KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 3 Raneem El Weleily claimed her second CIMB Malaysian Open title after a pulsating win over compatriot Nour El Tayeb at the Nu Sentral mall.
A day after stunning home favourite and eight-time winner Nicol David in the semi-finals, the 25-year-old Raneem endured a topsy-turvy match against 21-year-old Nour.
Raneem, winner in 2012, had to dig deep to suppress Nour, playing in her first Women’s Squash Association World Series final, with a 7-11, 11-3, 12-10, 2-11, 11-7 win.
Raneem made several dazzling shots but was guilty of erratic play as well. Nour took the first set 11-7.
Raneem however took hold of the second and held her nerves in the third set to win 12-10.
Nour staged a gallant fightback in the fourth set to force a decider.
It was experience that won the day as Nour’s resistance finally cracked and Raneem claimed the win in 40 minutes.
“Nour has done extremely well to get to the final and she played a great game today too,” said Raneem.
“We have the same coach and we obviously know each other’s game and that made the match a lot tougher.
“But I’m very happy to win because it’s been a while since I’ve made the final of a tournament,” added Raneem whose last title was the Cleveland Classic in February 2013.
In the men’s event, top seed Mohamed El Shorbagy was all smiles after finally winning his first title on Malaysian soil by beating surprise package Max Lee of Hong Kong.
The world No. 3 who was a finalist in the 2012 Malaysian Open final survived a slippery court and a jittery last set to secure an 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 win.
It was Mohamed’s third win over the world No. 25 in their Professional Squash Association meetings and he becomes only the fourth Egyptian, after Ali Aziz, Amr Shabana and Tarek Momen to win the Malaysian Open title.
“I’m really happy to have finally won it. I’ve been coming to Malaysia for the past five to six years but I’ve never won before,” said the 23-year-old Egyptian.
“I will definitely come back next year because this is now a meaningul tournament for me and hopefully I’ll take this win to the Hong Kong Open (Aug 24-31).”