Egyptian ace sinks Gregory Gaultier in US Open semi-finals to top PSA rankings for the first time
By NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad PSA Correspondent
Mohamed Elshorbagy has climbed to the top of the PSA World Tour rankings, overtaking 31-year-old Frenchman Gregory Gaultier to become the fourth youngest player ever to become squash World No.1.
The 23-year-old Egyptian enters the record books behind only Pakistani legends Jahangir and Jansher Khan, who both topped the charts aged 18, and compatriot Ramy Ashour who became number one aged 22, courtesy of his victory over Gaultier in the semi-finals of the 2014 Delaware Investments US Open and Nick Matthew’s defeat to four-time World Champion Amr Shabana in the other last four encounter.
He now goes into Saturday’s (October 18) final knowing that he will sit atop the charts for the first time in his career when the latest rankings come out on November 1 in what he described as a dream moment come true.
“It feels unbelievable right now,” said Elshorbagy.
“It’s been a dream to get to that spot and I can’t believe I’m there right now. I came into this tournament knowing there was a big chance to get that World No.1 ranking for the first time in my life but I was able to control that emotion well.
“However when I woke up this morning I was so nervous. I spoke to Jonah (Barrington) and my mother and managed to control it and I think actually those nerves helped a little bit today and I’m really glad I was able to win.
“Once I knew that I could become No.1 at this tournament I called my mum and told her I needed her out here for the competition and I’m so pleased it has happened.”
Elshorbagy will now take on Shabana, 12-years his senior, in his fourth consecutive PSA World Tour finale where he’ll be aiming to keep his 17 match winning-streak alive.
TOURNAMENT REPORT FROM DREXEL
New World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy will take on four-time World Champion Amr Shabana in the final of the 2014 Delaware Investments US Open at Philadelphia’s Drexel University tomorrow (Saturday October 18) in a mouth-watering all-Egyptian encounter.
Elshorbagy climbed to the top of the world rankings courtesy of an emphatic 3-0 win over Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, who has occupied the top slot since April, in the semi-finals whilst Nick Matthew, who also had aspirations of regaining the No.1 ranking during the US Open, saw his hopes dashed at the hands of a resurgent Shabana in the second semi-final.
The Egyptian pairing, separated by 12-years, have never met in the final of the PSA World Series event and Elshorbagy, who is aiming to win his fourth consecutive PSA World Tour event and extend his 17-match winning streak, says he is relishing the prospect of taking on the ‘Maestro’.
“It’s been a dream to get to that spot and I can’t believe I’m there right now,” he said. “But right now I have to control my emotions as I am playing against Amr Shabana in a World Series Final which is such an honour for me.
“He is a true legend of the sport but I’m going to be trying to keep my momentum going.
“I’ve got my first goal from this tournament, the No.1 ranking, but my second goal is to win the title and I’ll certainly be giving it one more push tomorrow to achieve that.”
Shabana, who occupied the World No.1 slot for 33-consecutive months from 2006-2008, was quick to offer his congratulations to Elshorbagy but has his sights set on the title.
“Congratulations to Mohamed, it takes a lot of work to become World No.1 but I’m coming into tomorrow focused on beating the World No.1,” he said.
“We’re all here to compete and win and I’m taking it day by day and enjoying my squash at the moment.”
2014 Delaware Investments US Open: Semi-final Results.
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 [48m]  Amr Shabana (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7 [63m]
2014 Delaware Investments US Open Final.
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA and US Open Squash