Last year’s finalists are out
By SEAN REUTHE
Defending champion Paul Coll and last year’s runner-up Tarek Momen bowed out of the 2017 edition of the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill at the quarter-final stage after falling to World No.5 Ali Farag and World No.15 Diego Elias, respectively, in Weybridge.
World No.10 Coll shocked the squash world last year when he came all the way through from qualifying to take his biggest ever title but he struggled to break down a resilient Farag, who moved the New Zealander into the back corners at will, with Farag winning it 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 in 45 minutes
Last week saw Farag lift his maiden World Series title at the U.S. Open title but he sent out an ominous warning to the other players in Weybridge by saying that he feels that he is playing better now than he did in Philadelphia.
“I think this is the best I’ve played all week, even compared to the U.S. Open,” said the 25-year-old Harvard-graduate.
“I was very pleased with the way I controlled the pace because if it gets out of hand against Paul then I would have no chance. I had it in my head before I got on court that I had to stay in front of him as much as possible.
“He’s so good at getting to the ball so I was trying to hold as much as possible and mix the pace up. I think I did that quite well today, I even surprised myself, to be honest.”
Up next for Farag is an encounter with Elias after the 20-year-old from Lima came out on top of a topsy-turvy clash with World No.8 Momen by an 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3 margin to reach his third PSA M100 semi-final.
“I’m really happy with the win, Tarek is a great player and he’s eight in the world,” said Elias.
“It would mean a lot to me [to get to the final]. I’ve been in three semi-finals at $100k tournaments and I always lose, so I want to do my best tomorrow and try to get to the final.”
World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy eased past Colombia’s former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez to earn his place in the semi-finals.
The number one seed was irrepressible throughout the match as he dominated proceedings and gave Rodriguez nothing to work with around the middle as a focused performance from the Bristol-based Egyptian saw him take it 11-2, 11-3, 11-8 in 32 minutes to move to within one win of a fourth successive PSA World Tour final.
“When you are in the zone, like I was in the first two games, it’s very hard for a player to take you out of it,” said ElShorbagy.
“I knew I was bound to lose focus at some point in the third but I was expecting that I would lose more focus than I actually did. And in the third, I was always comfortable, always a couple of points ahead.
“When you finish a match like that, you have to control your emotions because you know that you are not going to play like that every day. Last time we played was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, it was on a traditional court, it was a completely different style of squash and he nearly pushed me to five games.”
Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal awaits ElShorbagy in the semi-finals after he followed up an opening day win over ElShorbagy’s brother, Marwan, with a phenomenal victory over Mohamed Abouelghar, triumphing 11–8 in the fifth after 68 minutes of high-quality competition.
The semi-finals of the Channel VAS Championships will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
PSA M100 2017 Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, England.
Quarter-Finals (October 20, 2017):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-8 (32m)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 (68m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3 (65m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (45m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Diego Elias (PER) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA