Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mohamed wins family bragging rights as all top eight seeds progress


MOHAMED ELSHORBAGY put brotherly love to one side to end Marwan’s hopes of a second-successive tournament success and book a mouthwatering quarter-final meeting with third-seed James Willstrop.

Mohamed, who admitted prior to the match that it would be ‘hard emotionally’ to face his younger sibling, battled to a 11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7 victory in just their second meeting on tour.

Marwan, though, was left to rue a slow start to the match, as Mohamed capitalised on his opponents sluggishness to race into a 2-0 lead early on.

Although the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open champion fought back from 4-0 down in the third game and saved a match-ball en-route to reducing the arrears, Mohamed cranked up the intensity with some brutal hitting in the fourth to progress in 49 minutes.

A sympathetic Mohamed said afterwards: “It was tough for both of us today. Normally, we are on the same side so it hasn’t been easy at all. [But] I think we played a good match for the crowd and I’m just happy it’s over.”

Mohamed will face Willstrop for a spot in the semi-final, after the 30-year-old ended German hopes with a 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 success over Simon Rosner (pictured below in black).

Willstrop had never lost to the world number 16 in five previous meetings and the Englishman duly extended that run with a hard-fought straight game victory at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

In truth, there was little to separate the two during the entire match, with Willstrop narrowly edging the first and second games after both were tied at nine-apiece.

Willstrop will now be looking to avenge his 3-1 defeat to Mohamed at the World Championship last month, when the two compete for a last-four berth tomorrow.

Ramy Ashour continued his return from injury with a comfortable 3-0 win over world number 31 Adrian Waller.

The Englishman stood toe-to-toe with Ashour in the opening game and capitalised on the Egyptian’s early rustiness to lead 7-6. However, the defending champion duly responded with some trademark flick drops and won the next five points to take the opening game.

Thereafter, the world number one settled into a rhythm and was barely troubled by his opponent to stay on course for a second successive title at the Hong Kong Open. 

Tasked with facing the Egyptian next is Spain’s Borja Golan, who beat unseeded Englishman Chris Simpson 12-10, 11-8, 11-4 in just under an hour.

Simpson caused a first-round shock on Tuesday after he knocked out world number 20 Stephen Coppinger in straight games, but he struggled to repeat the feat against Golan as the number seven seed advanced into his ninth PSA Tour quarter-final this year.

Elsewhere, world number three Nick Matthew will face five-time Hong Kong Open champion Amr Shabana tomorrow evening, after both players advanced 3-1 at the expense of Saurav Ghosal and Nicolas Mueller respectively. 

Matthew was forced to come from behind to fend-off a spirited performance from Ghosal, while Shabana overcame a shaky third game to dismiss the challenge of Mueller in 48 minutes.

Shabana’s compatriot Tarek Momen ensured there will be four Egyptians in the quarter-finals, after coming through a titanic tussle against Olli Tuominen of Finland. The encounter, which featured three tie-breaks, saw Momen squander two match balls before eventually triumphing over the unseeded 34-year-old in four mammoth games. 

The number eight seed meets Gregory Gaultier in the second from last match tomorrow after the fiery Frenchman defeated Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0.

Second Round – Men’s Results:

[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-0 Adrian Waller (Eng) 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (31m)
[7] Borja Golan (Esp) 3-0 Chris Simpson (Eng)  12-10, 11-8, 11-4 (52m)
[5] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)3-1 Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)  11-3, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7 (49m)
[3] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 Simon Rosner (Ger) 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 (52m)
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-1 Saurav Ghosal (Ind)  3-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8
[6] Amr Shabana (Egy) 3-1 Nicolas Mueller (Sui) 12-10, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7 (48m)
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Olli Tuominen (Fin) 13-11, 11-13, 11-4, 16-14 (51m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)  11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)

Quarter-Finals – Men’s Draw:

[1] Ramy Ashour (Egy) v  [7] Borja Golan (Esp) – 16:30pm
[5] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) v [3] James Willstrop (Eng) – 15:30pm
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) v [6] Amr Shabana (Egy) – 20:00pm
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) v [2] Gregory Gaultier – 19:00pm

 Pictures by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)

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