Gohar set for Black Ball title defence in Cairo

Defending champion Nouran Gohar and World #1 Ali Farag have been named as the top seeds for the Black Ball Squash Open 2024 after the draws for the PSA World Tour Gold event were released.

The event will take place from 11-16 April at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt with action available to watch live on SQUASHTV.

Women’s top seed Gohar will be looking to defend her title from 2023 and claim her first title of the season. The World #3 was sidelined for four months with a plantar fascia injury earlier in the season but bounced back strongly to reach the final of both the J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions and Windy City Open. She will open her tournament campaign against either Emilia Soini or Fayrouz Aboelkheier after a round one bye.

USA’s Olivia Weaver is the second seed for the event. The American has produced some of the best squash of her career this season, winning two events on home soil as well as recorded a semi-final finish at the U.S Open in October. The 28-year-old has never progressed past the semi-final stage at a Gold event and will be determined to achieve that milestone as she looks to break into the world’s top five.

World #6 Nour El Tayeb is the third seed and finds herself in the same side of the draw as top seed Gohar. El Tayeb claimed her third title of the season in Cleveland recently and will be looking to cause an upset to reach the final and give herself a chance at making it four wins for the season. El Tayeb will need to overcome either Zeina Mickawy or Alicia Mead in her opening match on day two.

Belgium’s Tinne Gilis and Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby are the fourth and fifth seeds and are due to meet in the quarter finals if they get through their opening matches. Gilis reached a career-high ranking of #6 last month but now sits two places off that at #8. She’ll be hoping for a big performance in that potential clash to giver herself an opportunity to reach the final. After a difficult year on tour Rowan Elaraby has shown her true fighting spirit this season and produced several impressive wins, none more notable than over top seed Gohar in Detroit.

World champion and runaway World #1 Farag is the top seed for the men’s event, looking to secure a seventh title of the season. The 31-year-old is a three-time finalist at the Black Ball Sporting Club, therefore will be extra determined to claim one of the only Gold events titles that has eluded him so far. Farag will play the winner of Curtis Malik and Omar Mosaad in his opening match in round two.

‘The Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal is the second seed for the latest Gold event on the calendar and will be hoping to score a second event title of that level this year. Asal captured the Florida Open crown in January and currently sits at World #4. The 22-year-old will play one of Auguste Dussourd or Karim El Hammamy in his opening match.

If seeings go to plan, Asal is set to face third seed Karim Abdel Gawad in the semi-finals. The pair met in the Ace Malaysia Cup final where Gawad won in straight games. That win was one of three that the Egyptian has scored so far this season and he’ll be looking to capture a fourth on home soil.

Egypt’s Mazen Hesham has been in fine form this season, beating the likes of Diego Elias and Mohamed Elshorbagy to move to his highest ranking of World #6. ‘The Black Falcon’ is set to meet Farag in the semi-finals, a repeat of the recent Windy City Open final four clash where Farag came through in five games. Hesham will open his account against either Nicolas Mueller or wildcard Aly Ezzat.