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Egyptian pair Gohar and Ashour claim Hong Kong Open crowns

There was double delight for Egyptian squash in the finals of the 2016 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open as three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour and World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar took the honours inside Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.

SP_20070In the women’s final 18-year-old Gohar, who beat World No.2 Laura Massaro before ending World No.3 Nicol David’s eleven years of dominance at this event to reach the final, got off to a slow start against American Amanda Sobhy, quickly falling behind in a 6-11 first game that saw the Boston-based 23-year-old on fire.

But Gohar managed to lift her game and turn the match around by saving four game balls in the second game to snatch it 12-10 and from then on she was in total control, dominating the court to secure the title with a  6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 scoreline.

SP_20055“I can’t believe it,” said a delighted Gohar.

“I was 1-0 down and 10-7 down in the second game and I was just trying to stay on court and not be beaten 3-0 in the final.

SP_20067“I tried to fight for every point and it paid off in the end. Raneem [El Welily], my mum and my coach, gave me a game-plan but I couldn’t execute it on court in the first game.

“But I managed to change it up and push myself – I told myself it is a final and you have to give everything to win and I’m so happy to win – it’s an amazing feeling to win a World Series tournament.”

SP_20058In the men’s final 28-year-old Ashour looked to have put his recent injury demons to bed as he came through a highly competitive and entertaining five-game battle with compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad, the World No.8 who was competing in his first ever PSA World Series final.

SP_20060Hong Kong Open champion in 2010 and 2012, Ashour has endured an injury-plagued two years on Tour, with repeated hamstring difficulties restricting him to competing in only a dozen events, but he looked to be back to his unpredictable best during a five game battle that saw both players enjoy spells of dominance, but it was Ashour who pulled away in the decider for a 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 win and a 28th career PSA title.

SP_20098“It feels great to win here and winning the title means so much to me,” said Ashour.

“I played a very tough opponent today. Karim’s very smart and fluid on court so it is not easy to beat him and he’s actually one of my favourite players on Tour. It was a collaboration of ideas to get past him but I thought it was a great show and I think we both enjoyed it

SP_20066“It’s been tough journey for me to get here but I’ve always wanted it so much. I feel empty without squash – playing fulfils everything inside me. I appreciate being able to play and to lunge without pain is such a blessing – I’ll do whatever it takes to keep being the best I can be.

“I have so many people to thank – my parents, coaches, physio, promoters, sponsors, doctors, lawyers and fans – they’ve all helped me get to where I am now.”

2016 Hong Kong Open – Women’s Final
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1 [7] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (43m)

2016 Hong Kong Open – Men’s Final
Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-2[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)  11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 (75m)

SP_20072Full Hong Kong Coverage

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