Ali Farag & Hania El Hammamy emerge victorious in historic 2023 QTerminals Qatar Squash Classic

September 18 2023

The 2023 QTerminals Qatar Squash Classic witnessed remarkable performances, with Ali Farag and Hania El Hammamy emerging as the deserved champions in the men's and women's championships, respectively. Their journey to victory was marked by intense competition and exceptional skill on the squash court. The conclusion of the second Professional Squash Association (PSA) Platinum event of the 2023-24 season witnessed Ali Farag maintaining his dominance on the men’s international circuit, while Hania El Hammamy made a triumphant comeback in the women's championship, eight years after the event's last women’s champion.

In the men's event, England's Charlie Lee caused a major upset on the opening day, defeating France's World No.25 Gregoire Marche, despite being ranked World No.45 himself. Lee's exceptional performance showed his prowess in manoeuvring the ball on the all-glass show court and his accuracy on the backhand side. He cleverly squeezed Marche down the left side and capitalised on loose balls, securing his place in the second round.

In the women's draw, Malaysia's Sivasangari Subramaniam and Egypt's young sensation Amina Orfi made confident upsets on the first day of competition. Subramaniam, who had slipped down the rankings due to a car accident last summer, made a strong comeback, defeating Sana Ibrahim in straight games. Amina Orfi faced Egyptian opposition as well, needing four games to overcome Nadine Shahin and advance to round two.

Ali Farag kicked off his campaign against his good friend Mohamed Abouelghar, ranked World No.34. The top seed continued his outstanding form from Paris, where he secured the season's first PSA World Tour Platinum title. Farag swiftly took a 2-0 lead, winning 11-1 11-5. While Abouelghar displayed his class and competitive spirit in the third game, Farag's excellence prevailed as he closed out the match in three games, winning the third game 13-11.

Women's third seed Hania El Hammamy faced a slow start in her tournament opener against compatriot Hana Ramadan on the all-glass show court, losing the opening game 11-8. However, she quickly regained her form, demonstrating her precision and aggression to secure victory in the next three games.

Round two featured notable wins for Joel Makin and Karim Abdel Gawad, who defeated Paul Coll and Marwan ElShorbagy, two of the top eight seeds, respectively. Subramaniam continued her impressive run by defeating Olivia Clyne, while Salma Hany surprised with a win over sixth seed Nour El Tayeb.

In round three, Ali Farag faced former top 10 player Fares Dessouky, who had beaten Farag in the Black Ball Open final in December 2020. This time, Farag made it look easy, systematically countering Dessouky's attacks and securing a straight-game victory.

Hania El Hammamy, after a competitive first game against Subramaniam, demonstrated her quality and confidence, advancing to her first quarter-final of the season with two consecutive 11-6 wins.

In other round three matches, Tinne Gilis staged a remarkable comeback from two games down to defeat New Zealand's No.4 seed Joelle King, while Scotland's Greg Lobban defeated seventh seed Victor Crouin of France in a thrilling contest. Men’s third seed Mohamed ElShorbagy and compatriot Youssef Ibrahim delivered an epic match, with ElShorbagy eventually snatching victory.

In the women's competition, Hania El Hammamy faced a tough challenge in the quarter-finals against No.8 seed Georgina Kennedy of England. After taking a 2-0 lead with confident play, El Hammamy had to withstand Kennedy's resurgence in the third game. She maintained her focus in the fourth game and clinched victory in a tiebreak, securing her spot in the semi-finals.

Ali Farag and Tarek Momen, meeting for the 20th time of the PSA World Tour, battled for a semi-final spot. Farag's recent dominance, with nine consecutive wins against Momen, made him the favourite, however the match featured intense front-court action, with both players recognising the court conditions favoured an aggressive approach. Farag's superior performance in crucial moments gave him a 3-1 victory to reach the last four.

Both eventual champions delivered complete performances in the semi-finals. Hania El Hammamy faced Amanda Sobhy, who had defeated the top seed Nouran Gohar in the previous round. El Hammamy, in impeccable form, secured a convincing 3-0 victory, setting up a final showdown with Nour El Sherbini.

Ali Farag encountered Welsh No.1 Joel Makin in his semi-final, aiming for his sixth consecutive PSA World Tour Platinum event final. The match showed a clash between attack and defence, with Farag's control prevailing. Farag won in three games, earning a place in his 60th PSA World Tour final.

In the women's final, Hania El Hammamy faced off against Nour El Sherbini, with the intense rallies delighting the Doha crowd. Nour El Sherbini took a 2-1 lead, dictating play around the middle of the court, however, El Hammamy's aggressive style led to a stunning comeback to force a fifth game.

Hania El Hammamy started the fifth game strongly, leading 7-1, while Nour El Sherbini struggled to find momentum. With the score at 10-6 match point to El Hammamy, an emotional victory followed, marking her second PSA World Tour Platinum win at just 23 years old.

In the men's final, Ali Farag met Diego Elias, replicating their recent Paris Squash 2023 final. The first game saw Farag with three game balls at 10-7, before Elias fought back. Farag eventually secured the game 15-13. After winning the second game 11-5, Farag maintained his momentum, leading 8-5 in the third. Despite Elias's comeback efforts, Farag clinched victory, claiming the second PSA World Tour Platinum title of the season.