World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, the man who has dominated the PSA World Tour throughout the 2017/18 season, is set to lock horns with compatriot and nemesis Ramy Ashour, the three-time World Champion, in what promises to be a mouthwatering finale to the 2018 Grasshopper Cup.
The duo, who will meet for the eleventh time on the PSA World Tour – in a seventh final – have been in superb form so far during the PSA M100 tournament in Zurich and will go into tomorrow’s match with hopes of rekindling the rivalry that saw them contest two of the greatest matches in squash history during the 2014/15 season.
In the finals of both the 2014 World Championship and 2015 El Gouna International it was Ashour who triumphed in thrilling circumstances but since then the 30-year-old has largely been absent from the Tour due to injury, while ElShorbagy, who has assumed the mantle of the sport’s most dominant player, has gone from strength-to-strength – coming through a supremely high quality last four battle with James Willstrop to underline his authority with an 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 win.
“This season has been unbelievable for me so far,” said ElShorbagy.
“This is the third tournament in a row and the third final in a row – there’s so much work that goes in behind the scenes to try and recover from each match and come back and perform like I’m doing right now against these great competitors.
“But these are the kind of challenges that I live for and try to survive – victory tastes much better this way and tomorrow I will be giving it big shot.
“Ramy has been playing unbelievable this week and we alway play incredible matches against each other. We play at a different level when we’re up against each other and I’m looking forward to another big battle with him tomorrow.”
Ashour meanwhile continued to set the court alight as, just 24 hours after completely outclassing Simon Rösner, he proved too strong and too clinical for 2017 tournament winner Gregory Gaultier – the man who held the World No.1 spot for nine consecutive months before ElShorbagy remounted the summit on April 1st.
Since halting Raphael Kandra in style in round one Ashour has shown an irresistible fluidity on court and nonchalantly knocked the ball into all four corners to place Gaultier under an immense amount of pressure and complete and 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 win in 45-minutes.
“We’ve played so many battles together – he’s an amazing athlete and its impressive how he covers the four corners of the court,” said Ashour.
“He looked a little off in his movement today but I knew I had to be so on form to not give him an inch as he would have taken the game. When he’s playing normal you know what to expect but today, because he wasn’t at his best, it was even harder because you don’t know what to expect from him.
“Of course I’m happy with how it has been going this week. You just try to give your best out there every time you play but no doubt tomorrow’s match will be another tough one.”
Results – Semi-finals: 2018 Grasshopper Cup
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (45m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (47m)
Draw – Final
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)