Ali Farag through to meet Mohamed Elshorbagy
By NATHAN CLARKE in New Giza
Three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour’s hopes of winning the 2016 Al Ahram Squash Open NewGiza – the illustrious $100k tournament taking place at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza – and writing his name into Egyptian sporting folklore came to a crushing and premature end as he limped off court during today’s quarter-final encounter with Ali Farag.
Midway through what was shaping up to be a closely fought and entertaining first game Ashour stopped after an innocuous looking movement, but was immediately in pain and was forced to shake his opponent’s hand and concede as his injury demons struck once again to grant Farag passage into the last four to face World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy.
The 25-year-old ElShorbagy, who last month surpassed Ashour’s mark of 21 months as World No.1, looked shaky on his debut appearance here last night when he came from behind to knock out Cameron Pilley and he again found himself behind on two occasions to Germany’s Simon Rösner before coming through to end all international interest in the Men’s draw.
“I felt flat today,” said ElShorbagy afterwards. “I had to push hard mentally to make it happen and make sure that it would take a lot of effort to beat me here.
“He was playing very well but when I pushed I think he went defensive and that helped me.
“To be honest I’m proud that I could win today. It’s moments like this that separate the top athletes from the others – today was tough but I live for these kind of challenges.”
In the Women’s draw there was further local joy as World No.1 Nour El Sherbini dispatched Omneya Abdel Kawy with ease before wildcard Nour El Tayeb followed up her impressive first round defeat of the in-form Nouran Gohar to come through a thrilling 83 minute battle with England’s Alison Waters.
El Tayeb came out firing and looked to be on her way to a comfortable victory as she took a 2-0 lead, with Waters looking out of sorts, but the Englishwoman mounted a gargantuan challenge, saving multiple match balls in the third to take it 13-11 and then securing the fourth game 14-12 before El Tayeb delighted the crowd with an 11-8 win in the fifth.
“I think that is the toughest match I’ve ever won,” said El Tayeb after.
“I’ve never been match ball up and lost before and there was a lot going through my head. It got quite heated and I just panicked.
“I told all my friends to come and watch me and the thought of losing was going through my head. At 10-8 in the third I had that thought of winning and having that picture of the pyramids in the background and boom it hit me and I crumbled.
“But I kept pushing and pushing and I have a rest day tomorrow so I can train and work on a few things and hopefully play better in the next round.”
Al Ahram Squash Open NewGiza, Cairo, Egypt.
PSA W100 Women’s Quarter-finals:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 3-0: 11-1, 11-4, 11-8 (23m)
[WC] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 3-2: 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 12-14, 11-8 (83m)
Women’s Quarter-finals – To Be Played September 21:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v  Nicol David (MAS)
PSA M100 Men’s Quarter-final Results:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 5-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5 (66m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-0: 6-5 retired (15m)
Men’s Quarter-finals – To Be Played September 21:
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
[LL] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)