SF: Hania confirms her good form and reaches the final

[3] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-1 [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 11-6, 5-11, 14-12, 11-6 (67m)

Fram’s report

Even if I like believe, Nour was a bit mentally flat – like Ali in the next match – after last week extraordinary effort in the Worlds in Cairo, the Princess can – and did – win flat as a crepe and on one foot.

It’s all credit to Hania to have seized the chance, run her little cotton socks off, returning all the time that last shot, and again, and again. Until I feel Nour run out of options.

Hania was just sublime in the first game. Oozing confidence, she went 4/1, 7/3 – thanks to 2 strokes – 9/4.

At that point, Nour started to put more pressure on her opponent, getting errors out of her, but too little too late, 11/6 to Hania, 12m game.

What a response from Nour in the second! 4/0, 7/1, 8/2, 10/4, 11/5 in 9m.

As French footballers say, balle au centre.

The third will be 23m of sublime squash. Nour playing her Nour thingies – you know, finding winners from any position, perfect accuracy on the side walls, perfect length, etc. But Hania, on fire. Really. Incredible of resilience, running like the Gazelle she is, and finding some sublime winners of her own!

And it’s the young Hania that seems to be in control, from 4/4, 8/5, 9/6. Nour digs in, I can see she is a bit flat energy wise, she doesn’t read Hania’s game as quickly as she normally does but still, levels 9/9.

A huge rally that defies all huge rallies at that point, and it’s 10/9irs, first game ball for Hania. It will take three more of those for the Gazelle to close that crucial game, 14/12, finally.

What a game, people, what a game!!

And I feel that’s when Nour paid the price of getting her 6th world title last week. Not enough mental drive left in the tank to contain the extraordinary power from the contender… 6/0, 8/1, 9/3.

A huge push from Nour, she manages to take two point with enormous rallies yet again. But Hania is confident, fresh and just too accurate. She takes the match on her first opportunity, 11/6. Last game for 15m…

PSA report

World No.3 Hania El Hammamy reached her first El Gouna International final as she knocked out defending champion and World No.2 Nour El Sherbini in an entertaining 3-1 win.

Going into tonight’s match, El Sherbini held a 5-3 head-to-head advantage over her Egyptian compatriot. El Hammamy, though, will have taken confidence from her 3-2 win in the pair’s last meeting, which came in the semi-final of this year’s Windy City Open.

El Hammamy made a perfect start to the match, taking the first game 11-6 with her impeccable movement proving the difference, before El Sherbini hit back in the second to level with an 11-5 win.

In a thrilling third game, both players went all out. El Hammamy initially had the better of the game and took a 9-6 lead. El Sherbini, however, was able to recover and force the game into a tie break at 10-10.

After seeing a game ball go at 12-11, El Hammamy was able to convert the next as she took the third game 14-12 with a perfect attacking boast.

After the morale-boosting win in the third, El Hammamy made a lightning start to the fourth game, flying into a 6-0 lead with winner after winner against a shell-shocked El Sherbini. Although ‘the Warrior Princess’ was able to chip away some of El Hammamy’s points, the lead proved too great and El Hammamy was able to close out the match with an 11-6 win.

 

Hania

“It definitely feels amazing, being able to beat the six-time World Champion. It’s something that I’m always proud of.

“She’s World No.2, but she’s the World Champion, so definitely I have to prepare differently and prepare myself mentally well. I could be very prepared physically and that was the case for me last week in the World Championship, so I tried as much as I can to release that pressure and bring the best out of me.

“Playing against Nour is definitely tricky, she’s the best of the best to be honest. I always feel like I have a privilege and it’s just a pleasure for me to be playing on court with her. Every time I step on court with her, I just try to enjoy my squash and enjoy every game with her. Playing against her makes me so happy and makes me want to play my best because if I’m not bringing my ‘A Game’ I’m not able to beat her, so definitely happy with that win!

“I think it was very important to win the third game after dropping the second. The third game was very crucial. I had to be very focused to try and get the third because I think if she had got the third she would have grown in confidence and even stronger than she is already, so I had to be very focused and just keep digging in the third. I’m really glad I managed to do that.

“Another tough match against Gohar tomorrow. I need to recover really well and have a good night’s sleep and eat well. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”