respective wins
over Tinne Gilis and Hollie Naughton.
No.2 Nouran Gohar survived an all-out assault from World No.35 Farida
Mohamed as she came back from two games down and 6-0 behind in the
decider to avoid a shock defeat in round one of the women’s CIB Black
Ball Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold event in Cairo, Egypt.
Mohamed, 18, has built up a reputation as something of a giant-killer in
2020 with wins over top 10 players such as Sarah-Jane Perry and Joelle
King, and she went toe-to-toe with Gohar in an attacking performance
that saw her match the No.2 seed’s trademark hard-hitting.
She hit winners from all over the court in the first two games but let
that lead slip, before refocusing in the fifth game to take the first
six points on offer. It was a real shootout between the two in a
captivating finish to a feisty match, with Gohar coming back to take it
16-14 on the tie-break, ensuring she lives to fight another day at the
final PSA World Tour event of 2020.
“It wasn’t easy at all,” Gohar said afterwards.
“Sometimes you are not playing your best, but I am very proud of the way
I held myself today. Being World No.2 is not easy at all but you have to
earn this place by showing character before playing good squash, and I
am glad I did this today and I proved that I can hold myself even when I
am not playing my best.
“I think that is the first time we have been on court together after
practicing yesterday. She surprised me with her killing shots, usually I
am the one who does that but she took me by surprise and I just had to
adapt, which I don’t have to do a lot. It was new and it was not very
enjoyable, but I will take it.”
Gohar will play World No.16 Alison Waters in the last 16 after she beat
wildcard Menna Nasser in the final match of the evening at Black Ball
Sporting Club, while Waters’ fellow Englishwoman, Sarah-Jane Perry, is
also through to round two after holding off Wales’ Emily Whitlock in
Whitlock was making her first PSA World Tour appearance since March at
the previous edition of the women’s Black Ball Open and, while Perry
walked away with a comfortable 3-0 victory on that occasion, the World
No.6 had to be on her mettle this time around to oust Whitlock by an
11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 scoreline.
been working on the mental side and one day it’s going to come
together,” Perry said.
“In between some of those games I was thinking about [World No.3] Nour
El Tayeb’s interview [announcing her pregnancy] and how I still have so
much more I want to achieve and to do that I’ve just got to go out there
and do it. I’ve put a really hard block in and I’m probably moving the
best I’ve ever moved, and I’ve just got to keep putting the balls in the
right areas and bring it all together.”
A clash with India’s Joshna Chinappa awaits Perry in the second round,
with Chinappa beating England’s Julianne Courtice by a 3-1 margin.
Canada’s Hollie Naughton claimed one of the biggest wins of her career
as she took out World No.14 Rowan Elaraby to win 3-1. The World No.20
came from a game down to win 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 and she will play
New Zealand’s Joelle King in the next round.
been playing these girls that are ranked above me and just narrowly
missing out,” said Naughton.
“You’re aiming to get to the top of the rankings, but I’ve been working
on it with my coaches and sports psychologist to ultimately push that
back and if you play, you can take out anyone.”
No.3 seed Camille Serme is also through to the last 32 courtesy of a
straightforward 3-0 win over fellow French player Melissa Alves which
will see her line up against Belgium’s Tinne Gilis next.
am happy with my performance, it was not easy to play Melissa, we knew
the draw for a few weeks but I really had to prepare mentally for this
match,” Serme said.
“We are not only teammates, but we are good friends. We spend a lot of
time together, so it was not easy, but I had to give it my all to beat
her, you have to remember that it is our job. You have to do your best,
focus on what you have to, and to mentally be ready.”
Defending Champion El Hammamy Begins CIB Black Ball Open with Win
World No.5 Hania El Hammamy got her CIB Black Ball Open defence off to a
winning start against Canada’s Danielle Letourneau on the opening day of
action at the PSA World Tour Gold event taking place in Cairo, Egypt
El Hammamy’s biggest title win came just nine months ago on the same
stage when she defeated four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini to
become the Black Ball Open champion, with the tournament being a
Platinum tier event in March.
And the 20-year-old Egyptian ensured her winning streak continued at the
Black Ball Sporting Club with a strong showing over Canadian Letourneau
to prevail in straight games.
“I think it’s a bit of nerves and excitement,” said El Hammamy
afterwards. “It’s a different experience [being defending champion] and
a different challenge for me. I went on court today wanting to play the
best and hopefully I can defend my title.
“All credit to Danielle, she played really well throughout the whole
match but particularly in the second, I lost a little of my game plan
and then she took advantage. She moved to Cairo and has been training
well here - she gave me a hard time in the match.”
El Hammamy will face Belgium’s World No.12 Nele Gilis in the second
round after she got the better of Egypt’s World No.19 Nada Abbas by an
13-11, 11-6, 11-5 scoreline.
Abbas showed her strength on home soil by taking the lead in the first
game. However, good tactics from Gilis saw her lengthen out the rallies
and begin to put a lot of work into the legs of Abbas - which she was
rewarded for - taking the crucial first game before comfortably closing
out in three.
“To be honest, I felt a little unsettled on there,” said Gilis. “At the
start I was a bit nervous, but I tried to make it as physical as
possible because I knew she would get tired quicker than me. We don’t
get a lot of opportunities to play, so I just tried to enjoy every
minute of it.”
Meanwhile, an imperious showing from World No.1 El Sherbini saw her
comfortably book her place in the last 16 after she dispatched
compatriot Zeina Mickawy in 22 minutes.
Sherbini, who is a two-time runner-up at this event, came flying out of
the traps and never allowed her opponent a chance to get into the match,
prevailing 11-4, 11-3, 11-9.
“Zeina and I, we play every week,” said the 25-year-old. “We play in the
same club and have the same fitness coach. She loves to attack a lot, I
just wanted to start strong and that’s what I did.
“Surprisingly, my knee injury is the same as last year, I am just
handling it better now. The struggle is the same, but the time off made
me understand my body more. It helped me know when to push and when to
El Sherbini will face World No.22 Sabrina Sobhy in the second round,
following the American’s big win over World No.10 Salma Hany in the only
upset to the seedings on the first day of action.
Sobhy managed to hold off a comeback from Hany after going 2-0 up to
prevail in five games and claim her first win over a player in the top
10 of the World Rankings.
had a good start and then I started to fatigue,” said Sobhy. “And when
you fatigue against Salma and you give her the loose balls, she’s just
“I was up 4-1 in the third and she won 11-4 because she just had time on
the ball and when you give her time, she just puts everything away. I
told myself at the end of that game “this is it, we might not have
another tournament for a while, so you’re giving it everything you
have”. I’m pleased I snuck that out at the end, it could have gone
It proved to be a strong day for Team USA overall in Egypt as Amanda
Sobhy joins her younger sister in the second round, along with
compatriot Olivia Clyne.
World No.7 Amanda will face Egypt’s Nadine Shahin for a place in the
quarter finals following their respective victories over USA’s Olivia
Fiechter and Haley Mendez in round one.
“I have a pretty horrendous record in Cairo,” admitted Amanda. “I
haven’t really won the last couple of times I’ve been here, so that’s
been lingering in the back of my mind and I wanted to get a win on board
and try and reverse the scoreline.
“I wouldn’t say my performance was rock solid, but I got by and I’m
happy with that, hopefully I can keep improving.”
Meanwhile World No.13 Clyne will go head-to-head in the second round
with Wales’ World No.9 Tesni Evans following hard-fought wins over
Egypt’s Mariam Metwally and England’s Lucy Turmel respectively.
It will be the first time the two players have faced each other since
Evans was forced to limp off court during their match at January’s J.P.
Morgan Tournament of Champions due to an ankle injury, which then
resulted in her missing the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
“My physicality is something that I’ve been struggling with since the
start of the season and something I’ve been working hard on over the
last block,” said Evans.
“I’m really happy because if anything I had to grind and run out today,
which isn’t really my style, but I think I needed that blow out and
hopefully it will stand me in good stead.”
The draws for the men’s and women’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open, PSA
World Tour Gold tournaments have been released, with all eyes on a
potential second round matchup between World No.5 Paul Coll and World
Junior Champion Mostafa Asal, who are seeded to contest a rematch of
their highly-charged battle at the Great Pyramid of Giza last month.
The Black Ball Open will feature a women’s tournament between December
7-12, followed by a men’s event between December 13-18 in what will be
the final PSA World Tour event of 2020. Equal prize money of $112,500 is
on offer in both events.
19-year-old Asal claimed one of the biggest wins of his burgeoning
career when he ousted Coll in a feisty, five-game battle at the CIB
Egyptian Open, resulting in jubilant celebrations that saw the young
Egyptian tear off his shirt and throw it into the crowd in incredible
New Zealand’s Coll will be out for revenge in Cairo this time around but
must take on Germany’s Raphael Kandra in round one, and he will face
Asal in the last 16 if the World No.14 can beat Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al
World No.1 Ali Farag is the top seed for the men's event and will take
on Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu in round one, while his fellow Egyptian
Karim Abdel Gawad - who won the inaugural men’s Black Ball Open in 2018
- plays compatriot Mohamed ElSherbini in the opening round.
Meanwhile, World Champion Tarek Momen is drawn against wildcard Ahmed
Wael in the opening round, and he is seeded to play Gawad in the
In the women’s tournament, four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini
will play her first match since reclaiming the World No.1 spot from
Nouran Gohar and takes on Zeina Mickawy in the opening round.
The 25-year-old, a two-time Black Ball Open runner-up, is seeded to meet
World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the semi-finals, but El Tayeb must negotiate
a draw that could see her come up against defending champion Hania El
Hammamy in the quarter-finals.
On the bottom half of the draw, No.2 seed Gohar lines up against Farida
Mohamed and has the likes of World No.4 Camille Serme, World No.6
Sarah-Jane Perry and World No.8 Joelle King on her side of the draw.
World No.53 Menna Nasser takes the women’s wildcard spot and she will
take on the experienced Alison Waters in round one.
All 62 matches across the men’s and women’s events will be broadcast
live on SQUASHTV and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour,
while the semi-finals and finals will be shown by contracted
The tournament will abide by strict COVID-19 protocols with relation to
health and safety, international travel policies and social distancing
Men's Draw – 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open  Ali Farag (EGY) v Iker Pajares Bernabeu
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
James Willstrop (ENG) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v  Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Raphael Kandra (GER) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
Declan James (ENG) v  Diego Elias (PER)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Zahed Salem (EGY) v  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[WC] Ahmed Wael (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Women's Draw – 2020 CIB Black Ball Squash Open  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)
Olivia Fiechter (USA) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Nadine Shahin (EGY)
Mariam Metwally (EGY) v  Olivia Clyne (USA)
 Nele Gilis (BEL) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Melissa Alves (FRA)
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v  Yathreb Adel (EGY)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
Emily Whitlock (ENG) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Donna Lobban (AUS)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v  Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v [WC] Menna Nasser (EGY)
Farida Mohamed (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Cairo, Egypt will host back-to-back men’s and women’s PSA World Tour
Gold events between December 7-18, 2020 when the CIB PSA Black Ball Open
takes place at the Black Ball Sporting Club.
A women’s event will take place between December 7-12, with a men’s
event beginning the following day and drawing to a close with the final
on December 18. Equal prize money of $100,000 will be on offer at both
the men’s and women’s events.
Since first coming onto the PSA World Tour calendar with a men’s
tournament in 2018, the Black Ball Open has held two women’s
tournaments, the most recent of which took place in March, 2020 in what
was the final women’s PSA World Tour event to take place before the
six-month suspension of the tour due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
No.5 Hania El Hammamy took the title on that occasion - her first
Platinum success - to join former World No.1 Raneem El Welily on the
roll of honour, while World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad won the inaugural
men’s tournament in 2018.
The Black Ball Open will be the final PSA World Tour event to be held in
2020 and all matches will take place on the glass court, meaning they
will be shown live on SQUASHTV and the
official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour
(excluding Europe & Japan). The semi-finals and finals of both
tournaments will also be shown live by contracted broadcast partners
around the world.
"I would like to thank CIB, Hussein Abaza, and all involved at the Black
Ball Sporting Club for their hard work in ensuring that we could hold
back-to-back men’s and women’s events," said PSA Chief Executive Alex
"The support CIB have shown professional squash in particular has been
greatly appreciated and I know I speak on behalf of all players when I
say that they have been integral to the relaunch of the sport following
the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Black Ball Open has been a tremendous addition to the PSA World
Tour schedule over the past two years, and I look forward to seeing what
the latest instalment has to offer."
CEO of Black Ball Sporting Club and Tournament Director, Mohamed Raef,
said: "Since the opening of the Black Ball Sporting Club at the end of
2017, we have maintained a great partnership and cooperation with both
CIB and the Professional Squash Association to organize multiple Gold
and Platinum tournaments.
"No doubt it’s a huge challenge to organise such a tournament in the
midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, however we guarantee to all the players,
organisers, workers and audiences that all of the relevant precautions
and safety measures will be in place to nurture the health and safety of
all the participants and staff, who are our primary concern.
"I'm looking forward to the success of the tournament and we're hoping
to receive decent global attention which will reflect the ultimate
support of the Egyptian Squash Federation and the Ministry of Youth and
Sports, who help ensure that Egypt continues leading squash globally."
CIB Chief Executive and Board Member, Hussein Abaza, said: “CIB is
honoured to sponsor such an esteemed sporting event where we have the
privilege of witnessing some of the most skilled squash players in the
"The bank is committed to supporting sports in Egypt by reinforcing our
country’s position as an international squash hub, increasing athletic
engagement in Egyptian youth, and uplifting our local stars who have
become a source of national pride following their achievements and
Like all four previous PSA World Tour events since the return of the
tour, the Black Ball Open will be held in accordance with strict
COVID-19 protocols. All players and staff will be tested prior to
travelling to the tournaments before taking a further test upon arrival.
Once a negative result has been received, that person will then be
allowed to enter the tournament bubble, with further testing every four
days during the tournament.