Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 5-11, 11-3, 11-6, 15-13 (49m)
Whatever those two had for breakfast, but I was a double ration of it!
The H2H for those two was 6/6, with Nouran winning their 5 last encounters. But maybe a bit too much expectation/pressure at the start of the match, mixed with Amanda’s on fire start, and you have a very weird crowd/0, 6/1, 9/3 for Mandy as her dad keeps encouraging her. The game is played – like the rest of the match actually, at a ridiculously fast pace, 11/5 in 9m.
No errors from Amanda, awarded a stroke, 4 errors for the Egyptian, that makes 5 points given away.
Second game sees the “Awakening of the Terminator”! The mirror image from the precedent game, 4/0, 4/3, and zoom for Nouran to 11/3, 6m short game, with this time Amanda giving away 5 points, 4 errors 1 stroke, and only one error from Nouran.
An 8 minute game will follow, close up to 5/5, again a run of 5 points for the Egyptian, 10/5, to take the game 11/6 in 8m.
The fourth looks going to the same direction, 3/0, but Godzillette (lady Godzilla) was now ready for the ULTIMATE BATTLE THEY CAN BE ONLY ONE!
The pace, ridiculous. And I didn’t know anybody could hit as hard for that long!!!! JZZZZZZZ! 4/4 little advantage for Mandy, then 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. The crowd is on fire, and only Mr Khaled Sobhy is going “Come on Mandy!”. Bless him.
The next 10m will see a seesaw battle between the two superwarriors, with Mandy saving 2 match ball, getting herself two game balls but it’s finally the Terminator that is the last one alive on there, after a pickup from Nouran had been checked and found absolutely fine.
15/13, 20m last game.
Incredible, absolutely incredible war/battle between two fair Champions. Merci.
In the day’s opening match, World No.1 and 2021 runner up Nouran Gohar came through an astounding battle with World No.4 Amanda Sobhy to reach the final once again. Ahead of the game, Cairo native Gohar was much fancied, owing in no small part to a run which had seen her win five consecutive matches against Sobhy without dropping a game.
While Sobhy is famed for her attacking instincts, she played an intelligent tactical game in the first, lifting the ball in an attempt to nullify Gohar’s devastating attacks. This proved extremely rewarding for the American, as she deservedly took the first game 11-5, to the stunned silence of the crowd.
The anticipated Gohar response came with gusto in the second game as she levelled with a quick-fire 11-3 win. Worryingly for the smattering of Sobhy fans in the crowd, was that despite the American reading Gohar well, particularly when the Egyptian went cross-court, she was unable to keep the home favourite at bay.
At one game each, the third was crucial, and both players stepped up the intensity in a bid to capture a crucial lead. At 5-5, the game and match were delicately poised. Somehow, the top seed was able to find yet another gear, as she rapidly sped away from Sobhy to take a vital lead with an 11-6 win.
In a thrilling fourth game, both players exchanged the lead, with Sobhy continuing to have joy when pushing Gohar to the back, while the Egyptian targeted the front. As the game wore on, neither Gohar nor Sobhy was able to pull away. At 10-9, Gohar had the opportunity to win the match, but Sobhy was able to save the match ball. Now, it was Sobhy’s turn to have game ball, only for an error from Sobhy to bring the scores to 11-11. Sobhy was able to save another match ball with a brilliant drop with the scores at 12-11, but was unable to force her way through, as Gohar finally took the match 3-1 with a 15-13 win.
Amanda on Twitter
Not the end result I wanted, but proud of how I played tonight! Here’s to producing more squash like that in the future! 🤌🏽🔥💪🏽
“It wasn’t easy for sure. I’ve played Amanda at every tournament, it has been a habit. I think she kept her best to the last and most important tournament. Obviously, she played really well. It was a very tough match, but it’s good to have a match like this, just before tomorrow, to get some nerves out. It’s the biggest occasion you can play in and, in front of a rally nice crowd like this, you want to perform really well. It comes with a bit of pressure, but I’m just glad with the way I dealt with the pressure and the conditions and everything. I’m just happy to be in a second final tomorrow.
“It’s easier said than done [to manage the expectations of a home crowd]. I was trying to remind myself that I want to play well, stick to my plan and not really think about the occasion. But you can’t help it, it comes anyway and you just have to try to refocus and know you’re not going to play your best every day, but you have to come through and that’s what world champions are made of. I was just trying to do this, and just try to think, not about playing my best, but I just want to win in the end.”
“I’m not really thinking about [my potential opponent tomorrow]. Both are going to be very tough to play tomorrow and I just want to focus on myself. El Sherbini knows what she’s doing, she’s been World Champion five times and it’s like a habit for her to play World Champs. El Tayeb has played some unbelievable squash and it’s not going to be easy, but I know what I’m doing and I’m going to be prepared for tomorrow.”