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Matches of the Season: Tournament of Champions - Farag v ElShorbagy

We’re taking a look back at the best matches from the 2018/19 season and today sees us go back to January as we revisit an epic encounter between the Egyptian pair of Ali Farag and Mohamed ElShorbagy at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York.

The two players were meeting each other in a final for the fifth straight meeting. They had done so at the Hong Kong Open in 2017, before also seeing in the showpiece event at the World Series Finals, Oracle NetSuite Open and the Hong Kong Open once more in 2018.

There was an added motivation on this match as well, as whoever took the Tournament of Champions crown would also be the World No.1 come the March rankings, no matter what happened elsewhere.

ElShorbagy had won the most recent meeting in Hong Kong, and he won the first two games in this encounter, after narrowly taking the first on a tie-break 12-10.

Farag was not going down without a fight, however, as he knew he had an opportunity to take the World No.1 spot in the rankings for the first time in his career.

The Egyptian fought back to win the next two games without much of a fight from ‘The Beast’, and as the game entered a fifth, both players started to tire.

In the end, Farag would be the man to claim the victory in the final game, winning it on a decision 11-8, to take the Tournament of Champions title, and the World No.1 spot come March.

“It’s been a dream of mine since a very young age to reach that No.1 spot,” said Farag afterwards.

“To do it in such a fashion in front of so many greats of the game, in front of the love of my life [wife, Nour El Tayeb], and my parents watching at home, it couldn’t get any better really… It was very emotional.

“Mohamed is such a warrior, he never gives any points away. It’s been one of the biggest spectacles for the sport, and to be played in such a clean spirit is a great showcase for our sport.”

Result: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – Final
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (84m)

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