El Hammamy and El Sherbini to contest Black Ball Open Final
Egypt’s World No.10 Hania El Hammamy and World No.4 Nour El Sherbini will contest the 2020 CIB Black Ball Open Squash final after they claimed respective wins over England’s No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry and Egypt’s World No.5 Nour El Tayeb in Cairo, Egypt.
World Junior Champion El Hammamy will feature in her first ever PSA Platinum event final after she twice survived a comeback against World No.7 Perry in a five-game thriller to advance to the tournament’s conclusion.
El Hammamy has enjoyed a formidable run on home soil in Cairo, beating France’s World No.3 Camille Serme and USA’s World No.8 Amanda Sobhy in the previous rounds, and the Egyptian ensured that streak continued as she played with experience beyond her years to take an 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 victory in 69 minutes.
“I’m over the moon,” said El Hammamy afterwards. “I can’t believe I’m playing in the final tomorrow. I think this is the toughest tournament I have ever played. I’ve had a lot of tough matches and I’m really proud of myself for pushing and winning such tough battles.
“SJ is very tricky. Whenever I gave her an opening or I changed my plan, she found herself and would take advantage of any loose ball or shot, so I had to be really consistent and stop making mistakes.
“I’ve been watching all the top players and have been dreaming of days like today and reaching these finals. I’ve worked so hard in the off season and in between tournaments to work on my weaknesses and I’m really pleased it’s paying off.”
El Hammamy will face reigning World Champion El Sherbini in the final after she recovered from a game down to beat compatriot and World No.5 El Tayeb in the semi-finals.
Former World No.1 El Sherbini reached the final in Cairo last year but was beaten to the title by World No.1 Raneem El Welily. However, last week’s Windy City Open champion ensured she will have another bite at the cherry as she took out El Tayeb in four games.
27-year-old El Tayeb picked up where she left off from last night’s five-game win against defending champion El Welily as she showed signs of getting back to her best form to take the first game.
It wasn’t long before El Sherbini was able to express her dominance in the match though and showcased her accurate shot-making skills to constantly keep El Tayeb at bay and close out 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 in 46 minutes to reach her fourth final of the season.
“Nour and I have been playing against each other for a long time now,” said El Sherbini. “It’s really good to see her playing back at near her best. I haven’t played for her a long time – I don’t think we’ve played this season. I was prepared for this match and I’m really pleased I won.
“It’s very tough mentally and physically playing two big events in a row. I’m really glad I’m in the final of another Platinum event and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match.
“Hania has been playing really well this week. She has beaten a lot of tough players, she’s very young to be in the final of a Platinum event, which is really good and hopefully it’s going to be a really good match.”