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World’s top two clash in El Gouna semi-finals

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Nick Matthew works up a sweat in the humid conditions
Nick Matthew works up a sweat in the humid conditions

Mouthwatering match-up as Mohamed meets Matthew in El Gouna showdown 
By NATHAN CLARKE in El Gouna 

 

World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and World No.2 Nick Matthew will meet in a third consecutive PSA World Series event in 2015 when they take to the court for the semi-finals of the 2015 El Gouna International in El Gouna, Egypt, tomorrow (Thursday April 9).

Elshorbagy is the only man to have beaten Matthew so far in 2015, out-powering the 34-year-old to win the first Word Series event of the year, the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York.

But Matthew has claimed three consecutive event titles since then including the Guggenheim Partners Windy City Open, where he produced an imperious display to beat Elshorbagy 3-0.

The three-time World Champion had to come through a brutal encounter against World No.9 Omar Mosaad, played in difficult conditions, to book his place in the last four in what was his 600th PSA World Tour match.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever played in tougher, humid conditions than tonight because those conditions were brutal,” said Matthew.

“I had a bit of a blip in the fourth game, when my intensity dropped a little, but I’m really pleased with how I came back from that and there’s lots of recovery work to be done now ahead of tomorrow.”

On winning for the 445th time Matthew said: “It’s great to get another win on the tour and to hit 445 is nice. I’ve got 55 to go and maybe then I’ll retire!”

unnamedElshorbagy (right) booked his last four spot with a 3-0 win over Peter Barker to keep alive his hopes of bettering his runner-up finish here in 2014.

“Tomorrow is the battle of the number one and two so it will be a big battle for certain,” said Elshorbagy.

“We’ve played a lot recently and in the finals in New York and Chicago. I beat him in New York and he beat me in Chicago so hopefully tomorrow it will be my turn.”

In the bottom half of the draw, defending EL Gouna International champion Ramy Ashour moved into the last four with an impressive win over England’s James Willstrop.

Both players have endured long spells out of the game following operations and the quality of their performances showed that both are returning to their best form. Willstrop, trailing by two games to love, won the third game but Ashour hit back in the fourth to delight his army of fans in the crowd.

Daryl Selby was the third Englishman to fall at the last eight hurdle, losing out 3-0 to World No.3 Gregory Gaultier.

Selby was clearly feeling the effects of his incredible 105-minute marathon victory over Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and offered little resistance to the dominant Frenchman. 

2015 El Gouna International:

Results – Quarter-finals:
(1) Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [8] Peter Barker (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (54m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 12-10 (81m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-4 (56m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-1 (25m)

Draw – Semi-finals:
(1) Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [3] Nick Matthew (ENG)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 

Pictures courtesy of PSA

 

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