Top seed from Egypt tackles England veteran for New York title
From NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad Correspondent in New York
World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and World No.4 Nick Matthew will lock horns in New York’s picturesque Grand Central Terminal tonight in what promises to be a mouthwatering finale to the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
The duo have met ten times on the PSA World Tour, their last meeting coming at the 2014 World Championship when Elshorbagy dismantled Matthew 3-0, with eight of those encounters lasting over an hour including four 90-minute plus encounters and the capacity crowd can expect more of the same tonight.”Nick is an incredible warrior,” said Elshorbagy, the 24-year-old Egyptian. “He never gives up, ever.
“We’ve always had tough battles and I don’t see anything else happening tonight.
“He’s completely different to all the other players on the tour. The thing that Nick has that the other players haven’t had against him is that mental strength, the ability to keep pushing even when he is tired, but I showed that ability against Shabana last night so I know I can match him.”
Elshorbagy reached the top of the world rankings for the first time in November 2014, a position Matthew occupied for 19-months, and has had some of his toughest matches on the PSA World Tour since then, something Matthew understands well.
“When I got to number one for the first time it felt like you were there to be shot at,” said Matthew.
“People really come out and try to take that scalp from you and sometimes it causes you to have a bit of a readjustment but I think Mohamed has dealt with that incredibly well.
“He’s been in great form this week and last night’s performance showed why he is number one as he absorbed everything Shabana threw at him but I’m really looking forward to having a good shot at him tonight.
“He’s a physical animal. I played him when he was 18 and I was amazed at how strong he was then and he’s only added to that since but I’ve only played in patches against him in recent times so I know that if I can get on top and stay on top then I’ll be able to see it through.”
Matthew will be aiming to lift the ToC title for the second time, having already tasted success in the Big Apple in 2012, while Elshorbagy will be looking to claim only his fourth PSA World Series title – having won his first major against Matthew in the 2013 Qatar Classic.
“Finals night here has a really special feel about it and the atmosphere here really makes you feel like a star on the big stage,” said Matthew.
“Hopefully the fact that I’ve had more experience than Mohamed of this type of situation will stand me in good stead for what should be a great occasion tonight.”
Two-time World Junior Champions Elshorbagy said: “Today is the final so I don’t have to worry about playing a match tomorrow. I’m going to give it everything I have and I know I’m not going to give him one single point because I really want this win.”
Pictures courtesy of PSA