By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Egyptian duo Fares Dessouky and Marwan ElShorbagy will meet in the final of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Open with ElShorbagy claiming: “He is playing like the best player in the world right now, and so am I.”
They reached the final after Dessouky stopped world champion Tarek Momen in straight games and ElShorbagy fought his way past world No.9 Joel Makin at Cairo’s Black Ball Sporting Club.
World No.8 Dessouky will appear in his first PSA World Tour Platinum final after a masterclass from the 26-year-old saw him dismantle World No.3 Momen, winning 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 to reach back-to-back finals at the Black Ball Open.
Dessouky is the defending Black Ball Open champion after December’s win over World No.1 Ali Farag in the title decider back when this tournament was a Gold event.
He beat Farag again in the quarter-finals this week and will now have the chance to get his hands on the biggest title of his career when he takes on ElShorbagy in the final after a fine run of form which has now seen him beat the world champion and the World No.1.
“Today, I was a bit exhausted,” Dessouky said. “It was a mental game and even if I lost, I was going to give it 100 per cent and I would learn from that lesson. It was not very easy. Every game I was down by two and I had to come back to win the games. He is a very tough opponent.
“Tarek is very fast and very accurate, very talented, and I am really glad to be through that’s for sure.”
ElShorbagy and Makin came into their semi-final fixture after a pair of marathon quarter-final matchups, with the former beating World No.4 Paul Coll in 96 minutes, while Makin defeated ElShorbagy’s older brother, World No.2 Mohamed, in 91 minutes.
And while Makin perhaps had the edge physically, ElShorbagy’s tactical nous and cleverness on the court set him up for a sublime performance which saw him nullify Makin impressively en route to a 17-15, 11-9, 11-8 victory.
ElShorbagy will now line up in his fourth Platinum final and will look to win his first Platinum title since the 2018 El Gouna International.
“I am very happy with how I backed up yesterday’s match, when I woke up this morning, I just said to myself that today is more important than yesterday because it was all about backing up and it was all in the mind,” ElShorbagy said.
“Fares is playing like he is the best player in the world right now, and so am I. He has been fearless and relentless in the way he is playing.
“I admire him as a player, but I am going to try and win tomorrow. That is my aim and we both deserve to be in the final.”
Men’s 2021 CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open, Black Ball Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt.
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (47m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Joel Makin (WAL) 3-0: 17-15, 11-9, 11-8 (69m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA