Clever Marwan wears down Rösner
By NATHAN CLARKE
The 2016 Grasshopper Cup final will see 2015 champion Gregory Gaultier aim to defend his title against Egyptian World No.12 Marwan Elshorbagy after the duo came through their respective semi-final encounters against Ali Farag and Simon Rösner inside Zurich’s Puls5.
A capacity crowd watched on as current World Champion Gaultier produced a masterclass performance to see off the very dangerous Farag 3-1 as he shot off the blocks, playing with pace and intent from the first exchanges in what was a high quality opening game that went the way of the Frenchman 11-5.
After quickly doubling his lead Gaultier was guilty of a lapse of concentration in the third which allowed Farag, who cut a frustrated figure on court as he searched for a way through the World No.2, the chance to attack and get himself back into the game but after squandering game ball in the fourth Farag could only watch on as Gaultier surged back to keep his title defence alive.
“I think I played quite well today and I was moving well, which really helped me,” said Gaultier.
“I think the match yesterday helped give me some rhythm which helped me today. He’s already a top class player – he’s ten years younger than me.
“I lost my focus a little in the third and I maybe got too greedy and tried to go short to early. I had to get my basics back in the fourth and it was a matter of just a few crucial points in the end. I’m happy with the performance and the way I am moving – I felt today was the first time I was moving well without any pain after the injury.”
Gaultier will now face ElShorbagy in what will be the fourth meeting between the pair, after the Egyptian saw off Rösner, the 2015 runner-up, 3-0 to move into the final without the loss of a single game after over 140 minutes of action.
ElShorbagy (right) put in a controlling performance to make life difficult for the powerful German, who was struggling to back up from his gargantuan efforts to down Gregoire Marche in an 86-minute quarter-final as ElShorbagy played with patience to extend the rallies in the opening game and force Rösner into an arduous physical battle which paid dividends.
“I tried to make the first game as long as possible and that worked in my favour today,” said ElShorbagy.
“It was a long game and I think it took a lot out of him and I got more confident throughout. I’m pleased with how I have played here, I haven’t dropped a game do far but there’s still one match to go so I’m going to give it my all tomorrow.
“Greg is the World Champions – he’s a great player. Every time I go on court against him I make the most of it – I enjoyed it today and I want to keep enjoying being on court and loving every single second on court and that’s the plan for tomorrow as well.”
PSA M70 Grasshopper Cup 2016, Puls 5, Zurich, Switzerland.
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10 (61m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 15-13, 11-7, 11-5 (58m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA