Hong Kong features two all-Egyptian finals for the first time
By SEAN REUTHE
The Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open will feature two all-Egyptian finals for the first time in its 32-year history after Mohamed ElShorbagy, Ali Farag, Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily all claimed wins on semi-finals day at the PSA World Series tournament held at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.
The tournament becomes the third World Series event of the season to host all-Egyptian finals, with the U.S. Open and Qatar Classic also seeing Egyptians dominate and ElShorbagy and Farag will go head-to-head in a repeat of the men’s U.S. Open final.
ElShorbagy overcame younger brother Marwan by a 13-11, 11-5, 12-10 scoreline to reach a sixth successive PSA World Tour final.
“It’s always very tough physically and mentally playing your brother,” said ElShorbagy. “He’s had some wins over me, I’ve had some wins over him, so it was always going to be tough, especially with the way he has been playing this week. He did unbelievably well to take out [World No.1] Greg [Gaultier], so I had to be at my best.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work this summer to be back playing finals again, it’s what I live for. It’s my sixth PSA final in a row and I’m really happy to have my form back again and to be competing in finals.”
Farag, who beat ElShorbagy to lift a maiden World Series title at the U.S. Open, overcame World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 to set up a mouthwatering meeting with the two-time Hong Kong Open champion.
“It was far from easy today, he’s won most of our matches,” said Farag. “To get the win against him today is such a pleasure. He’s very talented, so tough to read, but I always enjoy playing him because it’s always a fair match. I hope we keep playing a lot of matches with each other in the future.
“In the last three tournaments, me and Mohamed have either won the tournament or lost to each other. I really enjoy our battles, the last two times he beat me, the time before that I won, so hopefully it’s going to be a great match for the crowd and for us as well.”
The first ever all-Egyptian women’s Hong Kong Open final will be a repeat of April’s PSA Women’s World Championship as El Sherbini and El Welily battle for their first World Series titles of the season.
El Sherbini defeated 2015 runner-up Laura Massaro after coming from 2-1 behind to claim her place in the title decider.
“Playing Laura is very hard, and in the middle of the match, I thought that I just needed to give it everything,” said El Sherbini.
“I’m feeling good, it’s only my second time here in Hong Kong. I’m happy with the way I’m playing and hopefully I can keep on going tomorrow.”Massaro later revealed she had been fighting illness all week and was proud of her performances under such trying conditions. She Tweeted: “Gutted to lose out but congrats to Nour… Proud of my event…been battling illness this week. Sometimes staying strong in matches when it’s so easy to go weak makes me the most proud!”
Two-time runner-up El Welily, meanwhile, dispatched World No.3 Camille Serme in five games to reach her second World Series final of the season after she lost out to compatriot Nour El Tayeb in the final of the U.S. Open in October.
“I started slowly today, I felt flat and mentally wasn’t prepared,” said El Welily. “I didn’t think I had anything left in the tank, but in the second, my coach gave me the push I needed, my husband [men’s World No.7 Tarek Momen] too.
“I’m very happy to be through, to be in the final is amazing. It was a great match today against Camille, she played really well. At times, it felt like I was doing court sprints.”
The final of the Hong Kong Open will take place from 16:00 local time (HKT) tomorrow (November 19th).
Both finals will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while they will also be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open 2017, Hong Kong Park Sports Centre, Hong Kong China.
PSA M165 Men’s Semi-Finals:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 11-5, 12-10 (47m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 (55m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
PSA W165 Women’s Semi-Finals:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-2: 11-7, 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3 (56m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (56m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA