World No.1 Raneem El Welily successfully defended her El Gouna International title after overcoming fellow Egyptian Nouran Gohar to lift her third successive PSA Tour trophy.
El Welily beat World No.2 Nour El Sherbini in last year’s final, and was up against the woman who ended El Sherbini’s run in this tournament at the quarter-final stage. The 30-year-old took the opening game, despite being under immense pressure from her hard-hitting opponent.
Gohar, nine years El Welily’s junior, struck back in the second as El Welily went walkabout mentally and surrendered a 5-2 lead to lose 9 of the next 11 points as Gohar levelled.
The momentum then shifted in El Welily’s favour as she came back to take the third 12-10 on the tie-break, and their battle continued into the fourth game where Gohar, sporting heavy strapping on her left knee, required an injury break after a lunge into the front corner to send El Welily 8-6 up.
The World No.7 returned to court, but it was clear that she was having to protect the knee as she lacked the same explosivity in her movement, and El Welily closed out the win to earn the 22nd PSA Tour title of her career.
Raneem El Welily (right) v Nouran Gohar (left)
“I think that the blood injury break turned me down a little bit, so I'm glad I managed to come back after being 6-2 down [in the third],” El Welily said afterwards.
“It's definitely hard pushing pushing yourself this way, but when you're in a final of such a great tournament, you do your best to stay in, and you do your best to win. That's what I was thinking at that point.
“All thanks to [Tournament Promoter] Amr Mansi and his entire for putting on such a great event. It's always special here in El Gouna, We always love being here, and I think I speak for the players when I say we really enjoy being here.
“Not just for the organisation, but also for the good weather, the great crowd, and there's nothing better than playing in front of your home crowd.”