Doha, Qatar: World No.1 Nour El Sherbini yesterday cruised to her second QTerminals Qatar Classic final while both the men's defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy and former winner Karim Abdel Gawad suffered shocking defeats.
El Sherbini, who finished as runner-up in the last Qatar Classic women's event back in 2015 before it went on a seven-year break, advanced with a 25-minute 3-0 (11-5, 11-6, 11-2) mauling of World No.10 Tinne Gilis.
She will take on Hania El Hammamy in an all-Egyptian final tomorrow. El Hammamy made it the final after a dominant win against USA’s Amanda Sobhy, who stunned World No.2 and top seed Nouran Gohar on Wednesday.
In yesterday's semi-final at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, the 27-year-old El Sherbini immediately got off to a strong start.
El Sherbini, who on Wednesday overcame Gilis’ sister Nele, won the opening game 11-5 before doubling her advantage with an 11-6 win.
The Belgian, who had lost all five of her previous matches against El Sherbini, failed to match the prowess of her counterpart yesterday and fell 2-11 in the third game.
“It’s amazing to be playing [against Gilis] like this. She’s had an amazing tournament and we’ve been training together a lot, we’ve actually being doing the same routine every day!," El Sherbini said after extending her record to 6-0 against Gilis.
Her oncoming opponent, El Hammamy was also heading for a dominant win before Sobhy staged a fierce fight in the last game. The duo who headed into yesterday's match having a 2:2 career win record against each other, involved in an entertaining display of action in the last game before the Egyptian wrapped up a 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 12-10) win in 34 minutes.
“That was exactly the type of form I was looking to find in Paris, but I wasn’t able to. I’m definitely very proud of how I’m picking myself up," El Hammamy said, referring to last month's Paris Squash 2023 tournament in which she was stunned by Sobhy's sister Sabrina in the third round.
“Each match, I’ve been working on improving each round, each game and I’m very positive of the way I’m doing on court this week.
“Amanda had a good win last night and she’s very dangerous on the volley. I just tried to stick to my plan, and I’m very pleased that I managed," El Hammamy said.
Meanwhile, in the men's side, title-holder ElShorbagy was stunned by Egypt's Mazen Hesham who advanced with a 3-2 (8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10) win in a thrilling 76-minute encounter which saw late drama.
The former No.1 ElShorbagy protested against the deciding point, claiming he was unprepared for Hesham's serve. Despite the Englishman's claim, it looked like he had accepted the serve, costing him the last point as Hesham secured the victory.
“I’m pretty happy to be able to reach the semi final after so many years. I wish I could have done better from the beginning, I had two leads in the first two games but blew it." Hesham said.
“I wish I could have a better start, I wish I could have kept going in the fifth [game] when I was leading. I’m learning, it’s all new to me.
“Hopefully I can learn from this and get even better in the future," Hesham said.
World No.1 Ali Farag and No.2 Diego Elias also made the semis. Egypt's Farag beat compatriot Tarek Momen 3-1 (11-9, 8-11, 15-13, 11-4), while Peruvian Elias ousted former champion Karim Abdel Gawad with a 3-1 win (11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5).
Welshman Joel Makin also reached the semis by defeating Scotland's Greg Lobban in straight games (11-2, 11-9, 11-5).
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