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Saurav Ghosal (left) after his quarter-final win over Mohamed Abouelghar

Channel VAS Championships: Semi-Finals - As it Happens

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

Egyptian World No.5 Ali Farag takes on talented Peruvian Diego Elias in a mouthwatering clash, with Elias aiming to reach his biggest ever PSA World Tour Final.

Meanwhile, the prospect of Farag facing compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy in a repeat of last week's U.S. Open final is well and truly on, with World No.3 ElShorbagy in action in the other semi-final against India's Saurav Ghosal, who will hope to add to his list of impressive scalps this week.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local BST)
16:00 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
17:30 Diego Elias (PER) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

ElShorbagy Beats Ghosal to Seal Place in Fourth Successive Final

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Saurav Ghosal (left)

World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy has made his best start to a season since the 2014/15 campaign after he overcame Indian qualifier Saurav Ghosal in a high-quality semi-final clash to reach the Channel VAS Championships final – making it three finals from three tournaments so far this season.

ElShorbagy, whose last performance of the 2016/17 season saw him win the PSA Dubai World Series Finals – began the season with a title win at the Oracle NetSuite Open and followed that up by reaching the final of the U.S. Open, where Ali Farag prevented him from defending his crown in Philadelphia.

He was made to work hard for his place in the title decider of the Channel VAS Championships though as Ghosal, who showed little signs of fatigue despite having to play two extra matches in qualifying, chased and harried the Egyptian at every turn.


ElShorbagy – who lost in the first round of this tournament last season – led the pair’s head-to-head record by four wins to two, with Ghosal looking for his first win over the former World No.1 since 2008.

And it was the Indian World No.26 who came within a whisker of taking the opening game as he changed up his angles to force ElShorbagy into a number of awkward movements but ElShorbagy kept his focus to fight back from game ball down and convert the second of his game balls to go ahead.


Ghosal’s fine retrieving continued into the second game as the high-octane action continued at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club but ElShorbagy managed to pull his opponent away from the ’T’ enough to double his lead.

Ghosal continued to fight in the third, going 7-4 ahead, but ElShorbagy’s relentless pace of hitting eventually caught up to him and the number one seed closed out the win to reach a fourth straight Tour final.

“It’s funny because he came through qualifying and I was helping him through his second match of qualifying because we’re really good friends,” said ElShorbagy.

“I was talking to him after his second win in qualification and I was telling him that I hadn’t seen him enjoy his squash and haven’t seen him play this well in a while.

“He was telling me how much he didn’t enjoy playing last year but he has trained well this summer and he wants to come back. It wasn’t just about him winning the last few rounds, it was about seeing the hunger in his eyes.

“He’s very good for the game and he was playing high-quality squash from the first point to the last. I just kept pushing and I’m glad it went my way in the end.

“I’m coming back tomorrow to play a great match and I hope the crowd enjoys it.”


Result
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-9 (56m)

Farag Repels Elias Fightback to Set Up Final Clash with ElShorbagy

Ali Farag (right) v Diego Elias (left)

Number two seed Ali Farag will take on top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy in the title decider after he survived a spirited fightback from Peruvian World No.15 Diego Elias to reach a third Tour final in a row.

Farag, who won the U.S. Open last week to add to his China Open final from last month, had beaten Elias in four of their previous six meetings and came into their semi-final clash having beaten defending champion Paul Coll in the round before.

A quick start from the Harvard-graduate saw him surge ahead to 5-2 until he was caught on the nose by Elias’s racket, resulting in Farag needing stitches to stem the bleeding.

After a lengthy blood break, Farag carried on where he left off as he closed out the first game for the loss of five points but the second game was a real battle as Elias began to show off his racket skills and he held two game balls as he looked destined to draw level.

However, Farag remained composed and came back to win four points in a row with a fortunate nick on a cross court effort handing him the second game.


The crowd got behind Elias in the third and he duly responded with a determined display that saw him move Farag around and attack the space to claw a game back.

The nail-biting battle between the pair continued into the fourth game as both players traded points until some uncharacteristic errors from Farag began to creep into his game and he tinned at game ball down to send the match into a decider.

But Farag’s game management skills came to the fore as the match crept towards its conclusion, with the 25-year-old taking momentum away from Elias with some measured squash and he dropped just three points to bring an end to a thrilling 85-minute encounter.


“It’s thanks to people like Mohamed [World No.13 and fellow Egyptian Abouelghar] that I won,” admitted Farag.

“He told me that I had the character, I had to keep pushing and that I wasn’t World No.5 for nothing. I had to give it a big push, thankfully I did and it worked. If I’d lost, I would have had no regrets, I’m just happy to be through.

“Tins always happen against him [Elias] because he moves the ball around really well and he’s very smooth, I never know where I should put the ball. I had to be strong and hope that Diego hit it with his racket. Mohamed told me that in between the fourth and fifth games and it worked.”

Result
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-5, 12-10, 7-11, 9-11, 11-3 (85m)

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