PHILADELPHIA – Women’s top seed Nour el-Sherbini of Egypt has finally got her hands on the US squash Open trophy after four previous final defeats following a masterclass performance to oust World No.3 Hania El Hammamy by an 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 scoreline.
World No.5 Paul Coll has become the first man from New Zealand to win the US Open.
El Sherbini had been unsuccessful on four previous occasions in the US Open final, but she made it fifth time lucky this time as she produced a stellar performance to take the title against her fellow Egyptian.
El Sherbini and El Hammamy met in the last Platinum level final at the Qatar Classic in September, and it was the latter who was victorious on that occasion in a five-game thriller.
Reigning World Champion El Sherbini got the perfect start to the first game as she went 5-1 up, but El Hammamy, who had been given a conduct warning in the opening exchanges, began to step up the court to take the ball in early.
The deficit was cut down to two points when El Hammamy was 7-5 down, but El Sherbini proved to be too strong to draw first blood.
El Sherbini was too clinical once again for El Hammamy, with the World No.1 not allowing the World No.3 to find her rhythm and forcing a number of errors to take the second 11-6.
The ‘Warrior Princess’ had risen to the occasion extremely well, as El Sherbini was faultless in the third with El Hammamy struggling to find an answer to what was being thrown at her.
El Hammamy saved one of four championship balls, but El Sherbini converted at the second time of asking to seal her maiden US Open crown.
“I don’t think anyone expected to play like this,” said El Sherbini.
“I wasn’t playing the best all week, but luckily I’ve had Greg [Gaultier] here telling me it doesn’t matter how you’re playing – it’s about if you’re winning and that’s important. It’s more important you play the best squash when it matters. I’m really glad I played like this.
“It’s always tough and I know everyone was waiting for the same match today [than the Qatar Classic 2023 final]. Hania [El Hammamy] wasn’t playing her best, I had my chances and I didn’t want to give any cheap points.
“I think I played well and maybe that’s why she wasn’t at her best, but she kept fighting until the last point. If she had a chance she could win. When I was 2-0 up, she came back and I didn’t want to do the same again.”
Elsewhere, World No.5 Paul Coll has become the first man from New Zealand to win the US Open after he ended World No.1 Ali Farag’s 14-match winning run on a thrilling finals night at Philadelphia’s Arlen Specter US Squash Center.
New Zealand had gone 37 years without having a representative in the final of the men’s event, but Coll followed in the footsteps of fellow Kiwi Stuart Davenport as he completed an 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10 victory to end Farag’s run of four straight PSA World Tour Platinum titles.
Coll hadn’t beaten Farag in his previous three attempts – including a five game, 96-minute battle in last month’s Paris Squash semi-finals – but produced his finest performance of the season to capture his 21st PSA title and his first Platinum silverware since the 2022 British Open.
Farag didn’t make it easy for him, with the Egyptian fighting back from two games down to force a decider – just 24 hours after he overturned a match ball against 2021 runner-up Tarek Momen in the semis – which went all the way to a tie-break.
But Coll wasn’t to be denied as he battled hard to win the next point, before Farag slammed his return of serve into the tin, resulting in jubilant celebrations from the new US Open champion.
“I thought I had it after the second, but I got way too excited and saw the finish line way too early,” said Coll afterwards.
“I thought he was struggling, but he came back at me and his mentality is a joke. I couldn’t believe the way he reset, I needed to be more solid and I needed to finish him. I’m very happy to close the fifth out like that, my legs felt like concrete.
“It’s nice to play like that after last season. The win is great, but the whole week has been amazing for me.”
The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the Grasshopper Cup, PSA World Tour Gold event, which will take place between October 17-22 at Zurich.