Nour El Sherbini
Nour El Sherbini

2021 Day EIGHT : Semi-Finals

The finals of the PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family will be contested by top seeded Egyptians Nour El Sherbini, Nouran Gohar, Ali Farag and Mohamed ElShorbagy after they claimed semi-final victories at the University Club of Chicago.

Sherbini reached as sixth successive Worlds final as she despatched home favourite Amanda Sobhy, while Gohar won in equally emphatic style against Camille Serme to keep her hopes of becoming World #1 and World Champion alive.

Farag prevailed in a repeat of his 2019 Worlds final in Chicago to end the reign of Tarek Momen, while ElShorbagy guaranteed himself the World #1 spot come August as he beat Paul Coll to reach his third Worlds final.

You can watch the matches live via SQUASHTV and various broadcasters worldwide, follow the results via live scoring, keep up to date with our social feeds, and we’ll have updates and player reaction here on this page, with an end-of-day roundup at the end.

PSA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS presented by The Walter Family : SEMI-FINALS

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [5] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)                   11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)
[2] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [3] Camille Serme (Fra)                        11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (36m)

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2 [3] Tarek Momen (Egy)             10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 (84m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1 [4] Paul Coll (Nzl)            11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 (50m)


El Sherbini Makes History with Sixth Successive Final

Egypt’s World No.1 Nour El Sherbini has booked her place in her sixth successive PSA World Championship final courtesy of an 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 victory over USA’s home hope Amanda Sobhy.

El Sherbini is the first woman in history to reach six straight World Championship finals, with the great Jahangir Khan being the only other player to achieve the same feat.

The World No.1 knew she needed to win in order to keep compatriot Nouran Gohar at bay in the race for top spot in the women’s World Rankings and she did just that with a complete performance against USA No.1 Sobhy, leaving the World No.7 with no answer to her dominance.

“Amanda has been doing really well this week,” said El Sherbini afterwards.

“And to be the first US player to be in the semis of the World Championship and I know how hard it is to be in a semi-final of a World Championship and playing in front of a home crowd with everyone supporting her. I took a bit of an advantage of the crowd supporting her, so it put pressure on her more than me. I knew that everyone would be behind her, I wanted to be relaxed and calm and focus on my game plan. Thankfully, I had my dad here, he is the main support for me today and all the crowd I needed today, he’s the main reason for my win.

“I just see him outside and the look in his eyes, he’s always smiling, so he gives me the confidence and makes me relaxed. Maybe, he’s not saying anything but once I look at him he gives me all the confidence I need.

“Being in the final of the World Championship without losing a game makes me more confident and want to win this tournament by playing my best tomorrow.

“It’s huge for me to trying to win a fifth World Championship. I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself or think a lot about it. I have one more match and make a good plan. Just try to focus, play squash and that’s it.”

Result: [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [5] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 (25m)

Farag Reaches Second Worlds Final in Chicago

World No.1 Ali Farag secured his place in the final of the PSA World Championships after a thrilling five-game victory over defending champion Tarek Momen at the University Club of Chicago.

The two Egyptians were neck and neck for most of the match, with Momen fighting back in the first to take the lead on the tie-break, before Farag countered in the second to draw level.

Farag, who lifted the World Championship title back in 2019 when the event was held at Chicago’s Union Station, continued to wrestle back the dominance of the match as he went 2-1 up in a tight third.

However, Momen refused to call it quits there as he once again forced Farag into his quick pace, taking the lead before Farag was forced off court momentarily to receive treatment on his knee. It looked as though that had taken the wind out of the World No.1’s sails as Momen was able to power ahead to push it to a fifth.

The momentum once again swung back into Farag’s favour though, as he went 4-0 up before Momen began to grind his way back in.

An enthralling fast paced rally at the end of the match saw the crowd on the edge of their seats as Farag held his nerve to convert and reach his second World Championship final.

Ali Farag (right) embraces Tarek Momen (left)
Ali Farag (right) embraces Tarek Momen (left)

“Let me just start by saying that I really love Tarek as a person,” said Farag in his post match interview.

“I said it last time after my match, but I have to reiterate how much of a good friend he has been, advising me on everything. The way we played the match and how intense it was. It was very physical, I couldn’t celebrate afterwards because I was cramping in my fingers, I don’t know for one more point how I would have held the racket. Thank god, the last one went in. The first was weird, Nour El Sherbini was on fuego, we didn’t really get the time to warm up properly, let alone with the fast ball in the first one – the pace was a little erratic and I couldn’t control that.

“If you fail to do that against Tarek then you’re going to be in big trouble. Even then I still had game ball up, he did well to clinch that game, I felt that I needed to slow the pace down and I think I did that well in the second. The third, even though I won it, I don’t think I was in control for most of it and then in the fourth I got tired.

“It very rarely happens to me against any other player, but against Tarek when you get into his pace, you lose it. Maybe, not very proud with the way I threw it away and then the knee thing happened and I was all over the place. I don’t know how I won that fifth, I don’t know what happened. I just said ‘Ali, find a way’.

“Winning the World Championship title against your main rival would be an awesome thing to do. I would love to play with Mohamed, even though he is on fuego again. He has been playing pretty good squash. Paul has been to the final before, so he knows how to get there, and if I play with him again it is going to be very tough.

“I’m happy for my parents, I see them there in the crowd. My mum is better at hiding being tense! I love them both so much and I’m so happy to be in another final.”

Result: [1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 (84m)

Gohar Axes Serme to Reach First Worlds Final

Egypt’s Nouran Gohar has ensured it will be an all-Egyptian women’s World Championship final and a straight shootout for the World No.1 spot as she takes on compatriot Nour El Sherbini tomorrow following her straight-games victory over France’s Camille Serme.

World No.2 Gohar was on fire and blew Serme away with her dominating play to reach her first World Championship final by an 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 scoreline in 36 minutes.

Gohar now has a chance to not only get her hands on the prestigious World Championship trophy for the first time in her career, but also dislodge El Sherbini at the top of the World Rankings if she was to win in Chicago tomorrow.

Nouran Gohar
Nouran Gohar

“Obviously reaching the final doesn’t feel the same as the semi-final, even though it’s still something good,” said Gohar.

“I was really eager for this one. I wanted to go at least one step better and take my chances. I’m just happy that I was able to do it today and not next year, because I can’t wait another year, I had to do it this time!

“I’ve been in the same situation when Laura [Massaro], Raneem [El Welily] and Nicol [David] all were playing. I stayed for like two years not being able to pass through them and the quarter finals and it was very frustrating at that time. I just think maybe it’s our time to do the same with the other players.

“The top five right now are really competitive. You can see Amanda did an upset and beat Hania 3-0 in the quarter finals. Anyone can beat anyone in the top 10 right now, it’s how you prepare on that day and handle the pressure. A World Championship is different as well, the pressure is something else and the one that is able to handle the pressure better is the one that wins.

“If I win tomorrow then it’s a bonus to become World No.1, but the match itself is something else. I want to win the match itself, not thinking about the rankings, not about the title – it’s just another day and another match and we’ll see what happens.”

Result: [2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [3] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 (36m)

ElShorbagy Reclaims No.1 Spot After Beating Coll

Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy ensured he will overthrow rival Ali Farag as the new men’s World No.1 on August 1 after he overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll in a ferocious performance from the man dubbed ‘The Beast’.

ElShorbagy, who will record the 50th month of his career atop the PSA Men’s World Rankings next month, has been gunning for the coveted ranking ever since losing it to Farag in October, 2020, and he will take on his fellow Egyptian in the final of the sport’s most prestigious tournament after beating 2019-20 runner-up Coll 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 in 50 minutes.

The Bristol-based 30-year-old has been in red-hot form throughout the week here in Chicago and never allowed Coll a sniff in the first two games as he outclassed the Kiwi.

Coll breathed new life into the match during an impressive third-game performance as ElShorbagy’s ferocity died off a bit, and he became the first man to take a game off the Egyptian this week. 

But ElShorbagy pushed forward on the ’T’ in the fourth and volleyed almost everything in sight as he closed out the victory to move through to his fourth World Championship final.

He will now attempt to win his second World Championship title following his 2017 win over younger brother Marwan in Manchester, while it will be his fourth World Championship final.

He is only the third Egyptian to achieve that feat after Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour, with Ashour beating ElShorbagy in 2012 and 2014.

Mohamed ElShorbagy
Mohamed ElShorbagy

“The job is not done,” said ElShorbagy.

“One of my goals was to get the World No.1 spot, which is now in the bag, but tomorrow is a big day. I’m playing my biggest rival on tour, we’ve been rivals for the last three or four years now, and I can’t wait to get back on court with him. We haven’t played in a big match like this in a long time.

“This is the first game I lost in this event, and I think it’s good to get tested. All of my matches have been tricky, but to lose one game and to have him make me earn the win are positives for tomorrow. I’m really glad I responded the way I should, and I’m happy to be back in the World Champs final again.

“When you lose a game like that, you need to not panic and breathe. The first thing I needed to do after the third was to get my thoughts together. I got my tactics right at the beginning of the court, and meditation is a big part of my training.

“As you grow older you learn more things to do off court than can improve you on court, and I’ve been doing it for a few years now. It doesn’t get bigger than playing the World Championship final, it’s the biggest match of the year. 

“It’s great to have the two best players in the world contesting it, I think we’ll both give a great match for all the squash fans around the whole world and in the crowd here in Chicago. I really can’t wait, and I’m really excited to be on court with him tomorrow.”

Result: [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [4] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 11-5, 11-3, 4-11, 11-8 (50m)