[Above, (l-r): Raneem El Welily, Oracle NetSuite’s Evan Goldberg, Mohamed ElShorbagy]
Egypt’s world No. 1 Raneem El Welily and world No. 2 Mohamed ElShorbagy fulfilled their top seedings, defeating compatriots Nour El Tayeb and Tarek Momen to lift the 2019 Oracle NetSuite Open trophies Monday, September 30, in San Francisco. The finals are presented by the Wall Street Journal.
The women’s final opened proceedings on the Squash Engine Glass Court staged in Embarcadero Plaza. El Welily and El Tayeb, world No. 5, were making their second appearance of the season against one another, weeks after El Tayeb defeated El Welily in a five-game, seventy-minute China Open final.
The Oracle NetSuite Open final proved to be vastly different from China, however. El Welily needed just twenty-three minutes to clinch the title, pulling away towards the end of each game 11-5, 11-5, 11-5. El Welily, the 2018 runner up, was pleased with her clinical performance.
“I definitely felt good out there today,” El Welily said. “I just was trying to play all the way to the end and not to give any loose shots or give any cheap points. I wanted to try as hard as I could and I think that was what kept me going through to the end. “Nour is a great shot maker and I know she goes for shots anytime. Whenever you give her a loose shot, she just kills it straight away so knowing that, I could not be relaxed on court. You are always on your toes to try and get up as far as possible, before moving quickly back to retrieve whatever she does next. It is not an easy job against someone of Nour’s caliber, of course.”
This year marked the thirty-year-old’s second appearance in San Francisco.
“We are all trying to do our best every tournament,” El Welily said. “Everyone is fighting out there, and I am just glad to be a winner out there today, and maybe she will be next time.”
Momen, El Welily’s husband and the tournament’s two seed, stepped on court next in a bid to have a husband and wife title double. The world No. 3 came close to doing so but fell just short in a five-game marathon. Momen and ElShorbagy put on spectacle worthy of a major final for the capacity crowd.
ElShorbagy took the first game 11-5 to earn an early advantage. Momen earned two game balls up 10-8 in the second, which ElShorbagy staved off. Backed by a vocal crowd, Momen forced two errors from ElShorbagy to take the twenty-minute second game13-11. ElShorbagy responded by going 2-1 up with an 11-7 third game. A close fourth saw Momen pull away from 6-all to force a decisive fifth game 11-7.
In the second rally of the fifth game, Momen sustained a rolled ankle, throwing off his momentum. ElShorbagy capitalized, pushing through the fifth to clinch his second Oracle NetSuite Open title 11-4 after seventy minutes.
ElShorbagy celebrates his second Oracle NetSuite Open title in what was his third consecutive final appearance.
“The way Tarek has been playing, the consistency he has had is unbelievable. I think the way the match went. It was cat-and-mouse. We both kept doing different things and luckily I won the first game so I had the advantage,” ElShorbagy said. “Matches like this, when they go to a fifth, anything can happen. Whoever has the better start in the fifth usually pulls through. Luckily, I had that better start today. We are going to play a lot this season and hopefully we will some more amazing matches for the fans to enjoy.”
The Oracle NetSuite Open celebrates the end of its ten-year diamond anniversary and eighth year of staging the event in Embarcadero Plaza.