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Glued to the cup
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 29 - 11 - 2017

MEN'S squash world No 3 Mohamed Al-Shorbagi and women's world No 1 Nour Al-Sherbini kept the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open titles in Egyptian hands to triumph in the final of the 2017 edition of the PSA World Series event.
Al-Shorbagi captured his third successive PSA World Tour title – and the 29th of his career – after an 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3 victory over compatriot Ali Farag in 64 minutes at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre. The win saw Al-Shorbagi pick up his third Hong Kong Open title after also winning the tournament in 2014 and 2015.
There were some brutal rallies in the first four games until, at two games apiece, Al-Shorbagi overpowered his fellow Egyptian to continue his incredible start to the season, completing a third win in a row over the world No 4 and making it four titles from five tournaments this season.

We've played so many battles in the last few weeks and I want to congratulate him and all of his team,” said Al-Shorbagi, who overtakes world champion Karim Abdel-Gawad, also of Egypt, to move back up to No 2 in the world rankings.
“He's played unbelievable squash at the last few tournaments and I'm looking forward to having many more battles with him in the future.

I'm happy I'm playing well again this year, I've done a lot of work this summer and I'm really proud with the way I've started this season, but there is still a long season ahead. I'm going to enjoy this trophy for a day or two and then I will look forward to my next event,” Al-Shorbagi said.
In the women's final, world champion Al-Sherbini ended a 20-month wait for a World Series title after she claimed a comfortable victory over Egypt's world No 2 Raneem Al-Welili. The 22-year-old's last World Series crown came back in March 2016 when she felled world No 5 Nouran Gohar of Egypt to win the prestigious British Open. She overcame Egyptian opposition once again in Hong Kong to win the tournament for the first time.
The match was a repeat of April's PSA Women's World Championship final, in which Al-Sherbini prevailed, and the player from Alexandria rediscovered that form against a tired Al-Welili who had come through five-game encounters against Nour Al-Tayeb, Joelle King and Camille Serme in the build-up to the final, with an 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 victory seeing her capture the 13th title of her career.

It's my first World Series title in almost two years, so it's special,” said Al-Sherbini.
“This title was really important for me so I could get my confidence back and to feel that I'm playing well before the World Championships.
“This tournament has given me a huge push and I'm really happy to win the Hong Kong Open.
“It's my second time here and I played well, so I can't wait to come back next year.”
Men's Final:
[3] Mohamed Al-Shorbagi (EGY) 3-2 [4]. Ali Farag (EGY) 11-6, 5-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-3 (64m).
Women's Final:
[1] Nour Al-Sherbini (EGY) 3-0 [2] Raneem Al-Welili (EGY) 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 (29m).


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