ZURICH, Switzerland — The final of the 2023 Grasshopper squash Cup will see Egyptian pairing Hania el-Hammamy and Nour el-Sherbini collide in a mouthwatering contest.
El-Hammamy set up a repeat of last year’s Grasshopper Cup final, beating Nele Gilis to book a final matchup with El-Sherbini in Zurich.
The young Egyptian was beaten here by El-Sherbini in last year’s final, as she was at the US Open, but now has a shot at revenge.
Coming into the match, El-Hammamy had only lost one of her previous eight matches with the Belgian, most recently beating her 3-0 en route to that US Open final, and raced out to a 4-0 lead in game one.
Gilis grew into the game on the back of some uncharacteristic errors from the No.2 seed, particularly on the backhand drops, but the Egyptian still had enough quality to close out the game, taking it 11-9 on a clinical backhand drive to end a long rally.
Hampered by a nose bleed, Gilis struggled to keep pace with El-Hammamy in game two, a winner on another long rally at 5-1 down being a rare highlight in a game she lost 11-4.
The third game was more of an even contest as Gilis threw everything she had at her opponent, but El-Hammamy dug in from 6-5 down to win six of the next seven points and book her spot in the final.
“It’s always tough playing against Nele, it’s always physical,” she said, moments after victory.
“We just had a quarter-final battle at the US Open 10 days ago. It was very tough as well, very physical, so I was ready for it and prepared myself for it,” she added according to psaworldtour.
I’m over the moon to get it done in three. I didn’t want it to go to a fourth or a fifth. It’s already physical playing against her, even playing and winning 3-0 is still physical.”
Looking ahead to the final against her compatriot, El-Hammamy added: “It’s always tough playing against Nour, for sure.
“She’s the World No.1, she’s the world champion, so it’s never easy playing against her, but it really depends on me, and how I’m playing on that day.
“Last week, it was a bad day for me in the final of the US Open, so I’m going to make sure I give it a fight and I’m not going to let it go easy like last week.”
El-Sherbini produced a dominant display to reach a second straight Grasshopper Cup final, beating Gina Kennedy 3-0.
Speaking after the match, the top seed said there were some early nerves as a result of that encounter.
“I think I was a little bit nervous at the beginning, thinking a little bit too much about our last meeting,” El-Sherbini said.
“Once I relaxed and started thinking about my game plan, I think I played better. It was also very important to win the first game, and I’m definitely happy that the last two games ended like they did.