Channel Islander hits back from two games down to beat former world champion in Red Sea surprise
By NATHAN CLARKE in El Gouna
Egyptian four-time World Champion Amr Shabana suffered a shock first round exit during the second day of action at the 2015 El Gouna International PSA World Series event, falling to England’s Chris Simpson 3-2 in a topsy-turvy 57-minute encounter.
The former World No.1 had cruised to an early two-game lead against Simpson, the World No.22, and looked odds on to seal a straight-forward victory but the 34-year-old then appeared to self-destruct, recording a catalogue of errors as Simpson fought back and levelled the match.
The 28-year-old then held his nerve to complete the 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 triumph and inflict Shabana’s first PSA World Series first round defeat since the 2011 Qatar Classic.
“After the second game I thought that was going to be one of my worst ever defeats to him,” said Simpson.
“But I’m not sure what even happened after that. I managed to get some long rallies in and he seemed to lose a bit of interest which worked in my favour and I’m incredibly happy to win that match.
“Amr has been my idol since I first started playing and it’s very hard to get over the respect you have for someone like that and be competitive but I managed to do that and it’s a strange feeling for me to get a win over him.”
Simpson will now face James Willstrop, another former World No.1, in his second round encounter after the man from Pontefract came from one-game down to see off South African Stephen Coppinger.
“James and I train together a lot and he’s been No.1 before as well so it’s two classy players one after the other for me,” added Simpson.
“I’m going to recover tonight and do my best for tomorrow.”
Elsewhere on day two of action defending El Gouna International champion Ramy Ashour, the 2014 World Champion, survived a double scare against Marwan Elshorbagy, losing the opening game and suffering an initially potentially troublesome knee injury before surging through to a 3-1 win.
Ashour (right) has not competed on the PSA World Tour since winning the World Championship in November but he’ll be hoping to return to winning ways again in his home country.
“It’s great to be here and playing in Egypt again,” said Ashour. “It’s a big deal for us and we’re proud to have such a world-class event taking place here and it’s a just a privilege to be competing.
“Marwan is doing well at the minute and I knew it would be tough match. He gave me a hard game and I’m happy he pushed me that way.
“I was a little off at the start of the match. I’m coming back from a brutal period in my life with injuries and I’m fighting every day with myself and the injuries but I have been doing this all of my life and I will keep on pushing.”
2015 El Gouna International:
Results – Round One, Bottom Half:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1:
10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (50m)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt [Q] Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (34m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-1: 4-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-8 (58m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt  Amr Shabana (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5 (57m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 13-11 (48m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-14, 11-8 (84m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7 (67m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (56m)
Draw – Second Round:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Max Lee (HKG) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Fares Dessouki (EGY)
James Willstrop (ENG) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Picture courtesy of PSA