Appearing in her third CIB Black Ball Final, Nour El Sherbini finally captures the title as she beats Amanda Sobhy in four games …
Sherbini at the third time of asking – but closer than it sounds
Somehow, I have the feeling you are looking at the scoreline, and think yeah, not that close. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.
But like for Camille’s match, she never gave up and was always a threat, except maybe in the second game, where she dropped the shoulders a bit after losing the opener, not able to close down any of the three game balls she had there.
A 15m game that was, probably the turning point of the match. Had Amanda got it, I feel the match could have gone a very different path.
No offence to Nour, Amanda was not as accurate today as she’s been all week. As motivated, as talented, yes, but the legs were starting to suffer a bit from all the time spent on court (164m, that’s a lot of the American who normally kills her opponents pretty quickly).
But like I said, Nour never relaxed really. The second a bit more comfortable, 6m 11/5, but Amanda’s shoulders up again from the beginning of the third: power back in the racquet, length, width, short game, it’s all back, and Nour is just outplayed, 4/0, 5/2, 6/3, 10/4, 11/6, 7m. Too many errors from the Egyptian (5, only 3 winners).
The balanced start of the fourth, and honesty, I saw a five setter coming up: 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5. But now Amanda is paying the efforts of the week, and the Egyptian Princess has 4 match balls, 10/6.
Two will be enough and with a sublime return of serve, and at her fourth attempt, she finally gets her CIB Black Ball Title…
Khaled Sobhy (Father of)
I can see the progress she’s made since the last event. She is a different player, she can hang in there, in four, five games if she needs, the score doesn’t matter, she keeps pushing. Her fitness has improved, so has her mental attitude, her focus, everything.
She is doing a great job, she just needs to keep going, she has the abilities to do whatever she wants, she is still very young. But then again, I’m her father, I have to be biased, I love her so much…
“It’s been a great week for me and I want to thank everyone for coming out.
“I’ve been working hard and loving my squash and I’m really thankful for my team for always supporting me back home. I want to take the sponsors for this tournament and Black Ball for hosting. To be able to have events during a global pandemic is phenomenal and hats off to everybody who makes it happen and PSA for the entire event, we really appreciate it.
“I do have to thank my sponsors, HEAD, Teuton, Beam and Squash Zone and a huge shout out goes to my team back home in Boston and Philly. Thierry, Mica, Dr Z… and the racket club of Philly.
“It’s such a team effort for me to be able to play matches like this all week. Congrats to Nour for a phenomenal performance and thank you all.
“I’m really glad that I finally won the Black Ball Open. It’s one of the biggest tournaments and a very special one in Egypt. I’m definitely really happy to finally win this tournament.
We have been playing for a long time, since 2009, and the H2H is very close. Today, I was a bit up and down, up and down, and it’s all credit to her, even when she is down, she doesn’t give up and keeps pushing. I thought the match was going my way but then it was going her way…
I worked very hard for it, I came here very positive because I didn’t want to be sad at the wedding of my brother tomorrow, I wanted to be happy!! And I’m going to go back tonight of course!
I’d like to dedicate this tournament to a very special person that passed this year. Hany Hamouda [Former Egyptian Squash Board Member and Squash Federation of Africa President] has been one of the main supporters for me and he attended all four World Championship wins. I’m really sorry we lost him, he was a very special person to me, so I’d love to dedicate this trophy to him.
Mohamed Raef, Black Ball Club: I want to thank the Ministry of Youth and Sports for their support for squash in general, and for BlackBall in particular. Also, a big thank to our Chairman and CEO of Concord Group, Mr Ahmed Al Abd for his support.
I want to congratulate Nour El Sherbini and Amanda Sobhy, it was a great final. I also would like to mention three players I was particularly impressed with their performance in this event, Lisa Aitken, Salma Hany and again Amanda Sobhy. Keep up and the future is yours Insh’Allah.
We are also very happy to have attracted new sponsors to the game – Memaar Almorshedy,
Elsewedy Electric, Alter Sports Wear – and we hope they are going to stay with us forever.
Thanks to the Media, international and local, thanks to the PSA Team, Alex Gough, Lee Beachill, Tim Garner and all of SquashTV of course.
Least but not last, I cannot not mention CIB. We all know that without CIB, without Mr Hussein Abaza, nothing can be done. Thank you again for what you are doing for Squash in general, and Egyptian Squash in particular.
🗣 "It's one of the biggest tournaments and a very special one in Egypt, so I'm definitely really happy to finally win this tournament."@noursherbini reacts to her @BlackBallSquash final win over @itssobhytime 🏆#BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/Hx3ekmVexC
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 18, 2021
🗣 "It's been a great week for me… I've been working hard and loving my squash, and I'm really thankful for my team for supporting me back home."@itssobhytime gives us her thoughts on the @BlackBallSquash final ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/DB3x1oEv9Z
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 18, 2021