Grasshopper Cup: Clinical El Sherbini Beats El Hammamy To Defend Title

Nour El Sherbini defended her Grasshopper Cup title in ruthless fashion, beating compatriot Hania El Hammamy in the final for the second straight year.

El Hammamy would’ve been in little doubt over the quality she was facing, but if she needed a reminder, it arrived on the first point of the match. 

Engaged in a steady rally down the backhand wall, El Sherbini unleashed a vicious cross-court winner out of nowhere to give herself an early lead. 

With the ball flying around on the warm glass court at Halle 622, El Sherbini continued to impress the capacity crowd, punishing a loose El Hammamy drop with a delicate trickle boast to move 4-1 up. 

A backhand into the tin with El Hammamy on the floor was a rare lapse from the World No.1, but the wry smile that followed showed how relaxed she was feeling. 

She was soon 10-6 up and a yes let became a stroke following an El Sherbini review, giving her a 1-0 lead in 15 minutes. 

El Hammamy took the unusual step of staying on court between games one and two, and went toe-to-toe with the defending champion in the rallies that followed. 

A small cut on El Sherbini’s knee forced her to take an injury break at 5-3 up, but any chances of her losing momentum were soon dispelled with a sublime backhand drop from deep in the court. 

The 27-year-old retained her lead for the duration of the game, though only after the video referee ruled that a sprawling pick-up from El Hammamy’s racket was not good at 8-7. 

Another brilliant boast, this time on the forehand, gave El Sherbini a two-game lead, but El Hammamy came out firing in the third. 

She raced out to a 4-0 lead only to suffer the same fate as her opponent one game earlier, being forced off court as blood leaked from her knee. 

The stoppage didn’t appear to derail her momentum as she moved to 6-1 up, with both players now showcasing bandages on their knees.

As all good champions do, though, El Sherbini kept on coming. 

A 6-1 lead for El Hammamy soon turned into 8-7 and then 9-9, at which point El Sherbini was sensing glory.

A double hit from El Hammamy followed another El Sherbini trickle boast to set up championship point, which resulted in a stroke to hand the No.1 seed the title. 

“It feels amazing,” she said after her win. 

“I’m happy with my performance, happy that I won 3-0 and happy to retain my title. 

“I think [movement] was the main key for me. Hania’s game is very physical and you have to find the balance between the physical movement and the squash. 

“I was trying to mix between moving well, getting her shots back and winning my points, but moving well today was definitely one of my main keys.” 

The win was a second straight victory in a major final for El Sherbini, and a second straight against El Hammamy, having beaten her 3-0 in the final of the U.S. Open Presented by TRUIST last week. 

Discussing the matchup specifically, El Sherbini added: “The final match is always different from any match the whole week, it doesn’t matter how I’m playing.  

“I think I played even better today than in the final of the U.S. Open, and beating Hania in two major finals 3-0 proves a lot to me. 

“I’m really happy with the way I’m playing and hopefully I keep going like this.” 

Result: [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (63m)

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga