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Diego Elias

Channel VAS Champs: Quarter-Finals - As it Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction from the quarter-finals of the 2017 Channel VAS Championships at St George's Hill held in Weybridge, England.

Defending champion Paul Coll and U.S. Open champion Ali Farag go head-to-head in a mouthwatering clash, while former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez aims to end an eight-match losing streak against top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy.

World No.8 Tarek Momen takes on the dangerous Diego Elias, with Mohamed Abouelghar taking on Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal in the day's other match.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV.

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local BST)
17:30 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
18:30 [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
20:00 [4] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER)
21:00 [6] Paul Coll (NZL) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

ElShorbagy Eases Past Rodriguez to Reach Last Four

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (left)

World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy made light work of Colombia’s former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez to seal his place in the semi-finals of the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill.

‘The Beast of Alexandria’ was irrepressible throughout the match as he dominated proceedings and gave Rodriguez nothing to work with around the middle in a focused performance from the Bristol-based Egyptian.

Rodriguez was impressive in his opening round clash with ElShorbagy’s compatriot Fares Dessouky but points for the 31-year-old were few and far between in the opening two games as ElShorbagy overpowered him and he went two games up inside 20 minutes.

The ‘Colombian Cannonball’ managed to push ElShorbagy more in the third and final game but the former World No.1 converted the third of four match balls to earn his place in the last four, where he will face either Mohamed Abouelghar or Saurav Ghosal.

“When you are in the zone, like I was in the first two games, it’s very hard for a player to take you out of it,” said ElShorbagy.

“I knew I was bound to lose focus at some point in the third but I was expecting that I would lose more focus than I actually did. And in the third, I was always comfortable, always a couple of points ahead.

“When you finish a match like that, you have to control your emotions, because you know that you are not going to play like that every day. Last time we played was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, it was on a traditional court, it was a completely different style of squash and he nearly pushed me to five games.

“But I can see the hunger in his eyes again today, it was missing last season, like it was missing for me actually.

“It’s nice to see him coming back, his victory against Fares was his first against a top 10 player for a long time. So it’s good for squash that he is back with hunger. It’s good for the game, he is definitely on the right tracks and I’m looking forward for more battles to come.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-8 (32m)

Ghosal Beats Abouelghar to Reach Biggest Ever Tour Semi-Final

Saurav Ghosal (left) after his win over Mohamed Abouelghar (right)

Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal’s superb run at the 2017 Channel VAS Championships continued after the World No.26 came back from 2-1 down to beat Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar – claiming a place in his biggest ever PSA World Tour semi-final.

Ghosal had lost to Abouelghar in just 29 minutes the last time they played in September’s Macau Open final but he looked in good form coming into the match after following up a successful qualifying campaign with a surprise victory over World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in round one.

Ghosal hit his targets well and charged down any loose shots from Abouelghar to take a one-game lead but the man from Egypt managed to get in front of Ghosal in the next two games to overturn the deficit.

A one-sided fourth game went the way of Ghosal though as Abouelghar failed to match his consistency and he emerged victorious after a litany of errors from his opponent towards the end of the fifth to seal an 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 triumph.

“I’m happy to beat someone like Abou, especially after I lost 3-0 to him in Macau three weeks ago,” said Ghosal.

“He’s been playing really well over the past 12/18 months and he’s played really well against the top guys, so to back up what I did against Marwan the other day and to beat someone of his calibre is pleasing.

“It was a really good match, I think both of us played some pretty high quality squash, so I’m really happy that my body and my mind were able to cope.”

Ghosal will go up against top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy for a place in the final after he dispatched Miguel Angel Rodriguez in straight games and he is bracing himself for a tough test.

Ghosal said: “He’s definitely come back after the summer with new intent. He obviously lost his World No.1 spot last season and there were things which he has gone out and worked on and I think he is playing well again.

“We know each other really well, so I know the journey he has gone through in the last few months and he was really focused today.

“He’s a former World No.1, he’s won all the big titles except the World Championship and there is no denying that he is playing well. I will have to come up with a plan to compete with him, to play at the same level and to find chinks in his armour.”

[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 (68m)

Elias Ousts Momen to Reach Last Four

Diego Elias (left) v Tarek Momen (right)

Peruvian World No.15 Diego Elias moved into the semi-finals after he defeated last year’s finalist Tarek Momen in a topsy-turvy five-game clash to continue his fine form this season.

The 20-year-old from Lima had lost to Momen in all three of their previous encounters but he took a 1-0 lead after profiting from a series of errors from the World No.8 at the back end of the game.

The momentum shifted though in the second as Momen came out all guns blazing and hit a veritable feast of sublime winners to draw level in comfortable fashion.

There was to be another change in the flow of the match in the next game, however, as Elias found his rhythm once more, again racing away from the mid-point of the match to restore his lead – with one rally even seeing him drop his racket before picking it up and winning the rally.

A loss of accuracy and some poor shot selection from the young Peruvian then saw Momen surge back into contention after easing to victory in the fourth but it was all Elias in the decider as he ran out an 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3 winner to set up what promises to be a thrilling clash against either defending champion Paul Coll or World No.5 Ali Farag.

“I’m really happy with the win, Tarek is a great player and he’s eight in the world,” said Elias.

“I’ve been playing well and I think this match was one game for me, one game for him. The start of the games were really important and at the end I pushed as hard as possible.

“I think I went to the front too fast [in the second and fourth] games and his counter-attack is too good. I went to the front in the first five or six rallies and then I was 4-1, 5-1 down so it was really hard to come back because he gets a lot of confidence and he’s really hard to play when he is confident.

“It would mean a lot to me [to get to the final], I’ve been in three semi-finals at $100k tournaments and I always lose, so I want to do my best tomorrow and try to get to the final.”

Diego Elias (PER) bt [4] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 4-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3 (65m)

Farag Ends Coll’s Title Defence

Ali Farag (left) v Paul Coll (right)

Egypt’s World No.5 Ali Farag ended 2016 winner Paul Coll’s title defence with a measured and composed display against the Kiwi World No.10 seeing Farag through to the semi-finals for a third PSA World Tour event in a row.

Coll shocked the squash world last year when he came all the way through qualifying to take his biggest ever title but he struggled to break down a resilient Farag who moved the New Zealander into the back corners at will.

The duo were locked at one win apiece in their head-to-head record – with Farag winning their last meeting during September’s China Open – and the man from Egypt fought back from 8-6 down to take the opener.

And the Harvard-graduate maintained his control in the second and third games to repel Coll at every opportunity, with an 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 victory seeing the U.S. Open winner advance into the semis where he will take on Peru’s Diego Elias.

“I think this is the best I’ve played all week, even compared to the U.S. Open,” said Farag.

“I was very pleased with the way I controlled the pace because if it gets out of hand against Paul then I would have no chance. I had it in my head before I got on court that I had to stay in front of him as much as possible.

“He’s so good at getting to the ball so I was trying to hold as much as possible and mix the pace up. I think I did that quite well today, I even surprised myself, to be honest.

“Me and Diego have played six times in the past year, once this season, four times last season and one time the season before. He’s always very tough to play against because he reads the ball quite well.

“People disagree but I think we play quite a similar game, we move the ball around and we’re quite smooth movers, so it’s hard to get him out of position and knock him off balance. Hopefully tomorrow I’m going to be on it like today and we’ll give the crowd a good match.”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [6] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (45m)

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