It was Al-Sherbini’s first win of the year as it was for Al-Shorbagi who had been away from the Tour for four months. It was his first final since September’s Egyptian Open as he seeks to regain his world No 1 ranking.
Al-Shorbagi was able to overcome Welshman Joel Makin, world No 8, 3-0 in a fabulous match. The 31-year-old Al-Shorbagi proved to himself and the spectators that he still has a lot to give now and in the coming years. In a 68-minute match that went back and forth Al-Shorbagi finished all three sets in his favour, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, to regain his self-confidence and the world’s respect.
“The tournament was a target for me to be my first step on the road to regaining my title as world No 1 and proved to be an excellent one,” Al-Shorbagi said after the match. “I am very satisfied with my performance today. I performed very well and was able to win three love. I am sure and I know I can gain the title once again.”
In the women’s final, world No 1 Al-Sherbini beat world seeded No 2, New Zealand’s Joelle King, 3-1 for a comeback victory.
Ahead of the final match, Al-Sherbini boasted a 12-1 record against King.
“I am very happy after playing such a tough match. It tastes different when you have a strong opponent as King and you exert your utmost effort and show your talent to win,” Al-Sherbini said. “I was very well-focused and she surprised me by her performance while I was a bit hesitant going back and forth but I am happy that I made it at last and won the title.”
“I have a long and tough schedule so there is no big time for celebration, just some fun today and I have to start preparing for my upcoming tournament next week, the Windy City Open which begins on 23 February.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 February, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.