R3:  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (34m)
When she talked to me yesterday, Nouran mentioned that she got injured against 3 weeks before Manchester and had to rest for 18 days. She came on court with a bandage on the right ankle, so we can assume that was the problem…
She was in control against the former World Champion – actually, Nouran and Rowan played a world junior final you won’t be surprised to hear, back in 2016. Yes, Rowan was THAT GOOD that young…
A good first game from the World number 1, in control, her length and width immaculate and powerful as ever. But the second sees some exquisite winners coming out of the young contender. She leads 3/0, 6/2.
Feeling the danger, Nouran closes the gap in a few seconds, and we are back in contention, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. Like the previous game, Nouran wins her crucial points at the back with perfect length, 11/9 in 13m the longest game of the match.
The third is a bit dramatic as at 1/1, Nouran seems to hurt her already bandaged ankle and asks for a self injury time – 3m. The PSA Irish physio just bandaged it again, and that seemed to do the trick. Finding her best and most aggressive squash, Nouran finds winners both at the back but also at the front, surprising the young girl, and it’s all about Nouran from 5/5, 11/5 in 11m (minus 3m)
“I thought my ankle was going to be worse actually. At first the feeling wasn’t very good, but I really wanted to play, so I think that helped a little bit to just not really think about it. I’m just glad I was able to keep going and not just pull out.
“It felt really great to be back here. I love this court, whether it’s at El Gouna or here, my first match on this court was at Wadi Degla and I have very good memories on the court, but put it in front of the Pyramids and it’s another thing. It’s just breath-taking, coming here and having the Pyramids in front of you while you are warming up, you just have to be really looking forward to the match.
“I’m happy with the way I played and the mental side was good today, so I’m really happy.”