Friday, July 19, 2024

Gregory Gaultier aims for a first Hong Kong title

French ace meets Egypt’s Mohamed Elshorbagy in final showdown
By Squash Mad Reporter

Gregory Gaultier is devastating at the front of the court
Gregory Gaultier is devastating at the front of the court

Gregory Gaultier, the French World No.1, took a major step towards claiming his first ever Hong Kong tournament title following a 3-0 win over Tarek Momen in the semi-finals of the 2014 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open earlier today.

The 31-year-old has won almost every title in squash during his career but the Hong Kong Open has remained elusive, despite the charismatic star reaching the final on four consecutive occasions from 2007-2010, and he’ll be hoping to make it fifth-time lucky when he steps onto the glass show court for tomorrow’s (Sunday August 31) decider.

gregHKGaultier (right) has been in dominant form throughout the tournament so far, progressing to the final without dropping a single game en route, and he continued his impressive run with a commanding 11-7, 11-2, 11-3 win over Egyptian World No.12 Momen, to set up a final encounter with World No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy.

“I don’t think the score really reflected the match because it was very intense and the first game especially was really fast as Tarek was moving quickly which I wasn’t expecting as he had a tough match yesterday,” said Gaultier.

“He doesn’t give you cheap shots and he has beautiful soft hands and he always makes you play in all four corners of the court. I like playing him and I know when I beat him it normally means I am playing quite well.”

The 31-year-old star will now look to win his second consecutive PSA World Series title after winning the prestigious Allam British Open in May prior to the summer-break, and despite a shorter rest period than usual, in which he also got married, he says he’s feeling confident.

“I was happy with how I played the match. I had the same intensity in all three games and I’m very happy with my form especially as I had a shorter summer break than most years.

“You can’t guarantee you can win any matches at this level as we are playing against very tough opponents every day so all I want to do is play my best tomorrow and if I can do that, even if I lose, there will be no regrets.”

mogoElshorbagy (right) too will be hoping to see his name appear on the trophy for the first time in his career, after he secured his first ever appearance in the Hong Kong Open final with a 3-1 victory over 2013 runner-up Borja Golan.

The 23-year-old from Alexandria, Egypt, is looking to follow up victory in last week’s Malaysian Open and will be aiming to repeat the performance that saw him beat Gaultier in the El Gouna International World Series event in April.

“I’m into my first final here and I’m very happy as this is a prestigious tournament and as a player these are the matches you want to be playing in,” said Elshorbagy.

“Greg is the No.1 and in great form at the moment. He’s the man to beat right now so it’s definitely going to be an interesting game for sure but hopefully I can push myself for one more big performance.”

Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2014 – Semi-final Results:

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-2, 11-3 (37mins)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [4] Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7 (50mins)

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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