Five home stars reach the last eight in El Gouna
By Squash Mad Correspondent
Five Egyptians have powered through to the quarter-finals of the 2014 El Gouna Open as the home nation displays its wealth of talent on the international stage.
Defending El Gouna champion Ramy Ashour is joined in the last eight by compatriots Karim Darwish, Omar Mosaad, Mohamed Elshorbagy and four-time world champion Amr Shabana.
Ashour was forced to fight hard and produce some of his best squash in recent months to get past dangerous German Simon Roesner 3-0.
The multi-talented and vastly experienced Shabana was impeccable as he beat Tarek Momen 3-0 to keep alive his hopes of claiming a second World Series title in 2014.
“I knew I had to keep it tight and organised today against Tarek,” said Shabana. “He had a tough match yesterday but he’s a very strong player and if he gets a chance he will take it but thankfully it worked out for me.
“I’m in my mid-thirties now and the physical side of the game is becoming more and more important; and I’ve been working on my fitness to try and stay strong to compete with these youngsters.
“I’m in amongst the best players in Egypt here now and it seems like I’m playing the whole Egypt team. I haven’t been in the national team for a few years so maybe this is a chance to prove a point.”
Former World No.1 Karim Darwish continued his push for a title on home soil by digging deep to record a gutsy 3-2 victory over Laurens Jan Anjema, twice coming from behind to force the match into a deciding game when he showed the hunger that saw him top the world rankings in 2009.
Shabana will now face Omar Mosaad after the tall Egyptian impressed to record one of the best victories of his career to date, beating Spanish World No.5 Borja Golan 3-1 to reach his first World Series quarter-final since the 2013 Tournament of Champions.
“I have forgotten what it is like to win and get through to the quarter-finals of a World Series event,” said Darwish.
“I haven’t had that for a long time after reaching them consistently for eight or nine years so it’s feeling good.
“I have to dedicate myself 100 per cent if I want to win matches, if I don’t then I get beat in the first round which is only fair but I’m looking forward to playing on the glass court in the quarter-finals tomorrow.”
Elsewhere French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier was in superlative form to beat South African Stephen Coppinger 3-0.
Peter Barker overcame Marwan Elshorbagy and now meets his old brother, Mohamed, for a place in the last four.
Barker’s England team-mate Daryl Selby beat Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller and meets top seed Gaultier in the last eight.
2014 EL Gouna International – Second Round:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (38m)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-5 (44m)
 Peter Barker (ENG) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (45m)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (37m)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt  Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (68m)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 14-12, 11-4 (68m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 15-13, 11-8, 11-6 (47m)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
2014 EL Gouna International – Quarter-final Draw:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
Pictures by STEVE CUBBINS from the official website http://www.squashsite.co.uk/elgouna/