Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Shorbagy reaches for the Sky in Cairo

Mohamed Elshorbagy bagged his second PSA title in eight days – and established a career-best 10-match winning streak – when he upset top-seed Karim Darwish in the final of the Banque Misr Sky Open, in New Cairo, Egypt.
Ranked six in the world, Elshorbagy is enjoying the form of his life: Last week in Doha, the 22-year-old from Alexandria captured his first PSA World Series title at the Qatar Classic – again defying the world rankings by beating world No 5 Darwish en-route to the final.

Elshorbagy (pictured above in Sky action with Darwish) went into the final 3-9 down to Darwish on a career head-to-head tally over the past four years – but had only dropped a single game in his three wins over the former world No 1 from Cairo.
And the young pretender clearly took full advantage of Darwish’s demanding route to the final, which had included two five-game marathons in which the 32-year-old had had to recover from two games down.


Darwish had no answer to the youngster’s pressure as Elshorbagy romped to an 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 victory in 43 minutes to win the seventh Tour title of his career.
“I had to be very focused from the very first point today as I knew if this gets very tough I could be in trouble mentally as I could feel last night I was tired mentally,” Elshorbagy told www.squashsite.com later.

“After winning the first game I knew he would give it a big push in the second as we both know there was no way today he could come back from 2/0 down as physically it would have been close to impossible after the amount of hard matches he had.

“So after the few long rallies we had in the second I knew that was good for me and I started going short more at the end of the second and I could feel he was struggling to move there because I could feel he was tired.
“I am just very happy I could back up after Qatar and the worlds.”
2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [1] Karim Darwish (EGY) 11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (43m)
SEMI FINAL REPORTS Hot favourite Karim Darwish and second seed Mohamed Elshorbagy survived close-fought five-game semi-finals to secure a shoot-out for today’s Sky Open title in New Cairo, Egypt.
For the second time in three days, world No 5 Darwish had to fight back from two games down to survive an onslaught from an up-and-coming fellow countryman.
This time the 32-year-old from Cairo’s opponent was fifth seed Marwan Elshorbagy, the 20-year-old former two-time world junior champion from Alexandria – and younger brother of Mohamed.

The former world No 1 (pictured above, left, with Elshorbagy) was stretched for 64 minutes before finally prevailing 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6.
“I’m not sure what’s going on with me, but I’d better figure it out soon, because it’s not going to do well at all,” conceded Darwish to www.squashsite.com later. “Maybe the court is very cold, and I’m not ready to face those young warriors!
“I’ve been playing and training with them since they were seven or eight years old, and I probably don’t see them as the threat they are now – I can’t imagine that they can play that well,” added Darwish, now in the 42nd Tour final of his career, and his third of the year.
“So from now on, I’ll have to prepare myself as if I’m playing a top four player!”
Elshorbagy junior acknowledged his opponent’s greater experience: “Karim used his experience today and played better the crucial points,” said the world No 32. “And all credit to him for coming back, again, from 2/0 down against a young player!
“I am happy with my performance. When you think that I nearly lost in the first round, and today, I nearly beat the world number five! So, although I’m not satisfied, I think this tournament will make me hungry for more.”
Elshorbagy senior had to dig deep to see off sixth seed Omar Abdel Meguid 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7. Meguid, the world No 35 from Giza, made the semis after upsetting No 4 seed Alister Walker.

Underdog Meguid (pictured above, left, with Elshorbagy senior) led 2/1 before his 22-year-old opponent, ranked six in the world, reclaimed the upper hand to close out the match 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7 in 60 minutes.
“He played extremely well today – he surprised me so much with how he played and his patience and the few errors he did,” acknowledged Mohamed later.
“This match was so important for me and it was difficult for me mentally as this match would get me to number four in the ranking and this is huge for me and certainly Omar made it so difficult for me with the way he played.”
Elshorbagy, winner of his first PSA World Series title last week at the Qatar Classic, is now marking his fourth Tour final of the year – and the 15th of his career.

Semi-finals: [1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [5] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (64m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-1, 11-7 (60m)
Omar Abdel Meguid claimed the biggest scalp of his squash career when he beat world No 15 Alister Walker in the Banque Misr Sky Open to ensure an unexpected all-Egyptian semi-final line-up in Cairo.
The sixth-seeded 25-year-old from Giza battled for 45 minutes to overcome Botswana’s Walker, the No 4 seed, 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5.
“It’s up there with my victories over Tom Richards and Steve Coppinger,” Meguid said later – referring to his upsets as a qualifier in last month’s Macau Open.
“In the third I was so tired, I could feel my legs giving in – but I went back in the fourth telling myself to give it 200%, and to make it as hard for him as I could,” explained the world No 35.
“Today, I concentrated on playing squash. And it worked. I knew I had it in me to do a good performance. I had a game plan, and I stuck to it!”
Meguid will now face fellow countryman Mohamed Elshorbagy, the in-form 22-year-old from Alexandria who lifted his first PSA World Series title earlier this month at the Qatar Classic.

Second seed Elshorbagy needed four games to see off compatriot Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry(both pictured in Sky Open action above) 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 in 50 minutes.
It was a good day for the Elshorbagy family as Mohamed was joined in the semis by his younger brother Marwan Elshorbagy. The 20-year-old fifth seed secured his unexpected place in the last four at the expense of giant-killer Fares Mohamed Dessouki, the 19-year-old qualifier from his home town who ousted third seed Omar Mosaad in the previous round.
Marwan ended the teenager’s run in 45 minutes, winning 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 to set up a clash with the event’s top seed Karim Darwish.
“Fares is a great squash player – he proved it yesterday by beating world number nine Mosaad in five games,” said Elshorbagy junior later. “He is 19 years old and reminds me of me when I was young! And if he keeps on playing like that, he’ll be playing top 30 in a year. And I wish him all the best for his next tournaments.
“Fares is one of the players of my generation, and I have studied all of them for the World Juniors,” added the former world junior champion. “I knew what to expect, and I used my experience. Plus I was 100% focused from the first rally.”
Darwish, the world No 5 who had to recover from two games down to reach the quarter-finals, was back to his best as he cruised to a straight games win over unseeded compatriot Zahed Mohamed, winning 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 in 31 minutes.

The 32-year-old from Cairo, the 2009 Sky Open champion (pictured above with Mohamed), is just one win away from reaching his fourth successive final since 2008.
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 (31m)
[5] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Fares Mohamed Dessouki (EGY) 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (45m)
[6] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt [4] Alister Walker (BOT) 11-7, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5 (45m)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (50m)
Semi-final line-up:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) v [5] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
[2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [6] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)

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