King storms to the title in Singapore
Joelle King is the women’s 2022 MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open champion after she got the better of Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in straight games at the OCBC Arena.
King, seeded two for the PSA World Tour Gold event, put in one of her most impressive performances of recent times as she completely nullified El Tayeb’s attacking skills to record an 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 victory in 40 minutes.
The Kiwi – who came through a five-game thriller with the unseeded American Sabrina Sobhy in the semi-finals – was the first player to find her accuracy in today’s final.
El Tayeb struggled in the early stages of the match, with her attempts at finding the back corners often seeing the ball spray out into the middle of the court, which gave King multiple opportunities to put the ball away.
The Egyptian player was much improved in the second game, however, and was able to go 10-8 up after varying the angles of her shots and using the hold to great effect as she pulled King away from the ’T’ and dragged her around the court.
It was at that moment that King produced four exemplary rallies, showing supreme composure and confidence as she patiently waited for an opportunity, before punishing El Tayeb with some sumptuous winners, particularly on the backhand volley drop.
That broke El Tayeb’s resistance, with King storming to victory in a one-sided third game to capture her 16th PSA title, whilst it’s also her biggest trophy since the 2018 Hong Kong Open.
“She’s had a baby and she’s been terrorising all of the draws. She’s been unseeded and beating player after player. It was such a tough match, I know it was 3-0, but the intensity was high and there was so much skill and athleticism on display here.
“That’s what you get when you play Nour. Congratulations to her on a great tournament, and I’m very pleased to win today.
“I was game ball down [in the second game] and I thought that I just needed to fight. I tried to get a bit of rhythm for the next game and get in front and volley, and that seemed to work. That was the turning point, I think, and I came out strong in the third and just tried to protect the lead, so I’m very happy with this win today.
“It’s the first time we’ve brought world-class squash to Singapore for a long time, and I hope to see all the fans again here next year.”
Elshorbagy takes men’s title in three
Mohamed ElShorbagy has captured his fourth PSA title of the season after he defeated Peru’s Diego Elias to win the men’s MARIGOLD Singapore Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold event.
Four of the last five matches between the pair had gone the way of Elias, but ElShorbagy continued the red-hot form which has already seen him win the Qatar Classic, Oracle NetSuite Open and New Zealand Open this season to claim an 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 victory in 45 minutes.
It was a highly-impressive performance from the Englishman, who picked up where he left off following his stunning victory over World No.2 Paul Coll in the New Zealand Open final just last week.
‘The Beast’ overpowered and outmanoeuvred Elias, playing at an incredible pace which left the Peruvian struggling to keep up. The win marks ElShorbagy’s 48th PSA title, whilst he has won back-to-back titles for the first time since 2020.
“I’m feeling very happy to have this tournament for the first time in so many years and to put my name on that prestigious trophy which has the names of a lot of greats from the past, it’s such an honour for me.
“I’m very happy to win this title, I’m very happy to back it up after last week in New Zealand, and I’m very happy that this is my fourth title this season out of my first six events. I remember last season there were many people that were saying that I could not play four tough matches in a row, but here I am winning my fourth tournament of the season. I’m far from done.
“Lots of people thought that they understood me, they knew who I am, that they knew ‘The Beast’. They don’t know who I am and what I can do when I’m angry. I’m really happy to come back and win events again and I’m very happy to play in front of such a great crowd.
“Diego and myself, before this match our head-to-head was 5-5. You couldn’t get any closer. He’s definitely not my favourite player to play against, but every time you play someone, you have to learn something new.
“He beat me at the U.S. Open last month, he killed me 3-0 actually. He controlled the whole match, so I think it was my turn to learn something. Next time he will probably learn something from today, and that’s how you improve as rivals.
“Before this match, I had to speak to my team, to Greg [Gaultier] and my brother as well. He just played Diego a couple of weeks ago, so I made a point of calling him last night to understand what he did against him in Switzerland. Luckily, I have a brother who is playing at the top of the rankings and we can think together sometimes against opponents.
“He taught me so much about what I could do today. I think I did everything that he told me last night, and he’s going to be a proud brother, definitely.”