Saturday, February 4, 2023

Egyptians dominate to make history at Hong Kong Open

Gregory Gaultier at full stretch against Marwan ElShorbagy

Brothers battle it out in all-Egyptian semi-finals 


There will be an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up in a men’s PSA World Series event for the first time in history after Mohamed ElShorbagy, his younger brother Marwan, Karim Abdel Gawad and Ali Farag prevailed on quarter-finals day to reach the last four of the 2017 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open.

The Bristol-based ElShorbagy brothers, Mohamed and Marwan, will face each other for a place in the final in what will their 10th meeting on the PSA World Tour after they defeated Mohamed Abouelghar and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, respectively.

Both players won in four games to set up the latest instalment of their brotherly rivalry, with Marwan winning their last two matches, including an emotional victory during the Windy City Open last February.

Marwan said: “I miss these matches, we played four times last season and I miss being on court with him somehow. I miss going into a tournament knowing that I would play him. I still hate playing him, but I miss these moments.

“You remember these moments and he’s been in fine form recently. He was in the middle of a shaky season when I beat him before but he is playing really well this season, so I’m pleased to get the opportunity to be on court with him when he’s in fine form.”

They will be joined in the last four by World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and U.S. Open winner Ali Farag. Gawad overcame fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen by a 3-1 margin, while Farag defeated Declan James by the same scoreline to write their names into the history books.

“We know we have very good players in Egypt and we are all around the same age, from 23-26 years old,” said Gawad.

“We’re young and we’ve been competing with each other since we were kids. I’m really glad that I’m one of the players to reach the semi-finals. Hopefully we can always do great things for our sport.”

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History was also made in the women’s event as World No.3 Camille Serme finally claimed her first ever win over 10-time Hong Kong Open champion Nicol David on the PSA World Tour at the 17th attempt.

Since first meeting in 2008, Serme had never got the better of the eight-time World Champion and had only taken more than a solitary game on one occassion previously to their quarter-final clash. But at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre, Serme – who lost to David in the 2012 final – attacked well and kept her composure to end her unwanted streak.

“It was a very tough game, it’s always a battle with her even if she’s not at the top of the rankings any more,” Serme said.

“She’s still a great player and I knew it was going to be hard. I can’t believe I have just done it. I think I had to attack and make her work at the front of the court as much as I could.

“It would be amazing to reach the final, especially after losing in the second round at the U.S. Open. It’s very positive to beat Nicol for the first time so I could be in the semi-finals here. I wanted to do my best and I’m enjoying my squash at the moment.”

Serme will clash with El Welily – who she has beaten just once in seven matches – after El Welily came through a five-game cracker with Joelle King, winning it 14-12 in a nail-biting decider.

“I have no idea how I managed to pull that one off,” said El Welily. “I had to go for the winners as much as I could because if I played basic squash she would play a winning shot, so I had to steal it before she did. All credit to her, she played a really good match.”

World Champion Nour El Sherbini and World No.4 Laura Massaro will meet in the day’s other semi-final. El Sherbini dispatched defending champion Nouran Gohar in just 27 minutes, while Massaro was made to work hard by Welsh No.1 Tesni Evans, but came through to win in four games.

The semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open will take place today (November 18) from 15:00 local time (HKT).

All four matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while it will also be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. 

Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open 2017, Hong Kong Park Sports Centre, Hong Kong China.

PSA M165 Men’s Quarter-Finals:
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6 (51m)
[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9 (46m)
[4] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6 (43m)
[2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 12-14, 11-7 (70m)

[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
[4] Ali Farag (EGY) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

PSA W165 Women’s Quarter-Finals:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [7] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (27m)
[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [14] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-1: 4-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6 (47m)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [5] Nicol David (MAS) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6 (45m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [10] Joelle King (NZL) 3-2: 11-8, 17-15, 7-11, 8-11, 14-12 (66m)

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG)
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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