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Marwan Elshorbagy conquers Karim Gawad as family reunion beckons

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Marwan Elshorbagy celebrates victory
Marwan Elshorbagy celebrates victory in Cathedral Hall     Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)

Brothers move closer to another Chicago showdown
By NATHAN CLARKE in Chicago

 

Elshorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan, the World No.1 and No.10, edged towards a second consecutive Windy City Open semi-final showdown after coming through their respective second round encounters during the third day of action at the PSA World Series tournament taking place inside the University Club of Chicago. 

unnamedThe pair, who live together in their adopted hometown of Bristol, England, met in the last four here 12 months ago when Mohamed triumphed and they are on course for a repeat encounter after Marwan pulled off the biggest upset of the day to see off in-form Egyptian compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad courtesy of a tense five-game victory.

Marwan stormed out to a commanding two-game lead to capitalise on a sluggish start from his opponent but five-game specialist Gawad mounted a typical comeback to force a fifth game in which the World No.10 played with poise and control to prevail.

“Karim and I know each other’s game very well so we knew what to expect from each other today,” said Marwan.

Marwan Elshorbagy in action against Karim Abdel Gawad
Marwan Elshorbagy in action against Karim Abdel Gawad

“I think I managed to play better in the first two games and he was the better player in the second two. I know how good he is at winning five-game matches so I just told myself to keep hitting and running and giving it my all and I’m very happy to win especially because this is a big tournament for me.

“I reached the semis here last year and I’m in the quarters again this year so I’m looking forward to coming back on court in a couple of days.” Marwan faces a repeat of his recent quarter-final success in Colombia, where he took out local hero Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Top seed Mohamed, runner-up in 2015, continued his march towards a maiden Chicago crown with a hard-earned victory over Mohamed Abouelghar while World No.6 Rodriguez secured his first quarter-final place at the Windy City Open courtesy of some missed opportunities by opponent Tom Richards.

Mohamed Elshorbagy and Mohamed Abouelghar (left) in close combat
Mohamed Elshorbagy and Mohamed Abouelghar (left) in close combat

Richards played with confidence, composure and craft for the majority of their matchup in a performance that belied the 20-place gap between the pair on the rankings but a series of all-or-nothing errors at the crucial stages ensured it was Rodriguez who took the win.

“Tom is playing well at the moment and he had some good results in the past few weeks so it was a tough match today,” said Rodriguez.

“I think that nowadays all matches against top 20 and top 30 players are very competitive but I’m delighted to come through and make my first quarters here in Chicago.

“He was playing very solid throughout but I took my chances in the third where I had a great comeback and I’m happy I managed to see it out.”

After suffering a shock second round defeat during the 2015 Windy City Open which led to her taking an extended break from the sport, World No.1 Laura Masaaro made sure lightning would not strike twice as she compressively defeated compatriot Victoria Lust in the women’s draw.

Laura Massaro lines up a backhand against Vicky Lust
Laura Massaro lines up a backhand against Vicky Lust

Defeat 12 months ago proved to be the catalyst for a career-defining change in the 32-year-old’s approach to the game and in the midst of some of her finest ever form she played with total control to come through 3-0 after just 31 minutes on court, despite a drop in level in the third game.

“I felt pretty good on court tonight and I’m pleased with how I started in particular,” said Massaro.

“I dropped off a little mentally in the third game and that was enough to let her into the mix so I was quite happy to get off there in three games at the end as it was getting quite tight.

“Despite that blip I felt like I had a lot of clarity in mind and played with a lot of focus on what I needed to do. I’m not worrying about what people throw at me on court but instead I’m concentrating on playing my game and hopefully I can keep that going.”

Massaro is joined by Nicol David in the quarter-finals after the Malaysian World No.2 comfortably beat England’s Sarah-Jane Perry, also in 31 minutes, with World No.3 Raneem El Weily to play tomorrow.  

Guggenheim Partners & EquiTrust Windy City Open 2016 (PSA M150 and W150), University Club of Chicago, Chicago, USA.

Results- Second Round (Top Half) Men’s
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 18-16 (44m)
[5] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10 (61m)
Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 11-6 (73m)
[4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10 (74m)

Draw – Second Round (Bottom Half) 
[3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Diego Elias (PER)
Borja Golan (ESP) v [2] Nick Matthew (ENG)

Results- Second Round (Top Half) Women’s:
[1] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [16] Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-9 (31m)
[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [15] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-4 (41m)
[5] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [14] Delia Arnold (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (30m)
[3] Nicol David (MAS) bt [11] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (31m)

Draw – Second Round (Bottom Half)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) v Joey Chan (HKG)
[10] Joelle King (NZL) v [7] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [13] Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
[9] Annie Au (HKG) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY)  

Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)

 

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