El Sherbini clinches maiden Dubai title

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Egyptian world No.1 Nour El Sherbini clinched her maiden ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals title by defeating countrywoman and world champion Raneem El Welily in the final at the Emirates Golf Club.

The 22-year-old El Sherbini, who finished runner-up to Englishwoman Laura Massaro last year, made sure the title was hers, with a 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 result in a match that lasted 41 minutes.

It was El Sherbini's seventh PSA World Tour title of the season and her 17th in 29 finals. El Sherbini, who has been the world No.1 for 26 months now, also continued her hold on her opponent El Welily this season.

This was the pair's sixth meeting this season with El Sherbini winning four of their contests. World No.2 El Welily had managed to win two, including the PSA World Championship final last December.

El Sherbini also went level with El Welily on nine wins in their head-to-head tally.

Meanwhile, it was second time unlucky for El Welily, who had lost to Massaro, when the event was first held in Dubai in 2016.

There had been a steely resolve about El Sherbini this past week, dropping just one game en route to the final. She had put the skates on, coasting through her Group A fixtures, without dropping a single game.

She only dropped a game in her semifinal match-up against Frenchwoman Camille Serme.

And El Sherbini had the wheels on yet again, taking just eight minutes, as she raced through the first game against El Welily. She was in fine flow, with some fluent play and deft drops as El Welily was left to play catch-up.

But the second game was to be an intense affair with both locked at 6-6, 7-7, 8-8 and 9-9 before El Welily came up with a fine shot, which El Sherbini couldn't return. That gave El Welily game ball and she closed out the game in just nine minutes to draw level.

It was pretty tight in the third game as well even though El Welily had raced to a 3-0 lead. They went level at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 before El Sherbini took the crucial lead. And she managed to preserve that before taking the game.

El Welily started well again in the fourth game, which she had to win to stay in the match. But El Sherbini denied her compatriot to seal the game and the match.

"This is the best match we've played in the whole season," said El Sherbini.

"I've reached the semis twice and last year I reached the final, so this time it had to be mine and I just wanted to prove that I deserved to be at the top of the game right now. This tournament was really important for me and that's why I've been pushing hard from the first match," she added.

El Sherbini said it was tough playing against El Welily week in and week out and added that she had to bring something else to the table this time around.

"This is the sixth time this season and it's hard to play the same player every month. You have to try and change your tactics and your game. We're always pushing each other and we definitely learn from each other. I've been watching her a lot and learning from her a lot and it's an honour to battle with her the whole season," El Sherbini said.


1-Nour El Sherbini (Egypt) beat 2-Raneem El Welily (Egypt) 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 (41m)


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