Friday, December 8, 2023

Mohamed Elshorbagy meets Ramy Ashour in El Gouna final showdown

Mighty Mo topples top seed Gaultier in 112-minute marathon

Mohamed El Shorbagy celebrates victory
Mohamed El Shorbagy celebrates victory

Mohamed El Shorbagy stunned top seed Gregory Gaultier to book his place in the final of the El Gouna International Open. 

The 22-year-old Egyptian weathered a phenomenal storm from the Frenchman to win an incredible match 11-6, 14-16, 11-9, 12-10.

Elshorbagy meets fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour in the final after he had won an equally absorbing second semi-final against Amr Shabana, fought out in the open air by the harbour of this luxury seaside resort.

World No.3 Elshorbagy came through an electrifying and truly epic encounter against world No.1 Gaultier, with the second game alone lasting more than 45-minutes as Elshorbagy finally recorded his first ever victory over Gauliter.

The victory will see Elshorbagy compete in just his fourth PSA World Series event final, gunning to add to his sole tournament triumph at the 2013 Qatar Classic, and he will take on compatriot Ashour in an all-Egyptian final which promises to delight the local crowd.

“I just can’t believe I’m into the final,” said Elshorbagy.

“I have played him nine times and I have never beaten him before so to be able to get my first victory over him in Egypt makes it extra special.

“I would not have been able to get the win today without the support of the crowd who were fantastic.

“It’s two players in there and it’s like they’re trying to knock each other out. I tried to move him around but he never gave up and when I thought I had him in the fourth game he came back fighting again.

“I’m just really happy that I made it through in the end.”

Elshorbgay and Ashour were the first two players ever to become double World Junior Champions with Elshorbagy following in the footsteps of Ashour, who booked his place in the final after beating four-time World Champion Amr Shabana 3-0 in a sublime performance.

The defending El Gouna International champion, Ashour will be bidding to win his 25th World Series title and will be buoyed by having beaten Elshorbagy when the pair contested the final of the PSA World Series Finals in March.

“It’s never easy against Shabana and every time you beat him it’s like a miracle,” said Ashour.

“He’s a squash legend and a four-time World Champion and a truly great player. I’m really happy to get the win and it’s very pleasing.

“Mohamed is very hungry and he’s eager so it’s going to be a very tough match tomorrow in the final.”

2014 EL Gouna International – Semi-final:
[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 14-16, 11-9, 12-10 (112m)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
bt [5] Amr Shabana (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (36m)

2014 EL Gouna International – Final:
[3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [2] Ramy Ashour (EGY)


Picture by Steve Cubbins for the official website

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