Mohamed Elshorbagy, Amr Shabana and Tarek Momen lead Egyptian charge in ToC
By NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad PSA Correspondent
The quarter-finals of the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will be full of Egyptian flavour after Mohamed Elshorbagy, Amr Shabana and Tarek Momen, the World No.1, No.3 and No.7 respectively, came through their second round encounters in New York’s Grand Central Terminal today (Jan 18).
World No.1 Elshorbagy, the 24-year-old Egyptian based out of Bristol, England, became the first man through to the last eight after edging his way through a challenging encounter with Swiss national champion Nicolas Mueller.
In a thrilling, 62-minute encounter, Elshorbagy had to be at the very top of his game to overcome an inspired Mueller, who produced one of his best ever performances on the PSA World Tour in the 11-3, 5-11, 15-13, 11-6 defeat.
With the scores tied at one-game-all a crucial tie-break in the third game ultimately determined the outcome as both men refused to give an inch in what was a brutal display of world class athleticism and shot-making. Despite having several game-ball opportunities, Mueller couldn’t convert to establish a lead in the match and Elshorbagy made the most of the reprieve to storm home.
“In that third game I told myself not to give up because I knew whoever won that game would break the other player,” said Elshorbagy.
“When I got the game ball opportunity I didn’t want to let it go. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t waste it because Nicolas played a great match and it was a very tough battle against him.”
Defending champion Shabana, who became the oldest ever winner of a PSA World Series event when he won here aged 34 in 2014, kept alive his hopes of retaining the title with a 3-1 win over Australian Cameron Pilley while Momen got the better of Indian Saurav Ghosal, winning 3-1 in a mixed performance.
Momen was in masterful form as he stormed out of the blocks and found himself one-game up after just six minutes of action, extending his lead to 2-0 with little opposition, but a series of errors allowed Ghosal back into the match before he regained his composure to move into the last eight.
“I tried to stick to a more conservative game plan against Saurav than I normally would do,” said Momen.
“He’s such a fast player and we have very similar styles so mentally he is a tough opponent for me and he made it very hard for me today so I’m just really pleased that I managed to stick to my plan and get through.”
England’s Chris Simpson was forced to withdraw from his match against number six seed Borja Golan because of illness.
England’s world No.23 wrote on Twitter: “Unfortunately I have had to withdraw from my match at the TOC today through illness. Having to withdraw from any match is horrible, but when that match is in Grand Central Station it is so much worse!”
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Grand Central Terminal, New York.
Results – Second Round, Top Half:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-3, 5-11, 15-13, 11-6 [62m]
 Borja Golan (ESP) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) walkover
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10 [54m]
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9 [60m]
Draw – Second Round, Bottom Half (To be played Monday Jan 19)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
[Q] Tom Richards (ENG) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Picture courtesy of PSA