2024 Reports Semis

SF: Nouran Gohar 3-1 Nour El Tayeb

[1] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1 [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY)  12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-6 (55m)

FIrst of all, let me tell you what used to happen when Nour lost a tough match. Very often, she would break her racquet on her own leg. Or would break it once outside the court. Talking to her after a loss was not the easiest of task.

So I was a bit careful when I approached the players’ lounge after the match. And I found my Nour laughing her head off with her coach, Engy Kheirellah. I kid you not. She was really laughing, both of them actually, and told me to approach.

“Engy, you are a miracle worker,” I said.

“It’s the most fun I had against a top player since I came back”, she smiled AGAIN. And I must agree with her. It was a great performance, especially in the first game, I thought. If Nour is famous for a mental determination, grit and ability to retrieve the irretrievable, she rarely trusts her volleying drop shots.

But today, during the first game, she threw caution to the wind and went for it big time. It was like a “New Nour” I told her. She laughed even more and told Ali, who was preparing for his match against Mazen, “She says that I’m a New Nour! It’s about time, I’m 31! It’s about time I understand what squash is all about!!!”

To be honest, Nour could have led 2/0 up in the match as she was both games up 10/8, losing the first game 12/10, thanks to her first error of the match, you can’t invent that, and the second game 13/11, from again 10/8.

If the scores were similar, the games weren’t. Nour was neck to neck with Nouran for the opener: 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. Both girls attacked, but Nour was retrieving some incredible shots from Nouran, who decided that the “Old Nouran” should be back to close the game down, going into Terminator mode. It worked. She overpowered her opponent within seconds.

The second saw Nouran keep the momentum going up to 6/2, 7/4, 8/5. But at 8/8, Nouran was penalised twice, and the second time quite sharply by the ref: “This is unacceptable movement, Miss Gohar, and if it occurs again, it will be code of conduct.” Nouran lost her appeal, and Nour was now 10/8, game ball.

CatWoman lost all three game balls she had, and Nouran, in Terminator Mode again, finally ended the game on 13/11.

Nouran made 11 winners in game 1, and 10 game 2. Nour 8 winners in game 1, and 8 game 2.

In the third, it was now Nour continuing with the momentum, 4/1, diving and fighting to retrieve whatever Nouran was throwing at her, and that was a lot! Nouran was on fire, shooting amazing ought to be winners, but Nour was returning them, again and again.

Twice, Nouran was penalised with strokes, with the ref saying, “You are very close to the code of conduct” at 5/3 and, at 6/6, “You will have to play another shot or give your opponent a line to the ball, Miss Gohar.” The ref also added a “conduct warning” for descent for good measure! Nouran was a bit K.O. and lost the game without scoring another point, 11/6.

Only 3 winners for Nouran in that game and 7 for Nour.

As always, when she feels wrongly done, Nouran comes back firing from all guns, and it wasn’t long before she was up 8/2, 10/5 match ball. Despite another dive from Nour, the Terminator takes the game 11/6.
What a match!


I was just telling Engy this is the most I enjoyed playing the top players since I got back. And it’s about time I understand that I need to attack, I’m 31! It’s about time I understand about how to play squash, and it’s all thanks to working with Engy Kheirellah.

I’ve been working with her for 18 months now, and thanks to her, I understand squash better and enjoy squash more. Maybe with age as well, I understand the rallies more and who I’m playing, instead of just focusing on the score and about winning. I used to be obsessed by scores and winning, and trying to get close to the top players again.

So now she has helped me to understand how to play, and somehow how to win. It’s not the destination anymore that is important, but the journey. And that’s the most I have been focusing on squash itself, instead of the result. And hopefully, I can keep going from there.

And I know there is still margin for progression. I’m improving. I’m getting older, but I’m still improving. And I still believe I can get there.


“Nour came out firing, she played like she had nothing to lose today, and she can be very dangerous when she feels that way.

“On my side, I was feeling very good out there, but she made it very difficult for me out there, so all credit to her. It’s such a pleasure to be competing against her, but I wish we played less than that!”

“Logically, it made sense to ask for the new ball, and for me, mentally, I thought it was a fresh start. I just wanted to think of it as 0-0 and I think that was the best game that I played.

“Me and Nour always have great battles. Obviously, when she plays the ball in the middle, she is such a good retriever, so I was just trying to wait a bit and hit my ball, and then go to the ‘T’. Sometimes, because it is too fast, the referees think we are trying to do something when we are actually not.”