Monday, March 20, 2023

Top seeds Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag power through in Cairo

Mohamd ElShorbagy tames young Malaysian Eain Yow Ng

Simon Rösner hits back from 0-2 down to beat Greg Marche
By ELLIE MAWSON  in Cairo 

Egypt’s World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and World No.2 Ali Farag both prevailed to reach the quarter-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open, along with the other top seeds on day four of the PSA Platinum tournament in Cairo, Egypt.

Reigning World Champion ElShorbagy was in formidable form to comfortably dispatch rising Malaysian star Eain Yow Ng in straight-games to progress.

Ng has been playing some incredible squash this week which has seen him knock out the likes of experienced Australian Cameron Pilley and New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson. However, the challenge of the reigning World Champion proved to be a step too far as ElShorbagy powered to victory.

He will now face compatriot and former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the last eight after he overcame Peru’s World No.11 Diego Elias by a 14-12, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7 scoreline in 63 minutes.

ElShorbagy was highly complimentary about the young Malaysian. He said: “He’s 20-years-old and has potential to be a World No.1 one day and a World Champion. This is the first time we play, but I told him we are going to play many times in the future.

 “I’m one of Gawad’s fans, I absolutely love his squash. The last few times we have played we have always had tough matches. Last season he had a little bit of a lack of motivation but this season he is back playing at his best again and it is a pleasure to watch.”

Ali Farag powers past Mostafa Asal

World No.2 Farag continued his impressive form that has seen him claim two titles so far this season as he overcame World Junior Champion Mostafa Asal in straight-games.

The 17-year-old Asal enjoyed a huge upset in round two after he downed England’s World No.19 Declan James in a five-game thriller to set up a clash with Farag. However, the young Egyptian was unable to compete with the experience of the World No.2, who comfortably prevailed by an 11-4, 13-11, 11-3 margin.

“Mostafa is such a great prospect for Egyptian squash,” said 26-year-old Farag. “He’s playing really well, and he showed in the first two matches that he can challenge all of the top players.

“In the second he started off firing and he took the game to me. I am just happy that I didn’t give this one up and I got the reward in the end and I think that gave me a psychological advantage to go on and get the win.”

Saurav Ghosal turns on the style against Omar Mosaad

Farag will now face India’s World No.12 Saurav Ghosal after he took out Egypt’s former World No.3 Omar Mosaad to reach his first quarter-final at a PSA Platinum event this season.

“I’m happy to win that and beating him 3-0 in Egypt. It’s my first quarter-final in the new Platinum structure. I felt like I put a lot of work in over the summer and maybe didn’t have as much to show for it in the way of results, so it’s very satisfying to have that small breakthrough into the quarters.”

Meanwhile at the Black Ball Sporting Club, Germany’s World No.3 Simon Rösner survived a scare to reach the quarter-finals.

The German found himself staring down the barrel of defeat against Gregoire Marche after the Frenchman built up a two-game lead.

However, Rösner’s class was able to shine through as he mounted an impressive comeback in the third to win 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 and secure a quarter-final berth. He will now face New Zealand’s Paul Coll for a place in the semi-finals after he comfortably dispatched England’s Chris Simpson in straight-games.

“I felt a bit flat in the first two games,” said Rösner afterwards. “I was struggling but I just didn’t want to go down 3-0 and wanted to give it my best shot in the last tournament of the year.

“I’m very happy with how I dealt with the situation and played my way out of it and happy to be in another quarters.”

The final quarter-final fixture will see an all-Egyptian battle between World No.4 Tarek Momen and World No.10 Mohamed Abouelghar after they both enjoyed successful days in Cairo.

Momen defeated Germany’s World No.17 Raphael Kandra in straight-games, while Abouelghar overcame a resilient George Parker of England to progress.

“It’s a matter of how well he’s [Abouelghar] going to hit those winners,” said Momen following his win. “You have to be on your toes and it makes it tense. I have to be solid, all the matches we have played have been tough but I’m going to fight until the end and the player that plays the best will get the win.”

The quarter-finals takes place on Friday December 7 when the likes of ElShorbagy and Farag battle it out for a place in the semi-finals. Matches from the glass court will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) from 17:00 local time (UTC+2).

CIB Black Ball Squash Open, Cairo, Egypt.

Third Round:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (29m)
[7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-1: 14-12, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7 (63m)
[8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5 (53m)
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 13-11, 13-11, 11-4 (48m)
[4] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (72m)
[6] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (46m)
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 13-11, 11-3 (32m)

Quarter Finals (December 7):
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
[8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [3] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[4] Simon Rösner (GER) v [6] Paul Coll (NZL)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)


Pictures courtesy of PSA


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