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Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini Retain PSA World Titles in Chicago

Will Weissman

Farag celebrates after beating World No.1 Diego Elias and winning his fourth World title.


On May 12, Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini of Egypt won the 2022-2023 PSA World Championships for a consecutive year. After coming off a recent injury, World No. 4 Ali Farag was more hungry than ever to compete in another World Championship. Farag breezed through his first two-round matches, dominating India’s Ramit Tandon and England’s Adrian Waller in only three games. England’s Nathan Lake and New Zealand's Paul Coll posed Farag’s first challenge, but he took down both opponents in four games to make another semifinals appearance.


In the semifinals, Farag faced Egypt’s Mostafa Asal, who has recently been on a tear, becoming the third-youngest World No.1 at only 21 years old earlier this year. Asal has already compiled an impressive resume, including two major titles, establishing him among the best squash players in the world.


Facing the tournament's number-one seed, Farag played exceptional squash. He came out on top in only four games, winning the final game decisively, 11-2. Then, in the final match, Farag faced yet another former World No.1, Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad, who has recently been playing superbly after coming off a seven-month heel injury. Gawad had beaten current World No.1 Diego Elias and World No. 2 Mohamed Elshorbagy to reach his second World Championship Final.


Egypt’s Gawad came ready to play, dominating in the opening minutes, hitting incredible drops and quickly creating a 9-5 point lead. But Farag soon settled into the match, doing what he does best — playing at his own tempo, cutting Gawad’s shots off, and effectively moving his opponent from corner to corner. After stealing the first game 12-10, Farag continued his unbelievable squash in the following games, calmly winning both 11-6 and making him a four-time World Champion.


On the women’s side, defending champ Nour El Sherbini played amazingly throughout the tournament, winning her seventh World Championship. El Sherbini came into the tournament red-hot, coming off an impressive British Open win in April. She swept through her first four matches, beating Egypt’s Hana Moataz, France’s Mari Stephan, England’s Sara-Jane Perry, and England’s Georgina Kennedy in three games apiece. In the semifinals, El Sherbini faced Joelle King of New Zealand, who is also the current World No. 4. She took out her opponent in four games to reach another World Championship Final.


In the final, El Sherbini played Nouran Gohar, also from Egypt. As the current PSA World's No.1 and No. 2, high expectations were set for a battle to claim the title. The first game began as anticipated, with long and hard-fought points and a score of 5-5 in the first game. However, after a backcourt winner and a beautiful volley cross drop, the defending champ took the critical opening game 11-6. El Sherbini continued her superb squash into the second game, winning decisively 11-4. Gohar came with urgency in the third game, taking advantage of El Sherbini’s slowing movements to the ball. It looked like Gohar was back in the match with four-game balls, but El Sherbini won the following six points, winning her seventh World Title and regaining her spot as World No. 1.


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