Egypt’s Raneem El Welily confirmed her status as the world's top ranked player when she beat her fellow country women, the world No 2 Nour El- Sherbini to win the title of the first edition of the Black Ball Women's Squash Open which was held at the club's premises in 5th settlement in New Cairo during the period from 11 to 15 March.
In front of a high spectator-turn out, both El Welily and El Sherbini, who were playing in their 11th sucessive PSA final, entertained the audience with a world- class performance and an exhilarating five-set game that made the home crowd hold their breath with every ball.
But it was the EL-Welily who ended the game in her favour in 53 minutes as she beat the reigning world champion El Sherbini 3-2 (9-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-1, 11-5) to be crowned as the winner of the inaugural 2019 CIB Black Ball Squash Open champion.
Champion Raneem El Welily (L) with El- Sherbini after the match
Actually, it has been a great season for the winner EL-Welily, who celebrated winning her third title of the 2018-2019 season when winning the Black Ball title. Since the beginning of 2019, EL-Welily achieved two other victories; the China Squash Open and U.S. Open.
“It feels good to have won this match . Playing Nour is never easy and today was a little bit different than any other time we have played,", El Welily addressed the audience from the glass court following her remarkable victory.
“We have both played well and I am very happy to have been a part of this good match. In the fourth set, I was tense, so I decided to go back to basics. Every time we get on court, it’s a different situation. I have got to believe that it’s going to be a different match, a different result, and that the last match doesn’t mean anything", the 30-year old EL-Welily added.
The Black Ball champion also revealed that both El-Sherbini and herself were very good friends off court, and " we fight until the end and respect each other. I think that is why we fought so hard tonight.”
On the other hand, runner up El Sherbini said that It has been a tough week, but "it was a bonus to be playing in Egypt in front of my friends, family and my team. I’m glad I made it to the final here after winning the Worlds a few days ago.
The Black Ball Squash Open is the first major and international women’s squash event of the gold category to be held in Egypt. '" We are glad to be the organisers of such a supreme, and spectacular women's squash event where 24 of the best top ranked players participated. It was a successful event and we are proud of have both the Platinium and Gold events being held by the Black Ball Squash Club." said Mohamed Raef, the tournament director.
"We are planning more squash events this year. In June, we are hosting the Black Ball Juniors Squash Championship. This one is going to be bigger with around 300 participants to take part in a one-week competition. we are lucky to have found this date in the calendar of the PSA. We are also considering a fourth event, so we would have one big event every three months. We'll see if we can apply it in 2019", Raef, told Al Ahram online.
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