Egyptian aces stage repeat of US Open final
By SEAN REUTHE
Egyptian duo Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag will lock horns in the final of the 2017 Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill after both players triumphed on semi-finals day in Weybridge to set up a repeat of last week’s U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management title decider.
Both players are in red-hot form and ElShorbagy, who lost out to Farag in Philadelphia, earned his place in the showpiece finale courtesy of a 3-0 victory against Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal, which saw both players compete in a high-quality affair.
Ghosal chased and harried the Egyptian at every turn but ElShorbagy’s relentless pace eventually caught up with the World No.26 and World No.3 ElShorbagy closed out the win by a 13-11, 11-8, 11-9 scoreline to make it three finals from three tournaments as his return to form during the 2017/18 season continues.
“It’s funny because he came through qualifying and I was helping him through his second match of qualifying because we’re really good friends,” said top seed ElShorbagy.
“He’s very good for the game and he was playing high-quality squash from the first point to the last. I just kept pushing and I’m glad it went my way in the end.
“I’m coming back tomorrow to play a great match and I hope the crowd enjoys it.”
Farag also earned his place in a third successive final this season after he repelled a spirited fightback from Peruvian World No.15 Diego Elias.
Farag captured his maiden World Series title last week in Philadelphia to add to his runner-up spot at the China Open in September and his fine form showed no signs of abating as he built up a two-game lead, despite needing treatment mid-way through the opening game after being caught on the nose by Elias’s racket.
A determined Elias had the crowd behind him, though, and he launched a superb fightback, taking the third and fourth games to draw level. But Farag’s game management skills came to the fore as the match crept towards its conclusion, with the 25-year-old taking momentum away from Elias with some measured squash and he dropped just three points to bring an end to a thrilling 85-minute encounter.
“It’s thanks to people like Mohamed [World No.13 and fellow Egyptian Abouelghar] that I won,” admitted Farag, the number two seed.
“He told me that I had the character, I had to keep pushing and that I wasn’t World No.5 for nothing. I had to give it a big push, thankfully I did and it worked. If I’d lost, I would have had no regrets, I’m just happy to be through.
“Tins always happen against him [Elias] because he moves the ball around really well and he’s very smooth. I never know where I should put the ball. I had to be strong and hope that Diego hit it with his racket. Mohamed told me that in between the fourth and fifth games and it worked.”
The final of the 2017 Channel VAS Championships will take place tomorrow (October 22nd) at 17:15 (BST) at the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club as ElShorbagy and Farag go head-to-head for the lion’s share of the $100k prize fund.
All of the action 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.
Semi-Finals (October 21):
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-5, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3 (85m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA