Egyptian squash champions Nour El-Sherbini and Mohamed El-Shorbagy secured their spots in the final round of the US Open, state-owned Ahram Online reported.
El-Shorbagy edged out world number 19 James Willstrop with three consecutive wins, while El-Sherbini defeated fellow Egyptian Raneem El-Welily, world number five, with a final score of 3-1. The final game on Saturday will mark the second time 25-year-old El-Shorbagy will play in the final of the US Open.
Meanwhile, El-Sherbini will face off with France’s Camille Serme on Saturday, marking her second appearance in the final round of the prestigious tournament.
“Raneem is not just a friend, she is my big sister, I learned so much from her; she is always giving me a lot of advice, and we are always together. So it’s really hard to play against each other. It’s that feeling of wanting to win, but not wanting her to lose,” El-Sherbini said following the Friday match.
Egypt is known for its high-ranking squash players, many of whom have broken world records and secured various championship titles. Earlier this month, PSA’s World Squash Rankings placed seven Egyptian players among the top 10 male players worldwide, with an Egyptian also topping off the list as the world’s best male and female players.
In January, Alexandria-born El Sherbini became the youngest ever squash player to win the 2016 Tournament of Champions held in New York City. Three months later, she once again broke a record when she became the youngest player to win the PSA Women’s World Championship, which helped her climb the world rankings to reach number one worldwide.
El Sherbini faced off against fellow Egyptian Nouran Gohar at the British Open earlier this year, while El Shorbagy went head-to-head with Ramy Ashour in the first-ever all-Egyptian final round of the tournament.
El Sherbini and Shorbagy ultimately came out on top, marking the first time Egyptians won both the men’s and women’s titles at the British Open. While Gohar would have been the youngest woman to win the title if she had won the final match, El Sherbini nevertheless made history as the first Egyptian woman to win the championship since its creation in 1922.