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Mohamed ElShorbagy

2017 Qatar Classic - Quarter-Finals: As it Happens

Follow us here in Doha for reports and reaction from the quarter-finals of the 2017 Qatar Classic, World Series tournament.

We kick off with the latest chapter in the the emerging rivalry between World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy and the man below in the World Rankings, Ali Farag.

Next on is World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, who is up against training partner Diego Elias, while Marwan ElShorbagy and Simon Rösner go head-to-head for an unexpected semi-final place.

Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew – making his last ever appearance at this tournament – takes on Egypt's World No.7 Tarek Momen in the day's final fixture.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV.

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+3)
17:00 [5] Ali Farag (EGY) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
18:00 [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Diego Elias (PER)
19:00 [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
20:00 [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [8] Tarek Momen (EGY)

ElShorbagy Weathers Farag Storm to Reach Semis

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Ali Farag (left)

The latest instalment of the enthralling rivalry between Egyptian stars Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag threw up yet another superb clash between the two, with World No.3 ElShorbagy withstanding a late fightback from Farag to reach the last four.

The two Egyptians were meeting for the third tournament in succession and had shared the spoils in their last two meetings, with Farag overcoming ElShorbagy in last month’s U.S. Open final, while ElShorbagy avenged that defeat with victory in the Channel VAS Championships a week later.

ElShorbagy, a two-time winner and last year’s runner-up, looked set to continue where he left off after his win over the 25-year-old Harvard-graduate in Weybridge as he went two games up against a fatigued-looking Farag, who was passive and failed to match the attacking intensity of the older Egyptian.

But Farag found a new level in the third and fourth games as he finally began to look like the player that has lit up the Tour in the early months of this season. He edged out the third to halve the deficit before drawing level after prevailing 18-16 in an epic fourth game which saw him surrender game balls on six occasions, before finally converting on his seventh after overturning three of ElShorbagy’s match balls.

A promising start from Farag saw him put early points on the board in the decider but errors soon began to flow from his racket as exhaustion kicked in and ElShorbagy put away the third of four match balls to book his semi-final berth.

“I told him after the match that I am going to make him train harder than he has ever imagined,” said ElShorbagy.

“He is making me train harder than I thought I would, he’s making me push that extra mile every time. We’re going to push each other for the rest of our careers, we always play such great matches together and it was a fair, tough battle.

“I’m really happy I got through, it was 50-50 and I’m happy I got the win in the end. I’m not going to be able to beat him every time, he’s going to beat me a few times, I’m going to beat him a few times, that’s just how it is and that’s the beauty of the sport.

“Every time I lose to him, I’m going to learn something and I’m going to try not to make the mistakes I made to him when I’ve lost and he’s going to do the same thing. That’s how we push each other, that’s how we improve each other, we try to beat each other but we also learn from each other.

“He’s such a great player, very talented and he’s such a clever guy as well. I’m really happy he got to World No.4 so I don’t have to play him in the quarters any more because this has been a really tough draw for both of us. Neither of us deserve to go out in the quarters, we both deserve to go through to the semis but I’m happy to be back here in the semi-finals.”

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [5] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 16-18, 11-8 (93m)

Gaultier Marches Past Elias to Set Up ElShorbagy Clash

Gregory Gaultier (left) v Diego Elias (right)

World No.1 Gregory Gaultier made it 30 matches unbeaten over a best-of-five games format after the ‘French General’ disposed of training partner and World No.14 Diego Elias in straight games.

The 34-year-old dominated the opening stages as he dropped just two points to go one game up after putting in some perfectly constructed rallies and very few errors.

Elias, whose rapid rise up the rankings in recent months saw him targeting a place in his maiden World Series semi-final, found his feet in the second game as he managed to open up the court more and he played some good defensive squash to halt Gaultier’s flow slightly, but the experienced Frenchman was too strong and he held his nerve to to double his lead.

Elias was then forced to take an injury break after just two points of the third game with a thigh problem and that robbed the 20-year-old of any efficient movement when he returned to court, leaving Gaultier to close out an 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 victory in 44 minutes.

The Frenchman will take on long-term rival Mohamed ElShorbagy in a tasty encounter which will see the two lock horns for the 21st time on the Tour – with Gaultier 11-9 up on the head-to-head record.

“I was moving much better than in the first two rounds, I felt a bit better physically,” said Gaultier.

“I think the first two rounds made me open up my lungs a bit because I haven’t played for so long after the injury I had. In the third, I wanted to keep going but he hurt himself doing a lunge in the front-left corner and from there I feel bad for him.

“He is one of my closest friends on Tour, I can’t advise him of course because he is playing me, but it is distracting because [after the injury] I didn’t know how to play anymore, I didn’t know if he was going to move or not. I know the feeling of being out and being injured, so I hope it’s nothing serious.

“I didn’t come here with any real expectations, all I wanted was to get some games, to get my marks back on the court because I’ve been out, so playing another match tomorrow for me is a bonus and we’ll see how it goes.

“I need to get some matches in the tank and in the legs, so it’s good to play a player like Mohamed, who is very strong and has been back in top form recently. I will see how I deal with the conditions and will do the best I can to do really well and hopefully we have a good match.”

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (44m)

Rösner Advances to First World Series Semi-Final at Expense of Marwan ElShorbagy

Simon Rösner

Germany’s World No.12 Simon Rösner will appear in the first World Series semi-final of his 14-year career after the 29-year-old ousted World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in a 3-1 triumph in Doha.

Rösner had reached a number of quarter-finals at this level before but he came into the fixture after claiming a superb win over World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the previous round.

And, with the scores poised at one game apiece after some up-and-down squash from both players, he took charge and dominated the ’T’ in the third and fourth games to take an 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 victory to seal a maiden last four appearance.

The German ‘Tree-Chopper’ will line up against either 2009 winner Nick Matthew or Egypt’s Tarek Momen in the next round.

“This is the biggest win of my career,” said a delighted Rösner.

“Even though I beat Karim last night, getting to the semis is the most special thing for me because I haven’t been able to reach this stage at this kind of tournament, so it’s the biggest achievement for me so far.

“I’m feeling comfortable here, I’m playing well and feeling good, I’m confident that I can beat these guys and I think that made a difference today.

“It’s the happiest day of my life really, to reach this stage after so many years, and I’m turning 30 on Sunday, so it’s just before my birthday. I think this is already a good birthday gift but the tournament is not over yet, if I play like this like I did the past two days then I can get even further.”

Simon Rösner (GER) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (53m)

Momen Beats Matthew to End Three-Year Wait for World Series Semis Berth

Egyptian World No.7 Tarek Momen advanced to his first World Series semi-final since August 2014 after ‘The Viper’ dismantled 2009 winner Nick Matthew to set up a clash with Germany’s Simon Rösner.

Momen had won just two of their eight meeting prior to their clash in Doha, with his last victory against ‘The Wolf’ coming at the same stage of the PSA Men’s World Championships back in November 2015.

And it was the man from Egypt who took the opener after Matthew failed to settle and made a series of errors as Momen played with poise and precision to go ahead.

An uncharacteristically error-strewn performance from Matthew continued into the second game – with the three-time World Champion even serving out at 2-1 up – but he finally started to hit his mark towards the back end of the game as he came back from 8-6 down to take it 11-9.

That second game victory looked to give Matthew a boost as the 37-year-old surged into a 6-1 lead into the third but Momen fought back to restore parity, before a controversial stroke given against the Englishman saw him lose his focus and Momen took full advantage to restore his lead.

Yet more errors from Matthew in the fourth game arose as his movement began to slow and Momen upped the onslaught to close out the win by an 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 margin that will see him clash with Rösner tomorrow for a place in his maiden World Series final.

“I’m very happy that I managed to get the win,” said Momen.

“I’m expecting a huge battle [against Rösner], I can’t believe we’re both playing in the semi-finals tomorrow. Simon has been trying to get to this stage for a long time and I’m happy for him because he has been working so hard and he has been very unfortunate a few times.

“For me, it’s back to the semi-finals after a three-year drought. The last one I was in was in Hong Kong and I beat Simon to get there, so I’m hoping for a good win tomorrow and maybe I’ll get through to my first ever World Series final.”

[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6 (43m)

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