Karim Darwish endorsed his superiority over Mohamed Elshorbagy despatching his Egyptian rival in straight games to reach the semi-finals of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships in Philadelphia.
Despite just a single world ranking position separating the pair, world No5 Darwish was in sizzling form taking just 42 minutes to clinch victory.
Darwish, the 32-year-old former world number one from Cairo, went into the match 8-2 ahead in the pair’s all-time head-to-head record – but 22-year-old Elshorbagy, from Alexandria, recorded a notable 3/0 win over his senior Egyptian team-mate last December en-route to an impressive PSA World Championship final debut.
Fourth seed Darwish took early control, leading 5-2, 7-5 and 9-6 and, despite Elshorbagy’s best efforts, took the lead 11-9.
In the second, fifth seed Elshorbagy built up leads of 6-1, then 8-3 and 9-4 before proceeding to self-destruct – with five unforced tins in a row. Darwish took the game 11-9 with a dropshot for an unlikely two-game lead.
Darwish took full advantage in the third, taking a 5-1 lead, then extending it to 7-3. At 10-6 a delicate crosscourt dropshot clinched the match for Darwish – and a first appearance in the US Open semi-finals since 2007.
“I was really focused for this match,” said Darwish (pictured above in action with Elshorbagy)after his 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 victory. “I really wanted to win this one and it’s such a great feeling to be in the semi-final of the US Open. There were a few collisions in the second. I wasn’t too happy about it, but I told myself I had to win and I’m happy I could do it.”
Darwish will now face career-long French rival Gregory Gaultier, the top seed, for a place in the final.
“Greg’s one of the in-form players, so it should be a good match against him on Thursday,” concluded the exuberant Egyptian.
Gaultier, the world No2 bidding to reach his fourth PSA World Tour final in a row, defeated unseeded compatriot Mathieu Castagnet 13-11, 11-8, 11-6.