End of the road for brave giant-killers Cuskelly and Hesham
By NATHAN CLARKE in Doha
The final of the 2015 Qatar Classic, Men’s PSA World Series tournament, will see World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy renew his rivalry with World No.3 Gregory Gaultier in a highly anticipated showdown at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha tomorrow (Nov 6).
The duo, seeded to meet in the semi-finals of the forthcoming PSA World Championship which begins on November 15, have met 15 times previously on the PSA World Tour with Gaultier prevailing on 10 occasions, including their most recent encounter during the semi-finals of the first World Series event of the season, the Delaware Investments U.S. Open, just two weeks ago.
With vital PSA Road To Dubai Standings points on offer, as well as the prospect of gaining a mental edge ahead of an anticipated World Championship showdown, the pair will give no quarter as they bid to win one of the most prestigious titles on the PSA World Tour.
“It’s great for me to get to final without dropping a game,” said Elshorbagy, who dismissed Australian challenger Ryan Cuskelly in a comfortable straight-games semi-final win.
“I will be fresh for tomorrow. It’s the fourth year in a row that I’ve made it to the final here on my favourite court and it’s great confidence before the World Championship. I can’t wait to play the final tomorrow in front of the crowd here.”
After being forced to dig deep to secure his place in the last four after going two-games down to Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarters, Gaultier was once again required to call upon his reserves against 21-year-old maverick Mazen Hesham to book his place in the final.
Hesham shot out of the blocks to take the first game 11-4 as he strung together a series of un-returnable winners but the 32-year-old from Aix-en-Provence put his wealth of experience to use to enforce his authority on the match and win out 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 after 59-minutes.
“He’s been flying all week and I really had to give my best today to get through,” said Gaultier.
“In the first game he was on fire and controlling things so I had to pinch myself and tell myself to push again like yesterday and get out of his rhythm. I had to make him work and extend the rallies and then I felt like I played the big points really well.
“My shots came in at the right time but I maybe relaxed a little too much in the fourth and he came back and that’s something I cannot afford to do tomorrow against Mohamed because if I give him a chance then he will take it.
“Mohamed is a very tough opponent but there’s a lot of respect between us as well. I’m really happy to be back in the final of a major tournament and hopefully we can put on a good show tomorrow.”
2015 Qatar Classic – PSA World Series:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (39m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 (59m)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA