Defeats for Brits Sarah-Jane Perry and Joel Makin
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent
World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy last night qualified for the semi-finals of the 2020-21 CIB PSA World Tour Finals – but the Egyptian saw his attempts to regain the World No.1 spot in next month’s PSA World Rankings come to an end after a 2-1 defeat to younger brother Marwan at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia.
ElShorbagy required just a solitary game to qualify from Group A for the knockout semi-finals but needed to win every single match throughout this event to reclaim top spot from current incumbent Ali Farag, who dispossessed ElShorbagy in November, 2020.
The 30-year-old got the game he needed to earn his spot in the last four, but Marwan came back to take the next two games without reply, meaning he currently sits in second in the group with six points, one point behind Mohamed.
“Today’s match was a little bit different of course,” Marwan said. “I knew my brother only needed one game to qualify, so I knew as soon as he won the first game, things were different for him. He was a bit more relaxed knowing he was qualified. I had a tough night last night (losing to Mostafa Asal) and it was very disappointing.
“I just had to try and stay as professional as possible in the match to keep my focus as much as possible, and it was just another match with my brother. Now I am hoping for a result tomorrow. It is a tough group, I beat the World No.1 and World No.2 and I still don’t know whether I have qualified or not. I have enjoyed being part of that group and being a part of the World Tour Finals.”
Marwan will now face an anxious wait to see the result of today’s Farag and Mostafa Asal match. If Asal wins, he will top the group and qualify along with Mohamed. A win for Farag will see Marwan join his brother in the semi-finals.
In Group B, World Champion Tarek Momen got the win he needed to stay in the event as he overcame Frenchman Gregoire Marche in a nailbiting 13-11, 11-13, 11-7 victory.
Having lost to Paul Coll in his opening match, Momen needed to win to keep his hopes alive. The World No.3 came back from a 6-3 deficit in the third to win it 11-7, and he now sits second in Group B.
“He turned on an extra gear, made no errors, everything was going where it was supposed to go, and I felt that I was getting outplayed until 6-3,” Momen said.
“Then I used my experience and I used matches where I was down. I pushed hard to come back, I believed in myself that I could do it and I just had to put in the effort.”
Momen’s win came after Coll had consolidated his position at the top of Group B thanks to a 2-1 win over Welshman Joel Makin. However, all four players are in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals ahead of what looks set to be an exciting final day of group action.
In the women’s event, defending champion Hania El Hammamy and New Zealand’s Joelle King have qualified from Group B following respective wins over USA’s Amanda Sobhy and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.
El Hammamy won 11-9, 11-7 in 30 minutes, while King defeated Perry 12-10, 11-7 in 32 minutes. The victors will face off for top spot tomorrow.
“I didn’t have a very good start in the first game, but I tried to push myself mentally to find a way back into the game,” said El Hammamy.
“It is the best-of-three, so I had to do it in any possible way. I am known for being 2-0 down and then coming back, but in this tournament, there is no way to do that so I had to find a way.”
King said: “SJ and I live an hour and a half away from each other (in England), so we play a lot of practice matches together. Obviously it is always different when you step on court in a tournament situation, but it is nice to be familiar with the players you are playing against, although everyone is improving, so you have to keep learning and seeing what improvements they are doing.
“I’m playing Hania tomorrow, and we are both in the same situation. We have both won two matches, so it just brings a new challenge. I go out on court every time to win, so I will give it my all tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, France’s Camille Serme kept her qualification hopes alive in Group A after she secured a quick-fire 2-0 win over No.8 seed Salma Hany, who had already seen her hopes extinguished after defeats in her opening two matches.
Serme will find out today whether or not she will be in the last four. The World No.4 needs the already qualified Nouran Gohar to defeat World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in order for the Frenchwoman to advance.
The group stages reach an exciting climax today (June 25). Play begins at 19:00 (GMT+2). The action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (worldwide) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour.
2020-21 CIB PSA World Tour Finals, Mall of Arabia, Cairo, Egypt.
Day Three, Men’s Group A:
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-4 (24m)
Men’s Group B:
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Gregoire Marche (FRA) 2-1: 13-11, 11-13, 11-7 (65m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt  Joel Makin (WAL) 2-1: 6-11, 11-4, 12-10 (64m)
Men’s Group A Day Four:
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Men’s Group B Day Four:
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Day Three, Women’s Group A:
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 2-0: 11-4, 11-2 (17m)
Women’s Group B:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Amanda Sobhy (USA) 2-0: 11-9, 11-7 (30m)
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-7 (32m)
Women’s Group A Day Four:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Women’s Group B Day Four:
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
Pictures and graphics courtesy of PSA