Fares Dessouky and Marwan ElShorbagy are first round casualties
By SEAN REUTHE
Qualifiers Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Saurav Ghosal upset the seedings on day one of the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill after they claimed respective wins over Egyptian duo Fares Dessouky and Marwan ElShorbagy to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA M100 tournament in Weybridge.
Against World No.8 Dessouky, Rodriguez showed echoes of the form that took him as high as World No.4 two years ago as he hit consistent lines and retrieved well to claim his first win over a top 10 player since May 2016.
The two players went head-to-head in a back-and-forth encounter as they both enjoyed spells of superiority in an engaging 80-minute spectacle. Dessouky fought back from 2-1 down to force a decider but World No.23 Rodriguez kept his head to prevail in the fifth game to seal an 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 victory.
“I have won three matches in a row, last season I kept losing in the first round, so I’m happy with the performance and I think I played well,” said Rodriguez, who was competing in his 400th PSA World Tour match.
“I found he got desperate because I felt he didn’t know what to do and had no solutions. I was in a rush to get the match finished too quickly, especially in the fourth, which he won after winning five rallies in a row. I was a bit mentally stronger than him today. I had to be very patient and I think it worked.”
Rodriguez will take on top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy after he overcame former World No.5 Borja Golan in three games, beating the Spaniard 15-13, 11-8, 11-4 to improve on last year’s first round exit.
“I’m enjoying it more this year, I want to play this year,” said ElShorbagy.
“Last year I went through a lot and I struggled a little bit mentally, but all the greatest athletes have bad phases in their careers. If I have that phase when I’m 25 or 26, when I’m still building my career, then I am lucky. I did a lot of things differently the summer in the way I approach my game and the way I approach life in general.”
ElShorbagy’s younger brother, Marwan, slumped to a first round exit after he lost out to India’s Ghosal by a 3-0 margin.
Ghosal pounced on any loose shots from an out-of-sorts ElShorbagy as he raced around court and punished the Egyptian time and time again to claim an 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 triumph – his 200th win on the PSA World Tour.
“He’s No.6 in the world right now and he’s had a really good 12-18 months and deserves to be where he is,” said World No.26 Ghosal.
“Beating a player of his calibre is definitely a good win and it goes with when I beat [Simon] Rösner in Macau, which was also a good win for me.
“All the wins against the top guys are important, they’re small steps towards realising what I want to achieve in my career, so I’m happy that I managed to win today against a quality opponent.”
Egyptian World No.18 Mohamed Abouelghar was the other victor on day one as he overcame Germany’s Raphael Kandra 3-1 and he will line up against Ghosal for a place in the semi-finals.
First round action from the Channel VAS Championships continues tomorrow (October 19th) and all of the fixtures will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
2017 Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill, Weybridge, England.
First Round (Top Half):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 15-13, 11-8, 11-4 (56m)
[Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt  Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 (80m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-3, 11-5, 4-11, 11-2 (41m)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-2 (36m)
First Round (Bottom Half, October 19th):
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Diego Elias (PER) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v Ryan Cuskelly (ENG)
[WC] Charlie Lee (ENG) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA