Nouran Gohar successfully defended her US Squash Open title, winning the crown for the third successive time.
The world No 1 Gohar of Egypt clinched the prestigious title from her fellow countrywoman Nour Al-Sherbini, the world No 3, in a thrilling final. Four sets saw the reigning world champion Gohar retaining her US Open title by winning 3-1 (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6).
According to the Professional Squash Association, the 25-year-old Gohar became only the second player after the legendary Nicol David to win three US Open titles on the bounce, all over Al-Sherbini who is now a four-time runner-up at this tournament after final appearances in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
In the previous two editions of the US Open women’s final, Gohar had beaten two other Egyptian champions, then, for the title, defeating both Nour Al-Tayeb and Hania Al-Hammami in the 2019 and 2021 editions, respectively. This year, she added Al-Sherbini to that list to capture her 19th PSA title.
Gohar has now won two championship titles of the season: the South Western Women’s Open last month and this US Open. All in all, she won six championships in 2022.
Following her triumph, Gohar told PSA.com that it was hard against Nour. “Even when she is not playing her best, she has the know-how to win. Nour is a great player and playing against her is always a joy for me though it also needs more mental than anything else. I am happy with the way I played the final,” Gohar said.
The world’s top player revealed that she doesn’t want to lose her top ranked spot under any circumstances. She added that when she thinks about the rankings too much, it puts her under pressure when she doesn’t need to. Gohar explained that when she goes to a tournament, all she wants is to win and collect the maximum points and that is the goal she focuses on in any event “and nothing else”.
In the men’s event, it was unfortunate that Egypt’s world No 2 Ali Farag lost the title to Peru’s Diego Elias, the world No 4, because of an injury that occurred two minutes into the game, which forced the game to be discontinued.
The 2017 and 2019 US Open champion, Farag suffered a knee problem sustained during his semi-final match with his compatriot, the world No 8 Marwan Al-Shorbagi. Farag carried his injury into the final, however, it was clear he was unable to move properly during the first couple of rallies, forcing him to shake hands with his rival and quit the game.
Elias thus became the first Peruvian to win the prestigious US Open and his 12th PSA title and his second Platinum title, whilst it’s his third tournament win of 2022.
Though he won the title, Elias said that while he was happy, “I just don’t know how to feel”. He said he was ready for a “big battle” with Farag, adding that he felt sorry for him, and didn’t want his win to end that way.
The next stop on the PSA world tour will be the Grasshopper Cup in Zurich from 18-23 October.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 20 October, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.