It was a double Egyptian delight as second seeds Mohamed Abouelghar and Nouran Gohar took top honours at the rain-interrupted finals of the Macau Squash Open 2017.
Rain caused general disruption to the tournament, but stopped just in time for the women’s final. Halfway through the first game it came back with a vengeance and there was no other option but to move play back to the squash center across the peninsula.
According to a press release issued yesterday by the Macau Squash Association, the women started with a high tempo with Joelle King and Nouran Gohar eager to be in front and taking the ball as early as possible. The first couple of points were close, with both taking turns to lead up to 3-3. New Zealand’s King then had a lucky bounce on her serve to budge ahead that was followed by a nick. She got another two points to 7-4. The rain came pouring during the next rally and a quick call was made to move play back to the squash center.
Once back at the squash center, it seemed that Gohar adapted quicker and she drew level before going on to take the crucial first game 13-11.
The second game saw both players continue to demonstrate their respective styles in a broad continuation from the first game; King with her occasional holds and soft cross court backhands and Gohar with her power play and rare soft touches in the front. It was close up to 7-7, before Gohar raced the next four points for a two-game lead.
Both players traded points once again in the third, with neither initially taking more than a two-point lead. But finally, Gohar made a breakthrough to steal the game.
“I think I’ve had five gold events where I’ve been runner up. To win today, it’s a big thing for me. Not so much beating Joelle [King], but it’s like a victory against myself. I was a little nervous when play was stopped earlier. It’s not something I am used to dealing with. It nearly happened in China also, but today, play actually moved back. Joelle was leading then and that affected me in a positive way. I’m really happy with the way I stayed focused mentally tonight.”
In the men’s, second seed Mohamed Abouelghar played flawlessly, awing the crowd at the squash center. Abouelghar was able to maintain a level of control over opponent Saurav Ghosal that made the game look easy. In just one moment was Ghosal in the lead – the first point of the game – and he would not lead again.
After dropping the opening point, the Egyptian star raced through the next eleven points in succession for the lead. He followed this up with the next six points in the second game. Saurav won back two points and drew a loud applause from the crowd.
But after that, it was back to Mohamed controlling the T and sending Saurav all over the court. In a befitting end to the game, Mohamed leapt high into air for a soft forehand volley drop that ended so delicately in the front. The third game continued in much the same fashion, taking Abouelghar just 29 minutes in total to win his second USD50,000 event.
“It wasn’t as easy as it looked in there. Saurav has been around for a long time and his skills are second to none. When I heard we were moving back here, I thought it’s a good thing for me as the glass court is a lot more dead, so it’s better for Saurav’s shot making,” said Macau Open champion Abouelghar. This is a great start to the season for me,” he added.