2022 Finals : it’s Hammamy and Asal

Hania El Hammamy and Mostafa Asal are the 2022 El Gouna Champions as both beat the top seeds in contrasting finals …

El Gouna International 2022 : FINALS

[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-2 [1] Nouran Gohar (EGY)  2-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4 (90m)

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0 [1] Paul Coll (NZL)  11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (70m)

Hammamy comeback stuns Gohar

Opening the El Gouna International 2022 finals night was the women’s final between World No.1 Nouran Gohar and British Open Champion Hania El Hammamy. Neither player had won the title before so came into the final with even more determination.

‘The Terminator’ Gohar got off to the perfect start in the first game, hardly missing a corner and completely dominating proceedings. El Hammamy struggled to find any rhythm that could trouble Gohar.

After taking the first game 11-2, Gohar’s momentum continued in the following game as she raced out to a 5-0 lead. The focus was clear on the face of the World No.1 and she marched on in the second game, keeping the ball pinned in the back corners and killing rallies off with severe attacks. Gohar took the second game 11-4 to take a massive 2-0 lead and put one hand on the trophy.

As the score reached 4-4 in the third game, El Hammamy looked to be settling into the match and finding the accuracy that has served her so well throughout the tournament so far. The feisty nature of the World No.3 was growing with every point and after earning herself 3 game balls, she converted at 10-8 to breathe more life in the final.

The fourth game started in a slightly scrappy fashion with both players determined not to surrender the middle of the court and the accuracy gave way to more power. The interruptions continued as decisions and medical time outs featured heavily in the game but El Hammamy kept her concentration and earned herself a game ball to force a deciding game. After a lengthy, tense rally, the No.3 seed fired a brilliant volley drop into the front left corner to force a fifth game.

Another El Hammamy blood injury came early in the fifth game which seemed to disrupt the World No.1 slightly as some uncharacteristic errors crept into her game. El Hammamy saw her opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. She moved from strength to strength to complete the comeback and capture her first El Gouna International title, winning 11-4 in the final game.

“A week ago I lost in the World Championships, I didn’t really feel like I was ready to come here and play my best squash and also being able to beat the World No.1 and 2 in the same tournament is a huge step for me, I’ve never done it and its mentally huge for me. I felt like coming here I have to show up, do my job and try as much as I can to play my best even if I’m not feeling like it. I wasn’t happy with what happened last week in the World Championships and I was disappointed and this week I felt like the hard work paid off so I’m definitely over the moon with this.

“Yeah I think to beat Nouran you have to keep digging in and I don’t know what else I could have done so, I was thinking at 2-0 down that I was rushing and making a lot of errors and I wanted to keep digging and keep putting in a performance and slowly I got back to playing my best so I’m very happy with that.”

Asal beats Coll to claim El Gouna title

Next onto court, top seed Paul Coll took on ‘The Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal for the men’s title.

In a mammoth 30-minute first game, Asal managed to pull away in the later stages by capitalising on some short drives from Coll and chopping the ball in short. Asal seemed content with the attritional rallies which would ordinarily suit Coll. The US Open Champion chose his attacking shots wisely and took the opening game 11-8.

The young Egyptian raced out to a 5-1 lead In the following game by quickly moving onto balls at the front and hitting past the World No.2. Coll stuck to his task however and continued to test the patience of Asal and clawed his way back to within one point at 6-7. Coll’s momentum was halted by the intelligent attacks of Asal who moved through to take the game 11-9 and lead by two.

‘The Raging Bull’ showed no signs of slowing down and continued to create opportunities to put the ball into space to work Coll and set up attacking chances. The controlled and measured length of Asal was a constant threat and the World No.4 motored through to earn himself 5 match balls. He only needed one and closed the game out 11-5 to pick up his second PSA World Tour Platinum title.

“I want to thank all of this crowd for coming today, it is something unreal so thank you guys for coming and supporting us and making squash bigger and bigger. I want to thank Amr Mansi and all the PSA for making this tournament. I couldn’t be more proud of myself, it’s been tough for me, playing the World No.1 Ali Farag and I’m really proud of myself and once again thank you to all the crowd for cheering for me.

“I also want to say the women’s match was unbelievable. I want to congratulate Nouran and Hania  because it was unreal. I also want to congratulate Paul, he’s been World No.1 and I’m sure he will be there for many more months in the future and I want to congratulate Ali [Farag] for his efforts, all of my team, my coach and physio and thanks to my family and the Ahly Club.”