Egypt’s World No.17 Youssef Ibrahim has reached his first PSA World Tour Platinum final after he came out on top in a feisty five-game battle with World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy to reach the title decider of the Windy City Open Presented by Walter Family.
Ibrahim had already beaten the older ElShorbagy brother – former World No.1 Mohamed – in the quarter finals and he followed up that win with a victory over two-time runner-up Marwan at the University Club of Chicago, winning 11-5, 6-11, 9-11, 11-1, 11-0 in a match that saw both players penalised with conduct strokes due to dissent.
“I expected the match to have a lot of mind games involved,” said Ibrahim, who is the first unseeded player to reach the Windy City Open finals since Pakistan’s Yasir Ali Butt in 2012.
“The last time we played, the same thing happened, and I unintentionally got dragged into his game. He’s the best at playing that type of game, so I have to give this to him. I’m happy that I dealt with it after the third game I lost.
“I had to keep the rallies going, playing tight and high because anything in the middle he takes too much space. I’m happy that when I stayed on court after the third to get my mind right, I was able to deal with it today.”
Up next for Ibrahim is a meeting with 2020 runner-up Paul Coll, who celebrated his first day as the new World No.1 with a gruelling 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 victory against former World Champion Tarek Momen.
Coll, who today became the first man from New Zealand to top the PSA World Rankings, will look to win his second major title when he takes on Ibrahim in tomorrow’s title decider. Coll has won all three of their previous meetings on the PSA World Tour and is yet to drop a game to the Egyptian.
“It’s a new challenge for me and I’m enjoying it,” said Coll.
“It’s a big week for me with a lot of pressure and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m learning as a player and I think I’m growing, I’m loving this week and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m very happy I contained him, I came out strong in the fifth, and I’m very happy with how I responded and I’m glad I brought it home. I’m really excited for tomorrow and another final here in Chicago, and I’m looking to win this one.”
In the women’s final, World No.3 Hania El Hammamy and World No.2 Nouran Gohar will go head-to-head in a repeat of October’s U.S. Open final following respective wins over World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World No.6 Joelle King.
El Hammamy achieved a magnificent comeback from two games down to end El Sherbini’s title defence and her unbeaten run in Chicago, which stretched back to 2018 after 20 straight wins in the ‘Windy City’.
“I have no words to explain how happy I am with today’s win,” said El Hammamy.
“I’ve beaten Nour twice before, but I think today is a little more special. Being 2-0 down is amazing to be able to win in five. She’s been World No.1 for 17 months and been a World Champion and she needs no introduction. Her confidence and stamina are so hard to break, and to win that after being 2-0 down means a lot to me.”
Gohar, who won that U.S. Open final bout with El Hammamy, was ruthlessly efficient against King as she dispatched the Kiwi in straight games after just 32 minutes of play.
The 24-year-old will now appear in her first Windy City Open final and will look to win her third Platinum title in a row.
“I’m very happy with it, having a 3-0 match before the final definitely helps to prepare for that as it’s the most important match of the tournament,” Gohar said.
“I train really hard for these kinds of matches and I’m very happy with my performance today, Joelle is such a good player and I’m so happy I won in three and can go to bed early tonight. Last time, Hania beat me, it’s always tough playing her and you can never take her for granted. Even if you win a few times in a row, she’s definitely one of the best players right now and I’m really looking forward to that match.”
The Windy City Open finals take place tomorrow (March 2) and play begins at 18:00 (GMT-6). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV as well as the channels of PSA’s broadcast partners.
Results – Men’s Semi Finals: 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 6-11, 9-11, 11-1, 11-0 (56m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 (89m)
Draw – Men’s Final: To Be Played March 2nd
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Results – Women’s Semi Finals: 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 15-17, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5 (66m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (32m)
Draw – Women’s Final: To Be Played March 2nd
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)