El Sherbini eases to second successive world title


El-Gouna (Egypt)

Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini sealed the successful defence of her Professional Squash Association (PSA) Women’s World Championship title after beating fellow home favourite Raneem El Welily in El Gouna.
El Sherbini, who defeated England’s Laura Massaro 12 months ago to become the youngest women’s world champion of all time, claimed an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 win in the final held at the New Marina against the backdrop of Egypt’s Red Sea.
The 21-year-old’s victory brings a six-month title drought to an end and earns her a first major crown since she lifted her first World Championship title in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur last year.
“I’m over the moon,” said El Sherbini, who is Egypt’s first and only female squash world champion.
“Two or three months ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I would have won because I haven’t won a [major] title this season.
“It felt like like I wasn’t going to win this season anymore, but once I knew that it was going to be in Egypt, I was so excited and I wanted to come and play in El Gouna.
“I’m really happy to win in front of my home crowd and it’s never easy to play Raneem.
“I’ve grown up learning a lot from her and she’s told me a lot of things off court and on court.
“She’s the best ‘sister’ I could ever have besides my squash career and I am really thankful for everything she did for me.”
Defeat for El Welily was her second in a World Championship final.
Her first came at the 2014 edition in Egypt’s capital Cairo, where she lost to Malaysia’s Nicol David.
In the final of the men’s El Gouna International Squash Open, world number one Gregory Gaultier of France defeated world champion Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt in straight games.
The 34-year-old powered to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory to claim his fourth successive PSA World Tour title and 38th overall.
Gaultier, who will lose his world number one ranking to Gawad next month despite the win, also became the first non-Egyptian winner of the tournament.
“I knew it was going to be an unbelievable match,” said the Frenchman, who fell in last year’s final to Gawad’s compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy. “We’re both fighting to get that world number one spot. “He took it from me yesterday, so all credit to him.—AFP

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