No.2 Nour El Sherbini produced one of the greatest comebacks in
World Championship history as she overturned a 2-0 deficit to defeat
World No.1 Laura Massaro in the final of the Naza PSA Women’s World
Championship in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia - overtaking the great Susan
Devoy, who won in 1985, to become the youngest winner of the biggest
title in Women’s squash.
El Sherbini, who will also overtake Massaro to become the new World
No.1 in next month’s World Rankings, looked down and out after
falling two games behind to a dominant Massaro.
The Egyptian is the most in-form woman on the PSA World Tour at
present though and she mounted an incredible fightback to earn a
6-11, 4-11, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8 victory to avenge her 2013 final defeat
to the Englishwoman and become the first female Egyptian ever to
become the World Champion.
"I'm dreaming right now, I didn't imagine I could win this match,"
said El Sherbini.
"I want to say thanks to the Egypt team and everyone here for all
the support that pushed me to the end. Laura is a very tough player
and even until the end I didn't think i could do it.
"At 2-0 down I though it was over, Shabana just kept telling me to
focus and play squash and forget about the score and start again."
was gracious in defeat and was full of praise for the new World
"It's an honour and privilege to play in a World Championship final,
it's the pinnacle of our year," she said.
"I’m obviously disappointed to lose but she played an amazing match
from 2-0 down. I have to take it on the chin and come back again.
"Thanks to everyone who has helped me, my family and coaches who
can't be here, it's been unbelievable. It's been an amazing
tournament and we as players couldn't have asked for more this
The top two players in Women’s squash, World No.1 Laura Massaro and
World No.2 Nour El Sherbini, will go head-to-head for the Naza PSA
Women’s World Championship crown after semi-final victories over
Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar, respectively, in Bukit Jalil,
Malaysia set up a repeat of the 2013 World Championship final -
where Massaro won her maiden World Championship title.
clash with El Welily saw the lead change hands multiple times
throughout a tightly-contested fixture, with neither player being
able to maintain their momentum when they were on top. Massaro eased
to the opener in comfortable style, before El Welily levelled in the
second and almost took the third, but surrendered a five-point lead
to hand Massaro the initiative.
A blistering start to the fourth from El Welily brought the match
back to all square once more but Massaro again took the reigns in
the fifth to amass four match balls. El Welily fought back to send
the match to a tie-break, but Massaro held out and a fine boast
evaded her opponent’s grasp to give the Englishwoman an 11-2, 7-11,
11-9, 6-11, 12-10 victory.
"I think Raneem and I aways have battles and she’s such a good
player," said Massaro.
"If you don’t play her in exactly the right way then you get
severely punished. She played well in patches, I played well in
patches and in some ways it’s a fair result. I’ve played two World
Championship semi-finals on a tie-break against her so I guess that
was going through my mind because, if I had done it before, I knew I
could do it again.
"It would be amazing [to become World Champion for a second time].
All week I have been saying that you can’t win the World
Championship in the first or second round but you can certainly lose
it. All I’ve done is given myself a chance and that’s really
exciting for me."
El Sherbini followed up her superb quarter-final victory over
eight-time World Champion Nicol David with a dominant display
against compatriot and World Junior Champion Gohar.
El Sherbini had been pushed all the way to five games by Gohar in
last month’s Allam British Open final but the 20-year-old, who
became the first female Egyptian to win that tournament, was on fire
this time around and controlled proceedings as she prevented Gohar
from building any rhythm.
After seeing off eight-time World Champion and Malaysian icon Nicol
David in the previous round, a superb 29-minutes of squash from the
most in-form woman on the PSA World Tour saw her take out Gohar with
11-5 victories in all three games to reach the final.
"Me and Laura have played a lot against each other and she is
playing really well this tournament," said El Sherbini.
"We always play out five games, but I’m going to keep going the way
I am. I am going to give it everything and I’m sure it is going to
be a good match.
"I really want to win this tournament, for my country, for Raneem
and Nouran and for everyone. I really want this badly so I am going
to give it everything and hopefully it will be mine this time."
is guaranteed to be an Egyptian finalist in the Naza PSA Women’s
World Championship after the country’s number one player, Nour El
Sherbini, led her compatriots through the quarter-final stage by
dispatching home hero Nicol David in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.
David, who was the namesake for the arena the pair competed in,
stormed into a 10-7 lead in the opening game and, despite letting El
Sherbini back in to triumph on the tie-break, she battled to victory
in the second game to level proceedings in her country’s National
Squash Centre. But El Sherbini displayed her full range of attacking
artistry in the next two games as she hit some sensational cross
court nicks to break Malaysian hearts, claiming an 14-12, 4-11,
11-3, 11-7 victory to send her through to the semi-final and extend
her winning streak over the eight-time World Champion to five
“This is the fifth time I’ve played Nicol this season and I think
that this was the best match we have played against each other,”
said El Sherbini.
“I always think match by match and I try not to look forward, I just
want to focus on the next match. Of course, I definitely want to win
the tournament and everyone wants this, but I’m just going step by
“We Egyptians are in good form this season and we’re all getting
good results, Raneem [El Welily], Nouran [Gohar], Omneya [Abdel Kawy],
all of us. This is the only title we have never won in Egypt so
hopefully it’s going to be an Egyptian winner."
next for El Sherbini is an exciting fixture with 18-year-old World
Junior Champion Nouran Gohar (left) in a repeat of last month’s
Allam British Open final in which El Sherbini triumphed.
Gohar came out on top against World No.4 Camille Serme in a
thrilling five-game spectacle and took a two-game lead, only to see
it crumble as a resilient Serme fought back.
After going 7-4 down in the fifth, Gohar looked as if she was
heading out of the tournament but she gave it one last push to
secure an 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 5-11, 11-8 victory in a brutal
75-minute clash, which has sent her through to her maiden World
"I can’t believe I won the match," said Gohar.
"When I was 2-0 up I was playing very well, but she came back very
strongly. She was playing like she wasn’t tired, like we had just
started the match. I thought she was in total control in the last
game, but my parents and coaches gave me an extra boost to push. I’m
really glad I didn’t give up, pushed for the win and I’m really
happy to win."
World No.1 Laura Massaro is the only non-Egyptian left in the
tournament after she beat Omneya Abdel Kawy to progress.
cantered to the opening game and, a second game defeat aside, looked
in strong form as she swatted aside her opponent courtesy of an
11-3, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7 scoreline to set up a semi-final showdown
with Raneem El Welily (right) after the World No.3 saw off United
States No.1 Amanda Sobhy.
“Omneya is a quality opponent so I knew to expect a good level of
her today,” said Massaro.
“I felt like it was a high pace, we were both trying to get in front
of the other one and keep it off each other’s volley. I think both
of our strengths are on the volley so I was trying to keep her away
from the middle, particularly on that backhand volley drop where she
likes to be so much. It was tough on there but I’m glad I managed to
sneak it in four in the end."
World No.2 Nour El Sherbini and current World Champion Nicol David
will go head-to-head in a highly-anticipated quarter-final battle in
the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship after they claimed
respective second round victories over Annie Au and Alison Waters in
Bukit Jalil’s National Squash Centre, Malaysia.
The in-form El Sherbini, who defeated David en route to winning last
month’s prestigious Allam British Open, dropped her first game of
the tournament against Au but still managed to dispatch the World
No.10 with an 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 scoreline.
"Every match is different than the others and it depends on the day,
how everyone’s feeling and the mood," said El Sherbini, as she
prepares to maintain her four-match unbeaten streak over David.
"Nicol is playing here in Malaysia in her home town and everyone is
going to come and support her. I’m just going to play and try to do
my best and I’m sure it’s going to be a tough one.
"I’m going to give it everything I have, it’s the biggest tournament
and everyone wants to do their best so I’m just going to give it 100
per cent and hopefully it will be a good match."
David, meanwhile, rode a wave of fervent home support to dispatch
England’s Alison Waters in straight games.
in the aptly named Nicol David Arena, the match began in an
attritional style with both players trading cautious blows in a bid
to find a chink in each other’s armour. David, who beat 2007 winner
Rachael Grinham in the opening round, increased the tempo mid-game
and Waters struggled to respond as the Penangite took the first
game, before she controlled proceedings in the second to double her
lead, with a tinned shot from Waters handing her a two-game
Waters came out fighting at the beginning of the third and final
game and marched into a 5-1 lead as she looked to be on the verge of
launching a strong comeback, with a particularly gruelling 50 shot
plus rally going in the World No.11’s favour. However, David picked
up the pace again and roared back to take the next 10 points in a
sensational ending to a 38-minute encounter, courtesy of a 11-9,
11-3, 11-5 margin of victory.
“You need to be on it, every point, and that’s how I felt today so I
was very pleased with my performance,” said David.
“Every player wants to start well and get in there first because it
always gives you that extra bit of confidence. Playing Alison as
well, you have to be on it and you can’t give her any confidence to
play her game. I really dug deep and I played the right shots and
had the right tactics at the right time so I’m really pleased to
come through 3-0.
“I’m really pleased to play the way I did today. If I can bring this
forward to tomorrow then I will be pushing the quarter-finals as
best I can.”
No.1 Laura Massaro is the sole Englishwoman to progress to the last
eight after a virtuoso display against India’s Joshna Chinappa.
The tournament top seed was in sharp form and put Chinappa under a
barrage of pressure throughout a whirlwind three-game salvo that saw
Massaro take it 11-3, 11-6, 11-3.
“I wanted to go out there and make a really fast start and try and
be positive from the beginning,” said Massaro.
“I wanted to get in front and I felt like, in the first round, I was
a little bit passive to start with. It was just about trying to get
out and start strong, keep my intensity quite high and I think I
probably set a record for the amount of fist pumps considering the
length of time that I was on court for. I was making sure that I was
there for the entire match and that I didn’t let her get up at any
There will be four Egyptian representatives in the quarter-final of
a World Championship for the first time in the tournament’s history
after Raneem El Welily, Omneya Abdel Kawy and Nouran Gohar all won.
El Welily will take on Amanda Sobhy, who dispatched Nour El Tayeb,
while Kawy will face Massaro. French No.1 Camille Serme is the other
quarter-finalist thanks to her win against Sarah-Jane Perry and she
will take on Gohar in a repeat of their British Open semi-final
icon and defending champion Nicol David had to call on all of the
experience that has seen her capture a record eight World
Championship titles as she recovered from a game down to defeat 2007
winner Rachael Grinham in a stunning five-game spectacle in the
National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia.
David began the better of the two and swept to the first game,
before a spectacular response from 39-year-old Grinham saw the
Australian go 2-1 ahead and threaten to cause one of the biggest
upsets in World Championship history. But David stormed into action
and dropped just three points in the final two games to record an
11-4, 8-11, 8-11, 11-1, 11-2 victory which was met with a deafening
roar from a captivated crowd.
“In the fourth and fifth games I knew that I had to step it up, be
in the rallies and force my game a lot more,” said David, who meets
England’s Alison Waters in round two.
“I think that, in the first three games, it maybe took its toll a
little bit and I could feel that she was getting tired in the fourth
and fifth so I went through and won it as well as I could. I started
to hit my balls better and I was, at least, getting the timing
right. The court was a little bit deader in the evening than it was
in the morning at practice so you have to adjust, get going and I
felt much better in the fourth and fifth games because I could get
out to the ball a bit better and attack when I could.
“I’ve beaten Rachael Grinham, who is a former World Champion. It’s
not often you get former World Champions in the first round, but I
got through, a win is a win and I’m very pleased to beat Rachael.”
Egyptian World No.2 Nour El Sherbini is also through after a
devastating display against Australia’s Donna Urquhart.
El Sherbini, the current British Open champion, was in superb form
and put relentless pressure on Urquhart throughout the 29-minute
affair with a range of inch-perfect drops, deceptive boasts and
pinpoint drives enabling her to control proceedings
The 20-year-old powered to an 11-6 win in all three games to see her
through to the next round where she will go head-to-head with Annie
“It wasn’t that easy, even if it looked like it,” said El Sherbini.
“Last time I played Donna it was at the US Open and I won in five so
I knew what I needed to do and I was really prepared and focused. I
was quite confident and now maybe I know how I am supposed to play.
I never normally play that well in the first match so I’m happy to
play like this.
“You’re always happy to end it in three. Even if it was 3-0, Donna
is not an easy opponent to play.”
day’s big upset saw Egyptian teenager Nadine Shahin shock former
World No.2 Jenny Duncalf to seal a spot in the second round of a
World Championship for the first time in her career – bridging a
34-place World Rankings gap in the process.
Shahin played with maturity and craft as she sought to outmanoeuvre
her opponent and the World No.50 fought to an 11-6, 11-7, 11-9
triumph to ensure she will play best friend Nouran Gohar, the
18-year-old who defeated her in January’s British Junior Open.
“I’m speechless, It’s my first time to reach the last 16 of any
World Series tournament, let alone the World Championship,” said
“It means everything to reach the second round, but it’s not over
yet, there’s another challenge tomorrow and I’m up for it.”
Gohar recovered from a game down to beat France’s Coline Aumard,
while Camille Serme and Sarah-Jane Perry will face off after
respective wins over Joey Chan and Olivia Blatchford. Waters moved
past Heba El Torky in four and there was also a victory for Au who
beat Dipika Pallikal 3-2.
Round Top Half
click on images for larger view
The first round of the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship got off
to a quick start as the afternoon session turned into a whitewash.
number 12 Nour El Tayeb, making her first appearance since the US
Open last year, needed just minutes to beat Hong Kong qualifier Liu
Tsz Ling 11-6, 11-7, 11-3.
The 23-year-old showed no signs of that shoulder injury that laid
her out for six months as she quickly sealed her place in the second
“This was my first match in six months and I spoke with my
coaches on how to prepare myself for this match,” said El Tayeb.
“I’ve watched her play before and I knew what to expect. I was
more focused on my own game and it’s a good win as I look to build
up my confidence match by match.
“I’m also feeling a lot stronger since my injury. I had surgery
after the US Open and I don’t think I’ll be doing anymore dives or
splits for a while.”
After El Tayeb, seventh seed Amanda Sobhy got the job done even
quicker as she took 23 minutes to beat Kiwi qualifier Megan Craig
11-4, 11-5, 11-2.
El Welily and Omneya Abdel Kawy completed the first session of the
day as they both recorded identical 3-0 wins, both in 27 minutes.
“It was ac tually tough for me, from the mental point of view. It
was the first match after all. But even though I was all nervous
inside, I managed to look calm in front of everyone,” said world
number three El Welily.
“It’s still too early to tell how I’ll do but I’m definitely
happy with the way I played today.”
evening session had India’s top player Joshna Chinappa kicked off
with a rather easy 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 win.
Joshna had control of the match and was cruising along as Lust
struggled with her shots and grew increasingly frustrated with
The tournament nearly lost its top seed and world number one Laura
Massaro in the first round. The Englishwoman, famed for her
incredible mental strength and ability to dig herself out of a bad
spot, however came back strong to beat Mexico’s Samantha Teran 9-11,
13-11, 11-6, 11-3.
“The court felt bouncier when I practiced on it a few days ago.
Today it just felt more dead and I struggled with my length as she
picked me off early,” said Massaro. “I was also feeling a little
flat emotionally and I had to change my body language a little and
lengthen the rallies a little more.
At 5-9 down in the second, that was when the pressure lifted on me a
little and I managed to dig in and hold on.”
the 2013 world champion, takes on Joshna Chinappa of India in the
The crowd was slowly building up for the Malaysian double header
later in the evening.
But former world number five Low Wee Wern was unable to deliver as
she crashed out in straight sets despite a good display against New
Zealand’s Joelle King.
Wee Wern, who missed months of action due to an anterior cruciate
ligament (ACL) injury, lost 9-11, 6-11, 7-11 to the Kiwi.
Malaysian did however had something to cheer as world number 15
Delia Arnold delivered a classy performance to beat Egyptian
qualifier Mariam Metwally.
Delia who has never gotten past the first round of the world meet in
six previous attempts, won 12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 to set up a
second round clash with Kawy.
“It was my first time meeting Mariam and I knew it was going to be a
tough match. But I played well enough to win in four. Now I have a
day’s rest before I prepare to take on Omneya,” said Delia.
Naza PSA Women’s World Championships Media Release Local Girls Blown
Away At Qualifying The much awaited Naza PSA Women’s World
Championship finally got underway at the National Squash Centre,
And first day of qualifying got off to a bang as 16-year-old
Egyptian Amina Yousry proved her credentials as yet another emerging
talent with an upset of qualifying top seed Nicolette Fernandes.
The world No.51 played with power and maturity beyond her tender
years as she dispatched world No.24 Fernandes with an 11-6, 11-6,
13-11 win in 34 minutes.
On the next court, another Egyptian teenager - Mariam Metwally was
getting the job done even faster as she rushed her way to an 11-1,
11-3, 11-1 win over Lotte Eriksen of Norway. Metwally’s match took
just 16 minutes - the fastest match of the day.
Malaysia had eight players in the qualifying rounds and Rachel
Arnold had the best opportunity as she took on Holland’s Milou van
The SEA Games gold medallist however, will live to regret this day
as she blew five match ball opportunities in the deciding rubber to
lose 6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8, 10-12.
The 20-year-old Rachel had saved a match ball in the third set and
appeared to have gained the momentum over van der Heijden.
Inexperience and nerves got the better of her eventually as the
Dutch player stole the win after 47 minutes.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight. It’ll probably be a
while before I get over this loss,” said Rachel. “I think I got too
excited in the end and I was too eager to finish it off. Maybe I
should have tried my best to hang in there and it’s definitely a
hard lesson learned for me.”
World No.46 van der Heijden however was pleased with herself for the
“I just kept trying and I just told myself not to give up,” said van
der Heijden. It was tough because after two sets I was struggling to
get to her shots.
“Maybe it was experience on my part but I’m just very happy to go
through. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll be trying my best again.”
Rachel was indeed the closest to pulling off a win as the other
seven - S. Sivasangari, Vanessa Raj, Andrea Lee, Zoe Foo, Aika
Azman,Teh Min Jie and Nazihah Hanis came nowhere close.
World No.73 Sivasangari, who won three straight PSA titles in a row,
can however stand tall after giving Egypt’s world No.50 Nadine
Shahin a fight before losing 8-11, 4-11, 12-10, 7-11.
“I’m just so tired after playing so many matches in the last two
weeks. I tried to give chase in the third and fourth sets but while
I was mentally strong, physically I was spent,” said Sivasangari.
The 18-year-old Nadine now holds a 3-0 record over Sivasangari but
she admits each match just got tougher.
“She just won three titles in a row and she came up with a lot of
confidence. We’ve always had tough encounters in the past but this
was definitely the hardest,”said Shahin.
“But I’m happy to get into the next round. It’ll be tough again but
we are hungry players and I’ll do my best,” added Shahin who takes
on second seed Line Hansen next.
he other qualifying matches were all straightforward affairs, except
for eighth seed Liu Tsz Ling’s encounter with Australia’s Christine
The world No.30 had to fight her way to an 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11,
11-9 win over the world No.40 in a match that lasted exactly an
“The last time I played Christine I won 3-2 and it was just as hard
this time,” said Tsz Ling. She now meets Wales’ Deon Saffery for a
place in the main draw.
Current World Champion Nicol David will return to her native
Malaysia for the forthcoming PSA Women’s World Championship - and
the eight-time winner expects the atmosphere to be electric when the
prestigious tournament begins at the National Squash Centre, Kuala
Lumpur on Monday April 25.
The 32-year-old from Penang, who is revered as a national icon in
her home country, has dominated the World Championship in recent
years, lifting the coveted title in eight of the last ten
tournaments to overtake Australia’s Sarah Fitz-Gerald at the top of
the all-time winners list.
Despite her myriad of World Championship successes, David has been
unable to claim the iconic title in front of her own fans as of yet,
bowing out at the semi-final stage in Kuala Lumpur in 2004 and
Penang in 2013, but the former World No.1 is anticipating the
partizan support from her home crowd to give her a boost as she aims
"It’s certainly exciting to be back in Kuala Lumpur competing again
after quite some time and also playing the Worlds here again for the
first time since 2004 will bring back many fond memories," said
"I’ll make the most of this opportunity playing in Malaysia and I'm
pretty sure the atmosphere will be full of energy in the stadium. It
would be a huge bonus of course [to win the title in front of her
own fans] but my main goal is to just enjoy this moment to play in
Malaysia, while gunning for the challenge at hand."
David has endured a mixed 2015/16 season, with a tenth successive
Hong Kong Open title balancing out the disappointment of seeing her
unprecedented nine-year reign at the summit of the World Rankings
come to an end last September, when she was dethroned by Egypt’s
Raneem El Welily.
She has since lost further ground on the top spot, which is now held
by England’s Laura Massaro, after falling to World No.5 in the April
World Rankings. While David concedes that it has been a challenging
period, she insists that the experiences have only served to help
her focus on how to get to the next level in her game.
"The season for me has certainly been an adjustment," she admitted.
"Winning in Hong Kong was such an achievement for me because I could
still bring all of these elements together throughout the
tournament. As this process is still ongoing, I've been making the
most of my tournaments to work on my consistency with the
adjustments. I have certainly had my own struggles over the past two
years and it reflects on my performances and my ranking.
"However, through these experiences I'm growing as a person and I’m
aiming to take these steps towards my next level of squash."
As she gears up to challenge for a record ninth World Championship
crown, which contains a record $185,000 purse, David also revealed
just what it takes to be crowned the World Champion.
"Every one of those eight World Championship titles has a special
significance in what I had to overcome in life to be able to win
each title," David explained.
"It comes with a lot of hard work, pain, struggles, sacrifice, and
having to dig deep right into my core to find something more
powerful than myself to do what I did throughout those years at the
top. I couldn’t have done a lot of it without the amazing support I
have with [coach] Liz Irving heading my support team, and my family
and friends always being by my side through my ups and downs to show
me the way forward."
The PSA Women’s World Championship takes place between Monday April
25 – Saturday April 30 and sees David seeded against British Open
champion Nour El Sherbini, who has won the last four meetings
between the pair, in the quarter-final.
All matches will be played at the National Squash Centre, Bukit
Jalil where admittance to the event is free of charge. For more
information and details, visit the tournament website:
Five-time World Champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald has paid tribute to an
unpredictable and exciting draw at the upcoming PSA Women’s World
Championship and admits it is difficult to pick a winner at the
tournament that gets under way on Monday April 25 in Kuala Lumpur,
Widely considered to be one of the greatest female players of all
time, Fitz-Gerald lifted five World Championship crowns throughout a
glittering career that sees her placed second on the list of
all-time winners, behind only the illustrious Nicol David.
The Australian former World No.1 has kept a close eye on proceedings
on the PSA World Tour throughout an electrifying 2015/16 season and,
after a period that has seen David win eight of the last ten World
Championship titles, Fitz-Gerald is convinced that the most
prestigious crown in the sport could go to almost anyone.
"The title is up for grabs this year," she said.
"So many of the girls have earned the right to win it with fantastic
performances during the year. All I can say is that whoever wins it
needs to hold on to it with both hands for as long as they can. Its
an amazing moment and an an amazing ride.
"With the players all defeating one another from tournament to
tournament, it is probably raising the level of the Women’s game as
no one gets to rest on their laurels. Everyone has to produce their
best, or better, to win. Also, the top 20 are showing fantastic
conduct and sportsmanship on and off the court. It can only be a
positive for the Women’s game and future rising stars."
Fitz-Gerald lifted her first World Championship title during a
breakthrough year in Penang, Malaysia in 1996 and followed that up
by defending her title in each of the next two years.
A knee surgery then briefly stunted her momentum over the next two
years before she returned to World Championship winning form in 2001
and 2002 to add her name into the history books.
Now aged 47, Fitz-Gerald reveals that the feelings of winning
haven’t left her and she outlined what it meant to become the World
"Winning my first World Championship title was a mixture of
feelings," said Fitz-Gerald.
"Leading into the event, I had bad preparation and had to have four
wisdom teeth out literally the week before. I went with no
expectations and that lack of expectation gave me a calmness which
carried through the entire week and I ended up playing some of my
best ever squash. I loved kissing the World Championship trophy and
being able to stand there knowing I was the new World Champion. It
was a moment I treasured and hoped to capture again.
"Before winning the fourth and fifth titles, I had such a strong
belief in my ability, mental strength and fitness. It felt like my
destiny to win and I just had to go and do it. When players reach
this ranking level, it is about belief. It’s the difference between
knowing and believing.
"Winning a World Championship title means that you are called the
World Champion, forever. Everyone understands what those words mean
even if they don’t play or watch sport. Your name is in the record
books and it’s mentioned every time you’re introduced.
"That title probably gets mentioned before any other titles. As a
player, you’ve earned it, and all your hard work and dedication has
paid off. The atmosphere around the venue and that title always
created such amazing mixture of feelings and emotions.
"Winning was happiness, relief, belief, an aura, desire and pressure
to back it up and pay back for your supporters, but overall, it put
a smile on your face that can’t be wiped off."
The PSA Women’s World Championship takes place between Monday April
25 – Saturday April 30 and will see the likes of World No.1 Laura
Massaro, Malaysian icon Nicol David, British Open champion Nour El
Sherbini and World No.3 Raneem El Welily all battle for supremacy in
the most lucrative tournament on the Women’s Tour with a prize fund
of $185,000 on offer.
All matches will be played at the National Squash Centre, Bukit
Jalil where admittance to the event is free of charge. For more
information and details, visit
In-form Egyptian World No.2 Nour El Sherbini is relishing the
prospect of competing in the upcoming PSA Women’s World Championship
which gets under way in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday April 25 -
and insists she is a different person to the one that lost out in
the final two years ago in the same country.
The Alexandria native became the youngest ever World Championship
finalist in 2014 where a stunning run in Penang that saw her take
out a quartet of seeded players, including home hero and eight-time
World Champion Nicol David, put her up against current World No.1
Laura Massaro in the showpiece event.
Despite narrowly going down in five to Massaro, El Sherbini credits
that defeat as something of a watershed moment in her career, as she
soon surged to the upper echelons of the game, culminating with a
historic victory at last month’s Allam British Open which saw her
become the first female Egyptian winner and the second youngest
winner of the prestigious tournament at the age of just 20.
"I feel a lot of things changed [since the World Championship final
defeat]," said El Sherbini
"I was always told that I played well but I didn't manage to close
the match and win so I was frustrated. But now I feel that I went
through a lot of situations in that glass court that changed me as a
person in general and not just as a squash player. Hopefully, I will
keep going the same way."
El Sherbini has established herself as one of the world’s leading
players, with a first World Series title at the J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions in January preceding her British Open
Her sensational season has also catapulted her into reckoning for
top spot in the World Rankings if results go her way but David, a
previous incumbent of the World No.1 position, could stand in El
Sherbini’s way with the duo seeded to face off in a potentially
electrifying quarter-final matchup.
El Sherbini has won the last four meetings between the pair, with
the most recent coming in the British Open, but is wary of the
threat that David, who will be backed by a partizan home crowd,
poses to her dream of becoming the winner of the most lucrative
Women’s World Championship of all time.
"Beating any player even 100 times doesn't count in squash," she
"I will just go in there giving each match 100 per cent
concentration and sticking to my game plan. Nicol is a legend and
will always be a legend so playing her anytime is never easy, no
matter the result, and I am looking forward to a great match if we
both make it to play each other.
"Winning the British Open was certainly a great boost to my career
as I was always dreaming of winning a big title, that’s what any
player dreams of. But the World Championship is something different
and I will be going there as if nothing happened. I will be going
there as if nothing happened and I am starting again from the
beginning, match by match.
"Becoming the World Champion would mean everything to me, it's what
I dream of all the time. I will give it everything, for myself, my
parents, my team, my club and my country, Egypt."
El Sherbini kickstarts her event against Australia’s Donna Urquhart,
with a fixture against either Dipika Pallikal and Annie Au to follow
if she wins.
All matches will be played at the National Squash Centre between
Monday April 25 - Saturday April 30, Bukit Jalil and admittance to
the event is free of charge. For more information and details, visit
States No.1 Amanda Sobhy insists that she is not feeling any
pressure ahead of the biggest tournament on the Women’s Tour, the
upcoming PSA Women’s World Championship, and is relishing the chance
to compete as the seventh seed when the action gets under way in
Kuala Lumpur on Monday April 25.
Since graduating from Harvard last summer with a degree in Social
Anthropology, Sobhy has committed her full attention to professional
squash and the 2015/16 campaign has proved to be something of a
breakthrough season for the charismatic American.
After consolidating her position in the world’s top ten she also
reached her first ever World Series final in the iconic setting of
New York’s Grand Central Terminal three months ago during the
prestigious J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - where she narrowly
missed out on lifting the coveted title in front of home support
after losing to Nour El Sherbini. Now recognised as one of the
world’s leading players, Sobhy is heading to Malaysia with a
"I can't believe this is my first World Championship in over five
years," she said.
"The last one I played was in Sharm El Sheikh back in 2010 and I
didn't even qualify, so I'm definitely looking forward to playing in
the most prestigious event on tour.
"It's always a dream to be crowned the World Champion and the fact
that I can finally compete in it again now that I have graduated is
just a great feeling. I'm not nervous for it since I am the underdog
here and don't really have to prove anything, so I'm just going to
go out there and take in match by match and give it my best.
"I am pretty content with my performance this season and cracking
into single digits finally. Since this is my first full season on
the Tour now that I have graduated, I managed to live up to all my
seedings or better in every tournament, which I am happy about.
Reaching the finals of the Tournament of Champions was by far my
favourite week to date on the pro circuit and it was a bit of a
breakthrough moment for me in the season to show that I belong up
there in the rankings."
At the age of just 22, Sobhy has firmly established herself as
arguably her country’s greatest ever player and became the first
American-born player to break into the top 10 across both the Men’s
and Women’s game in September 2014, in addition to being the only
American-born female finalist in the Tournament of Champions.
With American hopes riding on her shoulders, Sobhy admits that she
is using that for momentum as she readies herself for a title
challenge in Malaysia in the most lucrative Women’s World
"It would be absolutely amazing to be the first American to win the
World Championship, not only for myself, but also for squash in the
US," said Sobhy.
"However, I'm not going to put pressure on myself by thinking about
that during the event, but I may use it to fuel me to push even
harder in my matches.
"It would mean the world to me to become the new World Champion. I
am speechless just thinking about it."
First up for Sobhy is a meeting with a qualifier and, if she
progresses unscathed, she is seeded to meet Raneem El Welily, who
she beat in the Tournament of Champions, in the last eight.
All matches will be played at the National Squash Centre, Bukit
Jalil and admittance to the event is free of charge. In addition to
the $185,000 purse on offer, the victor will also win a brand new
Citroen DS4 car. For more information and details, visit the
tournament website here: