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Totally Egyptian
Published in Ahram Online on 20 - 10 - 2020

Egyptian duo Nour Al-Sherbini and Ali Farag were named the 2020 CIB Egyptian Open winners and collected the PSA World Tour Platinum trophies after beating teammates Nouran Gohar and Tarek Mo'men in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza, reports Abeer Anwar.
After winning the title, Al-Sherbini will restore her title as women's No 1 this November over compatriot Gohar after winning 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 in 37 minutes to become the inaugural women's champion, while also lifting her 22nd PSA title in the process. Gohar battled on despite suffering from both an ankle injury and hip flexor problem coming into the match, but surrendered easily to Al-Sherbini's powerful attacks.
“Of course, just playing here in front of the Pyramids is very big for me,” commented Al-Sherbini after the match. “I always love to play here, so I am, of course, over the moon to come and win here for the second time. It is an unbelievable feeling for me. I had to tell myself to keep going because Nouran is playing unbelievably, and even though she was injured, she beat many top players on her way to the final, but I am thrilled to win this match.
“Coming here and supporting us made a huge difference. I hope all the Egyptians are happy with this support, and with this crowd, they make every event special and we all want to win in front of them.”
The men's world No 1 spot will also change hands on 1 November with Farag's run to the final seeing him wrestle back top spot from fellow Egyptian Mohamed Al-Shorbagi.
Farag lost in last year's Egyptian Open final to world No 4 Karim Abdel-Gawad but stormed out of the traps against a fatigued Mo'men to complete an 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 triumph which sees him win his 20th PSA title.
For Farag, it's third time lucky at the Pyramids after defeats to Abdel-Gawad at both the 2016 Al-Ahram Open and the CIB Egyptian Open.
“It was pretty emotional, what an occasion to be able to capture here,” Farag said.
“As I have said after every match, we have always dreamt of being on such a stage in front of the Pyramids and to be able to win it at the third time of trying. It is an amazing feeling, especially coming up against one of the greatest players on tour at the moment.
“You saw how gracious he (Abdel-Gawad) is and how much of a role model for our sport that he is so I couldn't be prouder to share the court with him. I would like to thank CIB endlessly to help bring the tour back, and everyone there is supporting us,” Farag said.
Al-Sherbini and Farag take home $38,000 each in prize money, the most lucrative winner's prize for a Platinum event ever.
Farag will be in action at the next PSA World Tour event – the Qatar Classic – which will take place from 1-7 November at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 22 October, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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