Elias Reaches First U.S. Open Final in Third Semifinal Attempt; Gohar and El Sherbini to Meet in Seismic Showdown

Diego Elias

Peru’s Diego Elias will make his finals debut after his third straight semifinal attempt at the U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist, while the women’s final will feature a seismic showdown between world No. 1 Noran Gohar and six-time world champion Nour El Sherbini Friday, October 14, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

After falling short in the 2019 and 2021 semifinals, the twenty-five-year-old from Lima was on top of his game against a resurgent Mohamed ElShorbagy. Elias perfectly executed his game plan against the three-time U.S. Open champion, dispatching the Englishman 12-10, 11-7, 11-6 in forty-seven minutes.

“I’m just very happy with my performance,” Elias said. “We’re now 5-5 in head to heads and it’s always very tough. He became a very good friend of mine and it’s always tough playing with him. I’m feeling great, I won yesterday and today 3-0 so I’m fresh. It’s a bit late but I think I can still recover pretty well and be ready for tomorrow.”

Elias, a two-time U.S. Junior Open champion, will make his second career appearance in a Platinum final against two-time champion Ali Farag. Elias’s only Platinum title took place at the 2021 Qatar Classic.

“I think the start of the tournament wasn’t great. My first two rounds I got in trouble for no reason really. This tournament has a few rest days so it kind of felt like a new tournament from the quarters onwards and having coaches Jonathan Power and Wael El Hindi here with me is great and having their support is the best.”

Farag will have the opportunity to become a three-time U.S. Open champion Saturday after overcoming a tough challenge from the other ElShorbagy brother, Marwan, in four games.

“He’s got all the weapons in his repertoire to hurt you with, so I’m really happy that I didn’t panic after the third and I kept my focus,” Farag said. “Usually I hit more aggressive length in the back corners, I hit it with more bite, but today because I knew I don’t want to tire myself out, it was a little bit more calculated. And that made the difference and that’s why I didn’t feel necessarily as tired at the end.”

Nour El Sherbini (r) against Joelle King.

The women’s final will feature two giants of the modern game in what will be Gohar and El Sherbini’s first encounter at the U.S. Open.

El Sherbini opened the semifinal session with a comprehensive three-game win over New Zealand’s Joelle King to book her spot in her fourth career U.S. Open final. The six-time world champion has won every major title the sport has to offer–except the U.S. Open.

“I think if I lost the second it was going to be tough for me, so I’m happy to get the win,” said El Sherbini. “I just focus on every match, it’s another final and the U.S. Open is the only major title I haven’t won, so I’m just looking forward to the final.”

Gohar’s quest for a third U.S. Open title saw 2017 champion Nour El Tayeb become the latest victim, after Gohar powered her way to a win 11-5 in the fourth after El Tayeb took the third game.

“I felt that if everybody thinks that I’m not good enough to win today, it’s fine, I’m just going to prove them wrong,” Gohar said. “And I’m the kind of character who likes to challenge myself before challenging others.”

The finals will take place Saturday from 6pm ET.

Follow @USOpenSquash on Twitter and Instagram for updates throughout the tournament. Tickets are still available on usopensquash.com/ticketsSquashTV subscribers can enjoy all of the action live.