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World Champs - Day Six: As it Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the quarter-final action at 2016 Wadi Degla PSA Men's World Championship gets under way in Cairo.

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy will meet fellow Egyptian Ali Farag for a place in the last four in a repeat of their recent Al Ahram Open clash in which the latter won.

Meanwhile, three-time World Champion Nick Matthew meets Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad in what is sure to be a spectacular clash – Matthew won the pair's most recent meeting to reach the final of last month's U.S. Open.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+2)
19:30 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [10] Ali Farag (EGY)
20:30 [6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [4] Nick Matthew (ENG)

Superb ElShorbagy Battles Past Farag to Become First Semi-Finalist

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy kept his title charge on track after a devastating display saw the man from Alexandria storm to victory against compatriot Ali Farag in a fiesty encounter to move to within one win of a third PSA Men’s World Championship final.

The pair’s most recent clash saw Farag triumph in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza in September’s Al Ahram Open and there was no love lost between the pair as a fired up ElShorbagy put in a powerful performance to nullify his fellow Egyptian.

It was Farag who started the brighter of the two with a number of accurate shots into all four corners of the court seeing him go toe-to-toe with his opponent, but a whirlwind attack from ElShorbagy towards the end of game one saw the hard-hitting top seed take it, before he surged 7-1 ahead in a rampant beginning to the second, which he took for the loss of five points after unforced errors began to creep into the younger Egyptian’s game.


The duo played out a nail-biting third game with neither player able to pull away throughout a ferocious series of rallies. With the tension palpable – and frustrations with both each other and the referee building – ElShorbagy finally engineered some breathing space for himself and he shut Farag out to wrap up an 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 triumph, emitting an almighty roar as he booked his place in the last four.

“It was tough, but the last two times were in Al Ahram and Detroit which weren't World Series of World Championship events, so it's a different story,” ElShorbagy said, discussing his previous losses to Farag.

“When you play these smaller events, these players try to improve their rankings. For me, I'm already there in the rankings, I want to win titles, it's the World Series events that I play for and try to win. If I win the small events, it's a bonus, if I don't I just learn from it.

“In the last match he was the better player, I raise my hands to that and I won't give myself any excuses. I worked on a few things and after I did that I felt I got a bit better, I felt sharp and I'm really happy I got to the semis because it was a big match for me mentally today. Even though I don't peak for the smaller events, it's still in the back of my mind.

“In the first game, I was very nervous and I felt that he was very nervous as well. Winning the first game gave me a huge advantage. I think if he had won the first game it would have given him a huge advantage as well.

“I'm just really happy I'm into the semis, especially in Egypt and I'm looking forward to my next match, I'll enjoy it and I'll focus.”

Referring to the on-court animosity between the pair, ElShorbagy added: “It's a physical sport, things can get tough at times, you can't help it. You have to be tough to be at the top of the rankings. Nick Matthew and Greg Gaultier are great examples of that, as is Ramy [Ashour].

“They're great players and you have to be tough to be like them. It's just part of the sport and you have to deal with that. Other than that, we were both aggressive, but I don't think either of us took excessive space.

“I felt I played in the right spirit, the way that I needed to win and I'm just glad that I played fair.”

Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [10] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (45m)

Gawad Sends Matthew Out to Seal Maiden Semis Spot

In-form World No.3 Karim Abdel Gawad will appear in a first ever PSA Men’s World Championship semi-final after overcoming a struggling Nick Matthew in the pair’s quarter-final clash.

Gawad – who broke into the world’s top 3 today after the November PSA Men’s World Rankings were released – lost out to Matthew three weeks ago at the U.S. Open, with the duo serving up a superb match in Philadelphia.

But Matthew was hampered with illness and, despite battling on, struggled to move freely, leading Gawad to take a comfortable 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 victory in just 34 minutes to set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy.

“I feel great, over the moon, especially because I had a very slow start [to the tournament],” said Gawad.

“I was nearly out from the first round but I talked to [four-time World Champion] Amr [Shabana] and he told me to focus match by match.

“It’s just baby steps, I’m focusing on each match before moving on to the next one. It’s my first ever semi-finals in the World Championship.

“It’s another dream for me [to reach the final] but I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’m still 25 and I keep working on things. If it doesn’t happen this time, I’ll focus on next year.

“I never get disappointed, every match is a new lesson for me and I must learn everything. I lost to Nick last tournament and I think I had a bad call at 9-9 in the fifth. I was a bit sad after the match, but I just told Amr that it was a big lesson for me and hopefully when I play him next time I’ll beat him.”

Result:
[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (34m)

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