By LEE HORTON
GREGORY GAULTIER overcame a night on the loo and three hour’s sleep to defeat Egyptian star Mohamed El Shorbagy and book a World Championship final date with Nick Matthew.
The French world No.2 came through a nail-biting four-game semi with Shorbagy then reveled that stomach troubles had severely curtailed his match preparations.
“I was in the toilet for five hours and slept only three,” he told the packed audience after his 78 minute match that finished in his favour 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10 .
After sluggish start which saw him make several errors and drop his first game in ten matches, Gaultier took the initiative against young Egyptian to take the next three games and reach his fourth World Championship final.
The second seed took the second quickly, the third less so, and had to fight back from 2-6 down in the fourth, finally taking the match 12-10 after 78 minutes. “Great!”, was his immediate comment.
He later added:” It was very hard on there. Mohamed has got some unbelievable talent, he is only 22, and I have so much respect for what he is achieving. I’m 30, and it’s hard! But he’s going to have so many more chances
“I’m not really thinking about Nick tomorrow. Except well, he only had a game on there, unfortunately. He is a tough guy, we’ve played each other so many times. The one who’ll be the best on the day will win. I just need a good recovery and a good sleep!
“I am enjoying being injury free, to fly on the court, it’s a pleasure, a real pleasure to be on there, and when it’s a pleasure, you are playing well, and you try and adapt to whatever is thrown at you.”
And Shorbagy said: “I gave it all today, but he played so well. My main regret is not to have protected my lead at 4/0 in the third, and 10/7 in the 4th. But then again, I don’t think I did much wrong. He just kept digging in, and getting everything back, and every time I thought he would be tired, he just kept digging so hard, and that really impressed me.
“Now, I really like Nick and he is a great guy. I get on well with him, but I really want Greg to win, because it will be his fourth final, and I feel he deserves a win. Hold on. Then again, Nick said that if he wins this, he’ll retire! So come on Greg, be a pal, lose this match, and that way, Nick will go!!!!! Only joking people, only joking….”