F : Gohar ends Gilis run to claim title

[1] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Nele Gilis (Bel)    11-5, 11-7, 11-9 (58m)

The PSA Facts
It was fourth time lucky for Gohar to land her maiden El Gouna International title, having been a runner-up in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Gilis was the first Belgian player ever to appear in the final of a major PSA event following her sensational 3-0 dismantling of current World No.1 and World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the semi-finals.

Gohar came down from 9-8 down in the 3rd to ultimately seal her first Platinum title since October’s U.S. Open.

The win means that Gohar has lifted her 22nd PSA Tour title and, like Farag, it’s her fifth title of the season. It will also see her replace El Sherbini as the World No.1, ending her fellow Egyptian’s four-week reign at the summit, with Gohar ascending to the top ranking for the third time in her career.

Fram reports

So a much calmer atmosphere in the VIP’s for this match. Paul Coll, only supporter of Nele, was focusing on the match, and like yesterday, nearly broke that poor same chair he was sitting on. How the back resisted is a mystery.

And a good start it was for Nele in the opener. 4/1, a bit of a shock to the supporting crowd. But quickly, Nouran clawed back, to 4/4. At that point, Nouran managed to switch to her “Terminator Mode” I felt. Her hitting became lethally explosive, the weight in the ball incredible, if you think she had just played the 5th longest women match ever less than 24h ago….

A couple of hard, very hard exchanges, 5/5, after Nele sent the ball out, taking a little while to come back. Nouran never looked back. 11/5 for The Terminator, with 8 winners. Only 4 for Nele, and Nouran wining 10 points in two hands.

The 21m second game was much closer than the score suggests. A strong response from the Belgium, 2/0, 2/2, 4/2, 4/4, 5/5. The Egyptian was warned at that point not to go to the player to manufacture a stroke. That seemed to fuel Nouran to another level of power: 9/5 in one hand.

Nele will still score two points in the game, 6/9, to finally bow 11/7. 4 winners for the Belgium, 9 for Nouran. The energy coming from her racquet was just overpowering.

All credit to the Belgium, she dug her hills in, despite a 34° temperature and an extremely hot flooring – I touched it, no wonder Mohamed needed a few extra pairs of socks yesterday!

From 2/0 down, back to 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8! I personally thought she was on her way to take that game, especially as at that point, Nouran made her second error and last error of the match   – I kid you not – after a huge rally. 9/8 Nele.

But it wasn’t to be. A stroke in favour of the Terminator, a no let against Nele, and a final gigantic rally to end it all, finishing with a stroke for Nouran, and it’s 11/9, 19m last game, 5 winners for Nele, 10 for Nouran.

Paul Coll talks to Fram at the end of the two matches.

Today was crazying hot, 34°. When I played last, it was 31°. It’s only 3 degrees, and on paper, it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s unbelievable. Impressive squash really. I don’t think people realise the conditions and how’s tough they really are. Three degrees! I’m just watching and I’m sweating, I can feel the temperature.

it was pretty tense. Watching Nele, she tried hard, Nouran was just too good, the pace she played at, the ball was flying, it was very impressive from both.

I didn’t much all of the men’s unfortunately, but just the conditions… Asal played pretty well, he is trying to work on some things, which is nice to see, Ali, in his last 4 tournaments has been impressive. And to do it in these conditions, he must be feeling it a bit.

Nele: I’m absolutely over the moon actually, I’m very proud of myself.

I gave it my all today in the final, but Nouran was just too strong today, and relentless, and all credit to her, she deserves it.

Every year I love coming here but now it definitely has a special place in my heart. I’m always going to look back at this week with very special feeling.

Nouran : It feels amazing to finally have the big trophy! I have three of these, but the small version. So I’m happy with the big one now!

Nele had an unbelievable tournament. I remember last year, standing here with Paul, and we were like, next year we have to win this! They are an unbelievably hard-working couple for sure.

I saw it coming, she’s put in the work and it’s very inspirational. We’ve known each other since juniors and for her to be playing like this was far from enjoyable for me today! With the weather, her retrieving everything and the pressure, it was a bit too much.

I’m sure we’ll have many more battles over the years.

It wasn’t the prettiest squash from my side maybe, but I’m super proud of myself with how I fought hard this week.

This will be the third time that I’m World No.1 in my career, but it’s the first time after winning a tournament, so it feels amazing. With the new weekly ranking system, it’s so nice, you win a tournament on Friday and on Monday you’re World No.1. I don’t like the World No.2 spot beside my name, so I’m happy to be back.

Tournaments in Egypt have always been very special. Here is now one of my favourites because I’ve won it finally! Amr Mansi has done an amazing job holding this for the 11th time and the consistency is unbelievable, also Orascom, El Gouna.

Thanks to my family, my dad, my mum and my two brothers, my husband Ziad, who is not here, and my grandmother as well. The support is huge.

Thanks to my squash coach, Rodney Martin in the US, but coaching all the way, and to all my team. Also my sponsors, CIB, Red Bull, Tecnifibre, PhysioCure, Wadi Degla. They’ve been with me throughout the downs before the ups…

Thanks again to CIB, they are sponsoring the event and all of the big events happening in Egypt, they are the main reason why we keep having new generations of very good players coming up.

It’s very good to be back in Gouna, and at last but not least, a big thank you to the crowd for their support and presence for the whole week.