World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, the 27-year-old Egyptian, began his bid to retain the Qatar Classic crown with a comfortable defeat of Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip to book his berth in the third round of the PSA World Tour Platinum event currently taking place in Doha.
ElShorbagy, who is searching for his fourth Qatar Classic title after triumphing here in 2013, 2015 and 2017, was in cruise control early on as he swept aside World No.27 Yip in a dominant 11-3 opening game, before quickly doubling his lead with an 11-9 second game.
But the man from Alexandria didn’t have it all his own way and was guilty of a lapse in concentration which cost him the third game, Yip, buoyed by getting a game to his name, then pressed ElShorbagy in the fourth and at times had the hard-hitting Egyptian on the back foot. But ElShorbagy managed to do just enough to stem the flow and prevail 11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 to set up a meeting with England’s Adrian Waller after the 28-year-old scored a surprise upset over former World No.3 Omar Mosaad.
“That was the first time I’ve ever played against him (Yip) so I was not sure what to expect but I know how good he is and he played very well,” said ElShorbagy.
“He’s shown great potential and I think he will go up the rankings in future for sure but for me, I have to make sure I stay positive for the rest of the season. There are a lot of players out there that are playing really well at the moment, so I have to stay hungry and motivated.
“When you have a hard day, you just need to stop and remember why you started in the first place.
”I always have great results here in Qatar – I feel at home on this court so I am going to try and do my best this week to enjoy my squash and hopefully win another title.”
Meanwhile Waller, the World no.36 from Enfield, England, cruised to a surprise last sixteen berth as he dominated 2016 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad to record an empathic 11-0, 11-2, 11-5 that saw him restrict the powerful Egyptian to just seven points in total and record one of the biggest wins of his career.
Speaking after the match Waller said: “I don’t know how I did that – I was just concentrating on my game and the score took care of itself really.
“I don’t think Omar was at his best today but it was nice to take advantage of the opportunity. I just tried to not let him into the game and the lead in the second game allowed me to relax and loosen up which gave me a dominant position.
“It’s great to be into the next round and it will be. Good test for me to play Mohamed. It’s evident how good he is and especially here but I’ll just give it my best and see what happens.”
Waller’s compatriot Tom Richards, the World No.30, also scored an upset victory to book his place in the third round of the event for the first time in his career as he overcame World No.16 Ryan Cuskelly of Australia courtesy of a clinical performance that saw him reproducing the kind of free-flowing squash that took him to a high of World No.12 back in 2013.
The 32-year-old responded from losing the opening game to prevail 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 and set up a second round encounter with Germany’s Simon Rösner.
“It means a lot to win today and reach the third round,” said Richards.
“Ryan is a great player but I feel like I played some really good squash today. I used the conditions well and I’m just delighted to be fit and healthy and playing. I knew I had the game to beat and could beat him, but equally I knew he was more than capable of blowing me away, so I’m just happy to come through.”
The other winners on the first day of second round action were Germany’s Simon Rösner, Peruvian Diego Elias, New Zealand’s Paul Coll, Spaniard Borja Golan and Egyptian Mazen Hesham.
Action from the second round continues tomorrow, October 29.
Results – 2018 Qatar Classic: Second Round – Top Half
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-1: 11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9 (34m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-0, 11-2, 11-5 (22m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 3-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-3 (42m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (42m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 13-15, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4 (53m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 12-10 (48m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 5-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 (58m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-3, 11-5 (36m)
Draw – 2018 Qatar Classic: Second Round – Bottom Half
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Max Lee (HKG) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Joel Makin (WAL) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
Leo Au (HKG) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)