El Hammamy beats El Sherbini to be crowned Black Ball Open Champion
Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy defied the odds to be crowned the 2020 CIB Women’s Black Ball Squash Open champion after beating four-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the final in Cairo, Egypt to lift her maiden Platinum title.
19-year-old El Hammamy had already enjoyed an impressive week on home soil, taking out three higher seeded players in France’s World No.3 Camille Serme, USA’s World No.8 Amanda Sobhy and England’s World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry en route to the final. And the World No.10 further cemented her place at the top of the women’s game with a formidable performance against El Sherbini in a thrilling five-game battle.
El Hammamy and El Sherbini have met three times before with former World No.1 El Sherbini claiming comfortable victories each time. However, she came up against an entirely different prospect in the Black Ball Open final as El Hammamy showed how far she has come with a mature performance on one of squash’s biggest stages to hold off a resilient El Sherbini, who twice came back from a game down.
World No.10 El Hammamy took the opening game, taking advantage of a slow start from El Sherbini, before the reigning World Champion twice fought back to level the scores.
However, El Hammamy held her nerve at the crucial moment to save Championship ball from the grips of El Sherbini and then convert her own at the second time of asking on the tie-break to seal her maiden Platinum title.
The title win also means she has automatically qualified for the season-ending CIB PSA World Tour Finals, which are scheduled to take place in June.
“I’m out of words,” said El Hammamy. “I’m living a fairy tale. This morning, I was just hoping to play a good match, not like in the Worlds, after beating Camille [Serme] where I just didn’t show up. I just wanted to enjoy my first ever Platinum final, and prove to myself I’m not too far away from the top girls.
“I think I’ve played the toughest matches of my career this week. I’ve put in a lot of effort to win this title. I’m really proud of what I’ve done and hopefully I can keep going and keep making the same effort. I worked on my weaknesses, I improved my physical and squash game and I’m really pleased to be beating the top players now.
“I’ve played against Nour a few times and they were all straight-games. I kept learning from each match and playing against a four-time World Champion is not easy at all, she’s a fighter and a champion, I’m so happy to beat her today.”
El Sherbini added afterwards: “Hania showed today how much of a fighter she is and how much of a good player.
“She’s now there and has won her first Platinum event. Of course, I’m disappointed to lose, but it’s been very tough for me, playing a lot of tournaments, so I’ll try to forget this one and move onto the next one.”
The Black Ball Open is the final PSA World Tour event to take place until the end of April after the PSA announced yesterday the suspension of the PSA Tour due to COVID-19.