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Nouran Gohar, Ramy Ashour win 2016 Hong Kong Open
Egyptians reigned supreme as Ramy Ashour defeated compatriot Karim Abdel-Gawad 3-2 in a thrilling finale, while Nouran Gohar made history as the first female Egyptian squash player to win the Hong Kong Open.
Nouran Gohar became the first Egyptian to win the women’s Hong Kong Open, breaking Nicol David’s hegemony over the tournament.
The 18-year-old prodigy had previously dispatched David and Laura Massaro en-route to the final, and faced off against Boston native Amanda Sobhy.
Gohar lost the first match 6-11, but roared back to win the next three games 12-10, 11-7 and 11-8, to seal a historic win.
“I can’t believe it,” Gohar told the PSA World Tour website after the match.
“I was 1-0 down and 10-7 down in the second game and I was just trying to stay on court and not be beaten 3-0 in the final. I tried to fight for every point and it paid off in the end. Raneem [El-Welily], my mum and my coach, gave me a game-plan but I couldn’t execute it on court in the first game,” she continued.
“But I managed to change it up and push myself – I told myself it is a final and you have to give everything to win and I’m so happy to win – it’s an amazing feeling to win a World Series tournament,” the youngster concluded.
In the men’s final, Ramy Ashour looked to put recent injury problems behind him, and was pitted against fellow Egyptian Karim Abdel-Gawad in the final.
The encounter was a thrilling roller coaster ride for both players with the game scores reading 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11 and 11-6, as Ashour ran out with a hard-fought 3-2 victory,
“It feels great to win here and winning the title means so much to me,” Ashour told PSA World Tour.
“I played a very tough opponent today. Karim’s very smart and fluid on court so it is not easy to beat him and he’s actually one of my favourite players on Tour. It was a collaboration of ideas to get past him but I thought it was a great show and I think we both enjoyed it.
“It’s been tough journey for me to get here but I’ve always wanted it so much. I feel empty without squash – playing fulfils everything inside me. I appreciate being able to play and to lunge without pain is such a blessing – I’ll do whatever it takes to keep being the best I can be.
“I have so many people to thank – my parents, coaches, physio, promoters, sponsors, doctors, lawyers and fans – they’ve all helped me get to where I am now,” the 28-year-old enthused.