The 2022 U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist ended in historic and unfortunate fashion, as Egypt’s Nouran Gohar matched Nicol David’s record of three consecutive titles, while Peru’s Diego Elias became the first South American champion after two-time champion Ali Farag was forced to concede the match after two points due to a knee injury Saturday, October 15, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
The capacity crowd were treated to a battle between two greats of the modern women’s game in Gohar and six-time world champion Nour El Sherbini.
After splitting the first two games, Gohar’s pace and power were too much for El Sherbini as the world No. 1 clinched the title 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 after fifty-one minutes.
“It’s so hard against Nour, she who knows how to win titles even if she’s not playing her best,” Gohar said. “It’s more mental than anything with her and I was really happy with the way I played. It’s a joy to play against her, I actually missed our battles last year because it brings the best out of us both, she’s a great player and it was very enjoyable out there.”
Gohar now joins David as the only men or women to win three consecutive U.S. Open titles having also won in 2019 and 2021, and moves just short of Cassie Jackman’s four total.
“Honestly, I don’t want to lose my No.1 spot under any circumstances, but when I think about the rankings too much, it’s extra pressure that I don’t need. I feel like I go into a tournament wanting to win because then I know I will get the maximum points, so I’m just focused on what’s in my hands and that’s all I think about.”
The ensuing men’s final was poised to either crown another three-time champion in Farag or a first-time champion in Elias, but it ended abruptly after two points when Farag pulled up with a knee injury and offered his hand to a stunned Elias.
“I’m happy but I just don’t know how to feel,” Elias said afterwards. “I feel very bad for him, I was ready for a big battle. I’m super happy, I just didn’t want it to be this way. I’m going to have a beer for sure, but I have a match on Wednesday at the Grasshopper Cup in Switzerland, so I can’t have too many.”
Elias–a two-time U.S. Junior Open champion–has now won two Platinum titles, adding the U.S. Open to his 2021 Qatar Classic title.
“I just spoke to my family, they’re all super happy that I made history. I still don’t know what happened to him. I’m usually very happy after I win matches and tournaments, but I don’t know how to feel, I still can’t believe what’s happened.”
The forty-ninth U.S. Open was the eleventh held in partnership with Drexel University, and the second year of presenting sponsor support from Truist.