The highest prize money World Series event in PSA Tour history with a combined purse of half a million dollars—the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and Equitrust—produced Egyptian champions Nour El Tayeb and Mohamed ElShorbagy Wednesday night at the University Club of Chicago.
El Tayeb, world No. 3, fought off two championship balls against first-time World Series finalist Joelle King, coming back from 2-1 down to win 11-8, 10-12, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10 after seventy-eight minutes. The result marks the twenty-four-year-old’s second World Series title of the season on U.S. soil in addition to the 2017 U.S. Open presented by Macquarie Investment Management in October.
“I can’t believe it,” El Tayeb said. “I felt like I lost this match three or four times! I was down in the fourth, then I was down in the fifth but looking over at Haitham [Effat] and Ali [Farag]—they gave me the encouragement, but I really can’t believe that I won the tournament.”
El Tayeb endured three consecutive five-game comeback victories on her way to the title: first against world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini in the quarters, then world No. 8 Sarah-Jane Perry in the semifinals before Wednesday’s five-game final.
“Everyday that I’ve woken up I’ve felt tired but I knew that I can do it,” El Tayeb said. “I don’t think I’ve ever only played five-setters in a tournament. I think I will have to give my physical fitness coach a very big bonus!”
The men’s match following on court pitted ElShorbagy brothers, Mohamed and Marwan, against one another for the first time since December’s World Championship final that saw Mohamed win his maiden world title.
Marwan achieved his first career win over his brother on the same court last year, but it was all Mohamed Wednesday night as the elder brother and world No. 2 raked in the title in straight games 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 after thirty-nine minutes.
“It’s been an incredible season,” Mohamed said. “After last season—I worked really hard, set new goals that I wanted to achieve, and it just shows that nothing can stop anyone achieving their dream if they work hard for it.”
Since the 2017 Windy City Open, Marwan has risen from world no. 6 to a career high world No. 4 this month. Mohamed will reclaim the world No. 1 position in March’s world rankings Thursday.
“I’m really glad to get through this match with my brother,” Mohamed said. “He has played incredible this season and he will still get better. This the second time we’ve played in a big final and his first World Series title will come at the right time—I just wanted to keep it a little bit later than today.”
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