7:48 am
24 Jun 2024

Asal & Gohar Topple World No.1s to Take British Open Trophies

10 Jun 2024

Mostafa Asal and Nouran Gohar claimed the 2024 British Open titles after upsetting world No.1s Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini, respectively, on a thrilling all-Egyptian finals day at the Birmingham Rep Theatre.

Winning the British Open title for the first time in his career, Asal secured his 11-5, 2-11, 13-11, 4-11, 12-10 victory over defending champion Farag in a captivating men's final, lasting 79 minutes.

Farag was appearing in his fifth successive British Open final, but Asal - making his first appearance in the title decider of the historic event - overturned a championship ball to secure the 15th title of his career and etch his name on the famous British Open trophy.

"It's unbelievable, I'm almost running out of words, I'm almost crying," said Asal afterwards.

"To win against Paul [Coll, in the semi-finals] and Ali is amazing. I was 6-2 up in the final game and then the emotions came in, and Ali came back to 9-7. 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 at the moment is all credit to them."

World Champion Gohar has won her second British Open title after beating El Sherbini by an 11-6, 17-15, 3-11, 7-11, 11-4 scoreline in what is the longest women's British Open final on record.

At 91 minutes, the match was a high-octane affair, with El Sherbini overturning a two-game deficit as she looked to avenge last month's PSA World Championship final defeat to Gohar.

History suggested that El Sherbini would complete the comeback having beaten Gohar in three previous British Open finals, but Gohar is playing some of the best squash of her career at present, and the 26-year-old powered through to take the fifth game, earning her fourth successive PSA title.

"It felt like a never-ending story today although I was 2/0 up," said Gohar after winning the 27th title of her career.

"El Sherbini 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 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 and proving to myself that I am the best right now."

The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the season-ending Xbox PSA World Tour Finals, which will take place between June 18-22 at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House. The event will be shown live on SQUASHTV.