World No. 1 Nour El Sherbini captured her first Black Ball Open title in her third final appearance, topping Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy in a four-game final Thursday, March 18, in Cairo, Egypt.
The final marked El Sherbini and Sobhy’s second Black Ball Open encounter this season, following December’s quarterfinal when Sobhy upset El Sherbini in the Gold edition of the event.
In her third career Platinum final appearance–and first since rupturing her Achilles in 2016–it was the American world No. 7 who was on the cusp of taking the first game, holding three game balls. El Sherbini fought off all of them, however, and coming back to win the opener 13-11.
Having dropped only one game all tournament on her run to the final El Sherbini appeared to be on cruise control, commanding the second game 11-5. Sobhy was able to recover in the third, earning six game balls and converting on her third 11-6 to force a fourth. At 5-all in the fourth, El Sherbini pulled away to clinch the title 11-7 after forty-two minutes.
“It’s been a great week for me I want to thank everyone for coming out,” Sobhy said. “I’ve been working hard and loving my squash so I’m really just thankful for my team back home for supporting me. I want to thank the sponsors for this tournament, Black Ball for being able to have events during a pandemic, as well as the PSA and all of the organizers. Congrats to Nour on a phenomenal performance.”
El Sherbini celebrates her twenty-third career Platinum title at just twenty-five years old.
“I’m really glad that I finally won the Black Ball Open,” said El Sherbini afterwards. “It’s one of the biggest tournaments and a very special one in Egypt. I’m definitely really happy to finally win this tournament. 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.”
The men’s Platinum draw immediately follows the women’s event with the first round set to take place Friday, March 18.
Two Americans will vie for a place in the second round. World No. 52 Shajahan Khan will be the first in action at 11:45am local time, 5:45am EDT, against Spain’s Iker Parajes on the side courts. World No. 55 Todd Harrity will also play on the side courts at 7:15pm local time, 12:15pm EDT against Switzerland’s Nicholas Mueller.