The semi-finals of the 2020-21 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family take place today, with action beginning at 17:00 local time (GMT-5) at the University Club of Chicago with much more than just a place in the final at stake.
Reigning World Champion Nour El Sherbini and home hero Amanda Sobhy kick off the day’s action.
El Sherbini needs to reach the final, at least, of this event as World No.2 Nouran Gohar is hot on her heels in the pursuit of top spot in the World Rankings as she takes on France’s Camille Serme in the second women’s semi-final.
In the men’s semi-finals, Mohamed ElShorbagy just needs to beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll tonight to go back to the top of the men’s World Rankings in August.
If the World No.2 was to win and reach the final then it would not matter what current No.1 Ali Farag’s result against Tarek Momen was. Farag and defending World Champion Momen will battle it out in the second semi-final of the day, while ElShorbagy and Coll go head-to-head in the last match of the night.
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Here’s the Order of Play
(All times are local – GMT-5)
Nour El Sherbini v Amanda Sobhy
Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini and USA’s Amanda Sobhy will battle it out for a place in the PSA World Championship final in the first match of the day.
World No.7 Sobhy has already made history this week as the first US-born player to reach the last four stage of the prestigious event following her victory over Hania El Hammamy in the quarter finals. Sobhy will be keen to keep the home crowd entertained though as she looks to reach her first World Championship final.
For El Sherbini there is much more than just her title defence of the World Championship at stake this evening as she needs to reach the final in order to keep compatriot Gohar at bay in the hunt for the World No.1 spot in the August rankings.
If El Sherbini was to lose to Sobhy then she would relinquish No.1 spot to Gohar come August.
Sobhy and El Sherbini have faced each other 11 times in their careers, with the Egyptian claiming seven of those victories, including the last one in the final of the CIB Black Ball Open.
However, Sobhy did claim a shock recent win against the World No.1 when she axed her in a five-game thriller at December’s CIB Black Ball Open.
Both players have spent similar times on court with El Sherbini racking up 106 minutes, while Sobhy is ahead with 128 minutes spent on court.
El Sherbini is yet to drop a game this tournament, while Sobhy has dropped just one, which came against Canada’s Hollie Naughton in round three.
Thanks to her clean sweep of results, El Sherbini sits top of the SquashLevels power ratings with a level of 15,138.
Meanwhile, Sobhy sits sixth on the power ratings with a level of 12,513. According to their algorithms, the Egyptian has a 81% likelihood of winning tonight’s contest.
But, can the American continue her impressive charge on home soil and cause another upset to reach the final?
Ali Farag v Tarek Momen
It’s World No.1 Ali Farag against reigning World Champion Tarek Momen in the first men’s semi-final of the day in Chicago.
Momen will be looking to take one step closer to defending his title that he won in Qatar in 2019, but comes up against World No.1 Farag who has strong form in Chicago after winning his World Championship title here at the start of 2019 and the Windy City Open last year.
The two Egyptians have faced each other 14 times before previously, with Farag leading the head-to-head 9-4 and winning the last three meetings.
Both players have endured big tournaments in Chicago so far with Farag spending 139 minutes on court so far, while Momen is ahead with 163 minutes spent on court.
The semi-finals will see Farag face one of his compatriots for the first time this week with his run so far seeing him defeat: Faraz Khan, Eain Yow Ng, Miguel Rodriguez and Diego Elias.
Momen, meanwhile, has come up against a lot of his fellow countrymen so far with victories over: Asim Khan, Youssef Soliman, Youssef Ibrahim and Marwan ElShorbagy en route to the last four.
SquashLevels see this one going down to the wire with Farag coming out on top in five games – but do you agree?
Farag currently sits at #2 on the power ratings, while Momen is at #7 and has a win likelihood of 31%.
Camille Serme v Nouran Gohar
France’s Camille Serme and Egypt’s Nouran Gohar face off in the second women’s semi-final.
However, there is much more than a place in the final up for grabs for Gohar as she intends to keep the pressure on El Sherbini in order to move ahead of her in the World Rankings.
Serme, meanwhile, has made it clear that she has been gearing up for the World Championships and is aiming to peak in order to achieve her dream of becoming World Champion for the first time in her career.
There have been 15 previous meetings between these two, with Gohar holding the advantage with 10 wins to Serme’s five.
The Frenchwoman’s last victory over Gohar came at the 2020 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions when she took out the World No.2 in an epic five-game battle in New York in the semi-finals before going on to take the title.
Gohar has claimed the last two matches, however, with wins at the 2020 Carol Weymuller Open and CIB PSA World Tour Finals.
It’s close between these two on the SquashLevels ratings with Serme sitting in third place and Gohar in second.
A 3-0 win over Egypt’s Salma Hany yesterday saw Serme improve her rating, while Gohar took a 3-1 victory over New Zealand’s Joelle King.
SquashLevels think, according to their algorithm, that Gohar will edge this battle, but can Serme triumph to cause an upset?
Mohamed ElShorbagy v Paul Coll
The final semi-final sees New Zealand’s Paul Coll go up against Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Tonight means more than just a place in the final for ElShorbagy as a win over Coll would see him take back his place at the top of the men’s World Rankings in August, no matter what Farag’s result is.
He faces a tough battle though as Coll aims to reach his second successive World Championship final after losing out to Momen in the showpiece in 2019.
Coll faced a big battle against ElShorbagy’s compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad last night as he was forced to come from two games down and 4-0 down in the third to triumph.
ElShorbagy, meanwhile, has been a man on a mission, not dropping a single game throughout the entire event so far.
There have been some big matches between these two in the past, but the head-to-head record doesn’t read well for Coll, with ElShorbagy winning eight of their nine meetings.
Coll’s one and only win over ‘the Beast’ came in the quarter finals of last year’s Windy City Open on this very court in Chicago…could history repeat itself for the Kiwi?
ElShorbagy has endured considerably less time on court than his opponent with 141 minutes so far to Coll’s whopping 218 minutes – the most of any semi-finalist.
ElShorbagy sits top of the men’s SquashLevels ratings thanks to his flawless week so far in Chicago, which has seen him win every match 3-0.
Coll, meanwhile, is at #4 with a 66,192 rating. However, SquashLevels predict this one to be another close call with their algorithm predicting the Egyptian will edge it in five.
Who do you think will reach the final?
Tune in at 17:00 local time (GMT-5) to find out!