Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-1  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6 (41m)
I could be wrong but I feel that today Nour had no pressure whatsoever. A bit like when Ramy came back from injury to beat Mohamed in Qatar in 2014, Nour didn’t know for a couple of months if she was going to be able to compete ever again. Five months with no event and off she reappears like a desert rose and gets to the final. What does she has to lose? Nothing.
But Raneen? Oh yes. First of all, for the opposite reason I just evoked. Surely, Nour cannot be at her best, surely you can take that one. Oh boy, that’s not good believe me for an athlete. Plus, CIB sponsoring the event. She knows how much effort CIB – her sponsor – is putting into this event. And she wants so much to say thank you, she dreams of having proud CIB chairman to give her the trophy…
OK, maybe I’m wrong, sue me…
First rally, very long, and after a long spell of shots, Raneem finds an exquisite winner. Or should be winner. Out of nowhere, Nour gets it and ends up wining the rally. And at the moment, I wrote in my book: she is going to be very hard to beat. And I think Raneem felt it as well.
Like the day before, against Nouran, Raneem lost the first game rather heavily, 8/0, 11/4 in 10m. Nobody really panicked I’m sure in her camp as she had done the same thing against Nouran the night before, losing the opener 11/2 to win the match 3/1.
In the second, like she did in the semis, she zoomed up 7/2, 9/5. But Nour just clawed back to 9/9, worrying times, and although Raneem took the game, 11/9 with two lovely winners, the confidence was lost.
The third was 7m, Raneem playing nearly every shot too short, like as she completely lost her game plan, 4/0, 7/1 11/5 to Nour. The next game will be on the same model, 5/0, 8/4, with Nour closing the 10m last game on her second attempt.
Like Raneem said at the end, probably the best runner-up quote ever “I never got into it, unfortunately, it’s good to have her back”…
A pleasure to play in front of the Cairo crowd, as always, thank you for the support. A great tournament, thank you Amr Mansi, CIB, they have done a tremendous effort this week, thanks for putting up with us.
Thanks to my entire team, my coaches, my family, my friends, everybody that came to support us, and lastly, CIB, thank you so much, putting into words, a thousand words wouldn’t be enough, so thank you.
The last couple of months for me have been really hard. I didn’t know what I was going to do and almost from not playing any tournament, but I took the risk and took the decision that I wanted to play this tournament badly and I wanted to come and try – see how it goes. I was getting better every match and I’m very grateful and happy to be standing here right now.
I missed playing with all the top players and especially Raneem. She is closest to my heart and it’s very hard to play her mentally and emotionally but we try to leave the emotions and focus on squash once we get inside the court.
I think because today is my birthday I was making sure not to be sad. I was very relaxed and it took a lot of pressure off thinking about the messages and not focus on the match, so it helped me a lot.
“We are very happy to have this tournament back and playing in front of the Pyramids was always a dream of mine and I would really like to thank I-Events, Amr Mansi and his team and especially CIB for hosting and helping the women’s game get bigger and give the women the chance to have a prize money bigger than the men’s. They are not my sponsors but they work so hard for the sport, they need to be thanked! It is a big risk and hopefully we deserved that and played matches that were worthy of that. All of the players are very grateful.
Also, I want to thank my team for being there all week, for supporting me, and giving me the belief I could be here, right now, and I want to thank each and everyone of them, my coaches Ahmed Shohayeb, Waleed El Mosalmy, Ahmed Hany, Asmaa Ahmed. My parents, my family, my friends, all of them, who came from Alexandria to support me today, and my club Sporting Club, Eezteel, Tecnifibre and Amsterdam Fitness.
And now, I would like to relax and realise that the tournament is over….