Sunday, October 1, 2023

Lion-hearted Nick Matthew roars past Mohamed Elshorbagy in British Open classic

England’s world champion wins marathon and now meets old foe Gregory Gaultier in Hull final

The Lion roars: Nick Matthew lets it all out as he powers past Mohamed Elshorbagy
The Lion roars: Nick Matthew lets it all out as he powers past Mohamed Elshorbagy

Nick Matthew roared like a British lion as he pushed his body to the limit to reach the final of the British Open in Hull.

Matthew, a three-times champion, fought to the bitter end to beat Egyptian Mohamed Elshorbagy, surely a champion of the future.

The 33-year-old Yorkshireman triumphed after 104 minutes of brutal combat to win 4-11, 14-12, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8. He meets old rival Gregory Gaultier in tomorrow’s showdown after the French world number one produced one of the most impressive performances of his career to subdue Ramy Ashour 3-1.

For a packed home crowd, Hull belonged to Nick Matthew. His home supporters constantly willed him to go the extra mile to combat the ferocious power-play of Shorbagy.

The young Egyptian approached the match with enormous confidence, eager to stamp his mark on the tournament and the rankings. But Matthew held firm under considerable pressure to record a phenomenal victory in his home county.

Matthew will be hoping home support propels him to glory in a repeat of the performance that saw him beat the Frenchman 3-2 in a dramatic finale to the 2013 World Championships in Manchester last November – a victory that saw the Sheffield man claim his third World title.

Matthew said: “The pace throughout the match today was relentless and I felt like I was running on fumes at the end.

“Mohamed is one hell of a player but I’m pleased with how I used my experience today to get the win. The crowd were amazing throughout the match today and they were really supportive of both players.

“They (the crowd) really willed me on when I played Greg in the World Championship final last year and pulled me over the line so hopefully I can give them more to cheer about tomorrow.”

Shorbagy told his followers on Twitter: “Disappointed of course to lose this battle…but the way Nick kept fighting today was inspirational…he is just something special.”

When Matthew saw the above picture he also took to Twitter to apologise to his opponent, saying: “Oooops. Over aroused much?! Sorry Mo.”

Elshorbagy quickly responded, saying: “It’s okay mate…it’s all about fighting each other on court and once it’s done it’s about the respect we have for each other!”

Gaultier impressed as he ruthlessly put defending champion Ramy Ashour to the sword in an emphatic 3-1 win.

Gaultier, a British Open winner in 2007, will be hoping to overturn his recent form against Matthew, having also lost to out to the World No.2 in December’s Hong Kong Open and February’s CASE Swedish Open.

“Nick is an unbelievable player and he’s had an amazing career,” said Gaultier.

“He has achieved so much but he is always still hungry and he has a real fighting spirit which he showed today against Mohamed.

“He always tries to the last point but I’m here to win and this tournament is one of my main targets for the season. Winning the title for a second time would be just as amazing as the first so I’ll give it everything tomorrow.”

2014 Allam British Open – Semi-final Results:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [4] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 14-12, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8 [104m]
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [3] Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 12-10, 3-11, 11-7 [72m]

2014 Allam British Open – Final:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)


Picture by STEVE LINE

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