‘My brother is a completely different player from 12 months ago’ says Marwan
By SEAN REUTHE in El Gouna
World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and his younger brother, World No.4 Marwan, will go head-to-head for the fifth time this season as they advanced to the semi-finals of the El Gouna International, PSA World Series tournament held at El Gouna’s marina courtesy of respective wins over Germany’s Simon Rösner and 2017 runner-up Karim Abdel Gawad.
The ElShorbagy siblings met at the quarter-final stage of last year’s tournament when Marwan eased past his big brother – who was out of form at the time – in just 24 minutes but he has lost their four previous meetings on the PSA World Tour, including the final of the PSA World Championships in December.
Mohamed booked his place in the semi-finals this time as he defeated World No.6 Simon Rösner by a 3-1 margin, claiming an 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 victory to ensure that he has now reached the semi-finals at 10 of his last 11 tournaments.
“Simon has been in great form this year, he’s at his highest World Ranking and he won the Tournament of Champions in January, so I knew how tough it was going to be,” said ElShorbagy.
“I think we played here two years ago and it was tough as well. I just expected it to be tough from the first point and it kept getting tougher and tougher. I’m just glad that I pulled away at the end.
“I didn’t want to go to five games but with a player of his quality it was tough going in the end but I’m glad I pulled through.”
Marwan, meanwhile, overcame 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad after a superb display saw him mix up his shots well in a tactically-astute performance that saw Gawad unable to sustain any kind of rhythm.
“My brother is a completely different player from 12 months ago so I’m expecting a completely different match,” said Marwan afterwards.
“Even when he’s not at his best I’m expecting a tough match, he’s never going to give it to me easy, especially me because I’m his younger brother.
“He wants me to have it the hard way, which is making me stronger. I’m just going to enjoy my day off tomorrow and I’m not even going to think about my match with him until a few minutes before my match.”
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini joined her compatriots in the semi-finals as she sent French World No.6 Camille Serme out with an 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 victory to underline her status as the favourite for the women’s title.
The 22-year-old, who was 8-7 up on the head-to-head, was majestic as she dismantled her opponent, pushing Serme deep into the back of the court, while her precision at the front was too much for the Frenchwoman to handle as she stormed to the win in 35 minutes.
“The match was tough even if it finished 3-0,” said El Sherbini. “I’m used to playing with Camille in the semi-finals of the finals, so it’s really hard to play two tough matches after each other. But I’m really glad that I played well. I’m pleased with the way I’m playing and I’m happy to be in the semis.
“I think today I just relaxed, didn’t put any pressure on myself, enjoyed my game and I was just having fun.”
She will face England’s Laura Massaro for a place in the final after the 34-year-old World No.7 put in a clinical display to reach a fifth semi-final in her last seven tournaments, winning 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 against India’s Joshua Chinappa in just 23 minutes.
“I feel good and I felt like it was a solid performance,” said Massaro. “It’s probably just what I’m known for, consistent and solid, and I guess maybe I haven’t been consistent and solid recently, so it’s nice to be back to playing that sort of squash.”
Quarter-final action continues tomorrow from 18:30 local time (GMT+2) and the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) & Eurosport Player (Europe only).
El Gouna International Open 2018, El Gouna Marina, Egypt.
PSA M165 Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 11-2, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (56m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-6 (37m)
Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): To be played April 25th
 Ali Farag (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Men’s Semi-Finals (Top Half): To be played April 26th
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
PSA W165 Women’s 2018 El Gouna International Quarter-Finals (Top Half):
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 (35m)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (23m)
Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): To be played April 25th
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Women’s Semi-Finals (Top Half): To be played April 26th
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
(Report by SEAN REUTHE. Edited by ALAN THATCHER)
Pictures courtesy of PSA