Finals : Gohar and Asal down defending champs in five !!

After seven days of action in Birmingham,  the 2024 British Open Champions were  crowned this afternoon at The Rep Theatre

Mostafa Asal and Nouran Gohar captured the 2024  titles after they defeated World No.1s, top seeds and defending champions  Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini on a thrilling all-Egyptian finals day at the spectacular Birmingham Rep Theatre.

It was also Masters Finals Day over at Solihull Arden Club  

British Open 2024 : Sun 9th Jun, Day EIGHT, THE FINALS

[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-2 [1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy)   11-6, 17-15, 3-11, 7-11, 11-4 (91m)

[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-2 [1] Ali Farag (Egy)   11-5, 2-11, 13-11, 4-11, 12-10 (79m)


Reports and Reaction

Asal downs defending champ Farag in Five

[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-2 [1] Ali Farag (Egy) 11-5, 2-11, 13-11, 4-11, 12-10 (79m)

World No.4 Mostafa Asal has won his first British Open title after holding off defending champion Ali Farag in an epic five-game clash at The Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Asal, 23, produced one of the performances of his career to capture his third title of the season, overturning a championship ball in the deciding game to eventually win after 79 minutes of thrilling action.

The differing game plans of both players were stark in the early stages of the match, with Farag trying to elongate the rallies and put some work into the legs of Asal, with the latter looking for winners whenever given the briefest window of opportunity. It was Asal whose quality proved too hot to handle though, with ‘The Raging Bull’ stunning the packed house in Birmingham by charging through the first game by an 11-5 scoreline.

Top seed Farag reacted as champions do in the second, nailing his lines and racing into a substantial early lead. From the mid-point of the game on, instead of engaging in a physical battle with Farag, Asal decided to conserve his energy and go for broke, missing a number of attempted winners, and losing a one-sided second game in just six minutes.

The pair couldn’t be separated in the 25-minute third game that followed, with the level of squash moving up to a whole new level. The pair traded blows back and forth, with Asal moving two game balls up at 10-8, but Farag fighting back to force a tie-break. However, Farag couldn’t save a third game ball, with the top seed clipping a backhand volley from the middle of the court into the tin to fall 2-1 behind.

As was the case earlier in the match, Farag once again fought back into the encounter, showing some incredible defensive work to negate the power of his Egyptian compatriot. Despite the stop-start nature of the fourth game, which included a number of traffic issues in the middle of the court, Farag kept a cool head to force a deciding game.

Yet more momentum swings continued in what proved to be an epic fifth game, with Asal moving into a 6-2 advantage, but Farag taking five straight points to retake the lead. The top seed was on the cusp of victory at 10-9 up, but Asal found a perfect dying length to force a tie-break. ‘The Raging Bull’ won the following point to move championship ball up, and at the first time of asking, sealed victory when a no-let decision was awarded in his favour by the video referee.

“It’s unbelievable. I’m almost running out of words, I’m almost crying! To win against Paul and Ali  it’s amazing. I was 6-2 up in the final game and then the emotions came in of winning the match and Ali came back to 9-7, and it was almost going the other way. But what a relief.

“At the beginning of the season I had no structure until I went to Pontefract to work with James Willstrop. To play the squash that I’m winning with at the moment is all credit to them.”

Gohar beats Sherbini in five game thriller for her second BO title

[3] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-2 [1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 11-6, 17-15, 3-11, 7-11, 11-4 (91m)

World No.2 Nouran Gohar won her second British Open title after holding off a late charge from defending champion Nour El Sherbini to win a thrilling five-game clash at The Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Current World Champion Gohar continued her stunning recent form to secure her fourth consecutive title on the PSA World Tour, taking the longest British Open women’s final on record in 91 minutes.

‘The Terminator’, who was competing in her fifth consecutive British Open final, had ElSherbini on the back foot right from the offset, hitting with her trademark power and troubling the movement of ‘The Warrior Princess’ into the front two corners. Somewhat surprisingly, errors flowed from El Sherbini’s racket in the opening game, with the Egyptian missing her targets on numerous occasions when well-placed in the rally.

The inevitable response came from El Sherbini after falling a game behind, raising her game and taking a 5-1 lead in the second. However, once again, a couple of clipped drops into the tin from El Sherbini helped Gohar to draw parity and move one game ball up at 10-9.

El Sherbini saved the first game ball with a beautiful cross-court drop, before Gohar smashed a regulation backhand straight into the tin with the score 11-10 in her favour. Four more game balls would come and go for the No.4 seed in a nail-biting tie-break before Gohar finally managed to move two games up.

World No.1 El Sherbini looked to have her house back in order early in the third, moving and hitting with improved accuracy, but a tumble after tripping on Gohar’s leg led to a contributed injury break, with the physio called on to treat El Sherbini’s left knee. This distraction didn’t perturb ‘The Warrior Princess’ though, with the Egyptian returning to the court and firing in a number of quick-fire winners with the colder ball to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

The momentum continued to swing in El Sherbini’s favour in the fourth, with the top seed managing to take control of the ’T’ and utilise the multitude of weapons at her disposal from the mid-section of the court.

El Sherbini forced a deciding game, but didn’t get off to the quick start that she would have wanted, with Gohar regathering her composure and tight lines down both wings. The current World Champion took and early lead and never let El Sherbini get level again. She moved to four match balls up after 90 minutes of action, and clinched the title when a no-let decision was awarded in her favour by the video referee.

“It felt like a never-ending story today although I was 2-0 up,” Gohar said after the match. “Nour won her first World Championships title from 2-0 down, so if anyone can come back, it is her. She played better when she was down, and I tried to prepare for that, but it was very difficult to stop.

“I’m just glad that I could keep my nerves in that fifth game and just play it as though it was 0-0 in the first game. I just wanted to end the match being proud of my efforts.

“I feel like I can trust my physicality right now. I can go out there and play for 100 minutes, I’m injury-free, I can hit whatever shot whenever I want, so why not win every single match I can.

“I think after the World Championships, it was a major relief and there was pressure off me. This week it was more about enjoying myself, proving to myself before anyone else that I am the best right now.”

Nouran waits for the Video Ref decision on the final point …

The finalists mini-gallery