Sobhy and Gohar set up Mouth-Watering semis clash
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy and World No.2 Nouran Gohar will lock horns for the first time since a stormy encounter at the Windy City Open 14 months ago after both players achieved 3-1 victories tonight at the El Gouna International Squash Open to reach the semi-finals of the PSA Platinum event.
Gohar took the victory in straight games on that occasion, but it was Sobhy’s comments in the post-match press conference – where she bemoaned both the officiating and accused Gohar of blocking – that caused a wave of discussion across social media.
The World No.5 will now have her chance for revenge after she came back from a game down to dispatch No.9 seed Salma Hany at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center today, winning 9-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 to reach the El Gouna International semis for the second time.
“That match is still in my head,” said Sobhy referring to her clash with Gohar in the Windy City.
“It’s definitely going to give me that extra fuel and incentive, but I am not going to let it cloud my judgement or get too much in my head.
“I know Gohar is going to bring her ‘A’ game on Thursday, so I fully expect a battle.”
Gohar, the 2019 El Gouna runner-up, earned her place in the last four courtesy of an 11-2, 11-5, 11-13, 11-9 victory over fellow Egyptian Rowan Elaraby.
“In the first two games I was playing really well,” said Gohar afterwards.
“I felt good on court, was moving well and my targets were hit. I guess I had a drop in concentration a little bit in the third, but all credit to her, she took advantage. She played her’ A’ game, so to come back and try and attack against her when she is playing that well is difficult, but I’m just glad I was able to take it at the end.”
In the men’s event, World No.4 Paul Coll and World No.3 Tarek Momen will do battle in the last four in a repeat of the 2019-20 PSA World Championship final following respective wins over two-time runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad and Frenchman Gregoire Marche.
Coll quickly found himself a game behind due to the class of Gawad. But after the Kiwi drew level, the heel injury that has dogged Gawad’s season reared its head again as the Egyptian struggled to move around court properly. Coll quickly closed out the third and fourth games to earn his spot in the El Gouna semi-finals for the first time.
“Against Karim’s racket work, he just destroyed me [in the first game],” said Coll.
“After the second, I started to see the ball better and dictate the pace, settled down with my movement and I started to feel quite good in the last three. It’s a real positive moving into the semi-finals. I need to focus on the start a bit more [in the next match], settle down quicker, find my targets and focus more at the start.”
The No.2 seed was immaculate as he outplayed his opponent, who was appearing in his first major quarter-final since 2016.
“Playing Greg is always a tough task for me,” Momen said.
“We’ve had many tough matches in the past, I know the head-to-head is heavily in my favour but many of those matches went to five games. I’ve always had my eyes on this match, I had to be on my toes from the beginning. I started with this gameplan and it worked out and I’m pleased to win in three.”