“We are going to push each other for the rest of our careers” says ElShorbagy
By NATHAN CLARKE in Doha
Germany’s Simon Rösner will compete in the semi-finals of a major PSA World Series tournament for the first time in his 14-year-career after defeating World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy courtesy of a highly impressive display in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Qatar Classic – the second PSA World Series tournament of the 2017/18 season.
Inside the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, the World No.12, competing in his 21st World Series quarter-final, followed up his superb last-16 win over world champion Karim Abdel Gawad with a highly polished display that saw him dominate ElShorbagy in the third and fourth games and take an 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 victory to seal a maiden last four appearance.
“This is the biggest win of my career – it has to be the biggest achievement of my life,” said a delighted Rösner afterwards.
“Even though I beat Karim last night, getting to the semis is the most special thing for me because I haven’t been able to reach this stage at this kind of tournament.
“To reach this stage after so many years is a great feeling, and I’m turning 30 on Sunday, so it’s just before my birthday. I think this is already a good birthday gift but the tournament is not over yet, if I play like I have done the past two days then I can get even further.
“I’m feeling comfortable here, I’m playing well and feeling good, I’m confident that I can beat these guys and I think that made a difference today.”
Rösner will go up against World No.7 Tarek Momen for a place in the finale after the Egyptian ‘Viper’ knocked out 37-year-old Nick Matthew of England in four games to secure his first World Series semi-final berth in three years – taking advantage of an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance from Matthew.
“I’m very happy that I managed to get the win,” said Momen. “I’m expecting a huge battle [against Rösner], I can’t believe we’re both playing in the semi-finals tomorrow. Simon has been trying to get to this stage for a long time and I’m happy for him because he has been working so hard and he has been very unfortunate a few times.
“For me, it’s back to the semi-finals after a three-year drought. The last one I was in was in Hong Kong and I beat Simon to get there, so I’m hoping for a good win tomorrow and maybe I’ll get through to my first ever World Series final.”
Meanwhile the top half of the draw saw the latest instalment of the rapidly developing rivalry between Egyptian stars Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag go the way of World No.3 ElShorbagy – as he withstood a late fight back from Farag in what was yet another superb clash between the two.
The two Egyptians were meeting for the third tournament in succession and had shared the spoils in their last two meetings, with Farag overcoming ElShorbagy in last month’s U.S. Open final, while ElShorbagy avenged that defeat with victory in the Channel VAS Championships a week later.
But this time around it was ElShorbagy, a two-time winner and last year’s tournament runner-up, who prevailed 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 16-18, 11-8 in a mammoth 93 minute encounter.
“He’s making me push that extra mile every time we play,” said ElShorbagy. “We’re going to push each other for the rest of our careers because we always play such great matches together.
“I’m really happy I got through, it was 50-50 and I’m happy I got the win in the end. I’m not going to be able to beat him every time, that’s just how it is and that’s the beauty of the sport.
“This has been a really tough draw for both of us. Neither of us deserve to go out in the quarters, we both deserve to go through to the semis but I’m happy to be back here in the semi-finals.”
ElShorbagy will face World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the last four after the Frenchman defeated young Peruvian Diego Elias in straight games. Gaultier imposed his game from the start, winning the first 111-2 and dominating throughout.
PSA M165 Men’s Qatar Classic 2017, Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex, Doha, Qatar.
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (44m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 16-18, 11-8 (93m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 (43m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (53m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Pictures courtesy of PSA