New Zealand’s Paul Coll dethroned Peru’s Diego Elias to reach his maiden U.S. Open final against two-time champion Ali Farag, while Egypt’s top two seeds–Nour El Sherbini and Hania El Hammamy–will contest the women’s final of the 2023 U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
Semifinals night staged four world class match ups that put on a spectacle for the packed Specter Center gallery around the Lenfest Court.
The opening match up saw Egypt’s two seed and 2021 finalist Hania El Hammamy record an impressive four-game win over Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy to reach her second U.S. Open final. El Hammamy will face seven time world champion Nour El Sherbini who dispatched American Olivia Fiechter in four games.
At twenty-seven-years old, El Sherbini has won every major title the sport has to offer except for the U.S. Open. Saturday will mark the world No. 1’s fifth final appearance in Philadelphia and opportunity to complete her trophy cabinet.
“Olivia has improved a lot from the beginning of the season, she’s been playing really well and beating Nour El Tayeb and Salma [Hany] is amazing,” El Sherbini said. “She was definitely playing well, but I wasn’t playing well. I don’t know why I dropped off, but I’m glad I came back and stuck to my game plan.”
The men’s draw will feature a first-time finalist in New Zealand’s Paul Coll. The former world No. 1 and current world No. 5 won two five-game matches to reach the final–both completed after 10:30pm to close out the day’s sessions on Thursday and Friday nights. Coll ended Peruvian Diego Elias’ hopes of both back-to-back U.S. Open titles and reclaiming the world No. 1 ranking.
“I’ve had an off-season for the first time in three years, so I put in some work, the body’s feeling the best it’s felt in three years, I’ve put in a good two months and that’s been crucial,” Coll said. “I’ve been planning my season better and having these training blocks and that’s what makes me feel good, I see Rob [Owen] for a week to prepare properly and that’s what makes me feel like I’m ready for an event and I can back these matches up. I was very happy with that and my body’s feeling great. I was trying to be more aggressive with everything I did in terms of volleying. You could see when he [Diego Elias] slow balled me down that backhand, his control was so good and I couldn’t do anything and I got stuck behind him and he picks me off. I was trying not to get stuck there and shift it a bit better than I normally shift it.”
Two-time U.S. Open champion Ali Farag will aim to join the elite club of three-time champions against Coll, but the world No. 1’s path to the final was arduous with a five-game comeback from 2-0 down against compatriot Tarek Momen.