World No 5 Nour Al-Tayeb and world No 2 Mohamed Al-Shorbagi, both from Egypt, lifted the first titles of the new season after defeating compatriots and world No 1 Raneem Al-Welili and Ali Farag to claim the J P Morgan China Squash Open.
Al-Tayeb stunned defending champion Al-Welili in a thrilling five-game battle to take the first silverware of the new PSA World Tour season as she displayed a formidable performance on the glass court atop the Peninsula Shanghai. The J P Morgan China Squash Open is a PSA World Tour Gold tournament.
It was not the first time that Al-Tayeb beat Al-Welili. In the 2018-19 PSA World Championships in Chicago, Al-Tayeb shocked Al-Welili with a victory over the reigning world champion.
It is Al-Tayeb’s first time in her career to be crowned as the women’s China Open champion.
“It didn’t seem like it was ending. I can’t believe I’m the winner,” said Al-Tayeb afterwards. “Throughout the whole match I was reminding myself that it’s good to be in the final. I had to remind myself every now and then that I was playing against the world champion, Al-Welili, and that the finish line might not happen.
Al-Shorbagi & Al-Tayeb
“I can’t believe I won. It feels a bit like a dream because throughout the match, I was tired and I had to keep reminding myself of one more rally at a time. It’s a dream start to the season and hopefully I can keep going,” Al-Tayeb said.
Meanwhile, Al-Shorbagi moved a step closer to claiming his world No 1 spot back after defeating current teammate Farag to win the men’s China Open title.
Al-Shorbagi, the 2016 champion, started ahead to win the first set 11-3. He kept up the pressure to win the second in spite of Farag’s performance but Farag did not lose hope and won the third. However, Al-Shorbagi had vowed to win his second China Open title to snatch back his world No 1 crown.
“It’s the kind of match I have wanted to play as I want to play finals especially with Farag,” the 28-year-old Al-Shorbagi said. “I don’t want to surrender easily this season and I will do my best to grab the title back so I will be harsh this season. What he did last season was unbelievable. He lost only in the quarters last year. I’ve never faced a guy as consistent as him as he is too tough to play.”
The next PSA World Tour tournament takes places from 9-14 September when the Open de France-Nantes 2019, presented by Tailor Capital, begins.