SF : Fram reports – Nouran Gohar 3-1 Hania El Hammamy

[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-2 [2] Hania El Hammamy (Egy) 12-14, 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 (94m)

Fighting demons.

It’s been well documented: Hania complains about Nouran’s movement consistently and constantly. I am not good enough technically to judge if that occurs as often as the Gazelle states. I can see some bad contact, but I can’t see them as often as Hania seems to encounter on court.

It’s hard to write a report when you are not astute enough technically to assess if Hania’s complains are justified. Or not.

One thing is sure. Nouran’s movement is constantly at the heart of Hania’s focus. And I feel that’s a big part of the problem. Is she trying to prove to the ref that Nouran is in the way? Is she so focused on the movement that she is not looking for other ways to get to the ball, or maybe finding solutions that would prevent those situations?

The thing is, she is the loser in those confrontations. She loses her focus. She gets angry with Nouran, with the ref, and with herself. She even got penalised at the end of the third for descent, starting the 4th with 0/1. And she loses point after point after point. And that, at the moment, is more of a problem, I feel, than Nouran’s movement.

Her match fitness, or more precisely the lack of it – she was injured, hadn’t play since London Classic, and didn’t come to Gouna – cost her the second game. After a HUGE first game, 30m of intense mental and physical gladiator like opener, where Hania needed 5 game balls to close the game 14/12, Hania was just gone, and instead of building on the momentum, the Gazelle hit the wall, 4 errors out of the 5 first points of the second game. She then lost the game to a very fired up Nouran 11/2 in 8m.

Important fact. Nouran didn’t make a single error in the first three games. You read correctly. NOT. A. SINGLE. ERROR. That’s one hour of intense squash people. 60m.

Back in the 3rd, the girls are chatting to the ref who is doing a good job of keeping them focus on the match instead of on each other. Nouran is on top, 4/1, 6/3. I can see a nice block from Nouran, but no let says the ref. What do I know. “she used her elbow” claims Hania. “Minimal interference”.

Follows a “can we hit the ball as it got cold” from Hania, Nouran not having it… Felt like a “kindergarten moment”.

Again, all those little interruptions do not help Hania, who makes 3 errors in 5 points, 10/5 Nouran, and 11/5.  18m.

We are now in the 4th. Back against the wall for the Gazelle. Nouran is flying. 3/0. Hania is hit on the head and get on the floor, no let but she is allowed to get treatment for contributed injury. About 4m interruption.

Nouran keeps going, 5/0, 8/2.

Pride kicks in for the Gazelle, who out of the blue plays her best squash, stringing 5 points. We want a 5 setter, and the crowd supports Hania in that direction. But two errors at that crucial moment, from 7/8, Nouran is now 10/7 match ball.

A video decision gives Hania a let but a superb backhand deception wrong-foots Hania, and the Terminator gets to have 4th World Final.

Nouran :  “I’m feeling awesome. It’s my fourth time being in the final and this is very special. I don’t know how I do it without my coach in my corner today. I’m very grateful for that as without him I don’t think I could have won today. He knows he really well and the crowd gave me that push the extra mile.

“Both of us were very tired at the end there, but we gave it all because of this beautiful crowd.

“Everyone that has seen me and been around me, especially my close ones. I’ve shown them some hard times because I always want everything to be perfect and I think I gave it my heart and I think I gave it everything. I do a lot of sacrifices to be in this place right now, especially this year with the injury. It was a good time for me to reflect and see things in a different perspective.

“I don’t think I’ve enjoyed my squash as much as I am doing right now and I think it’s helping me perform well. Even with the pressure of the event, you think you can’t enjoy it but today I did enjoy myself on court. I’m really proud of myself.”