2017 World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy got his tournament under way with a 3-0 victory over 20-year-old Frenchman Victor Crouin as he returned to action after sitting out the CIB Egyptian Squash Open last week.
The 28-year-old has reached three finals so far this season at the China Open, Oracle NetSuite Open and U.S. Open – winning the first two – and he kickstarted his attempts to win a second World Championship title with a 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 victory over Crouin.
Crouin impressed at the Egyptian Open as he reached the third round to earn himself a spot on the glass court in front of the famous Great Pyramid of Giza. He performed well and was able to move ElShorbagy around the court, but the Egyptian’s superior experience saw him come through at the latter stages of each game.
VCrouin</a>!<br><br>Behind the back winner from the young Frenchman - EPIC!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PSAWorldChamps?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PSAWorldChamps</a> <a href="https://t.co/WsWSWMc5iv">pic.twitter.com/WsWSWMc5iv</a></p>— PSA World Championships (PSAWorldChamps) November 8, 2019
ElShorbagy normally brings his best squash to Doha having reached two World Championship finals in Qatar in 2012 and 2014, while he has won the Qatar Classic on three occasions.
He will continue his title challenge against the winner of an all-English affair between Chris Simpson and Adrian Waller, with the pair in action later tonight.
“I had Shanghai, San Fran and the U.S. Open, so there were three tournaments in a row,” said ElShorbagy.
“I felt towards the end of the U.S. Open I was feeling a bit flat mentally and physically, and it was nice to get a break, refresh again, think about my game more and see what I needed to improve after those three events. I'm coming here feeling strong again, I've done some good work and let's see what happens.
“I've been watching Victor for a while, since the World Juniors. He didn't win it but he impressed me the most. The way he moves on court, the way he plays, he looks hungry, he looks like he wants it, and that's what I look for in juniors. He's in the States training with [Thierry] Lincou, I played him for years, he knows my game, so he is coaching him on how to play me and how to move me about.
“He's lacking a bit of experience now, which is normal, but for French squash, most of them play like Gregory Gaultier. The only one that was different was Lincou. Him and Greg play so differently to each other, Greg is a monster on court and doing what he does is amazing, but I think it's good to have Lincou's game as well, because he was such a classy player.
“I can see he [Crouin] moves and stirkes the ball like him. I'm really happy to see that he is a quality player, and I know I'm going to play him a lot in the future.”
"It was nice to get a break, refresh again, think about my game more and see what I needed to improve."— PSA World Championships (@PSAWorldChamps) November 8, 2019
We caught up with
MoElshorbagy</a> after his RD1 win over <a href="https://twitter.com/VCrouin?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">VCrouin #PSAWorldChamps pic.twitter.com/ttEbuAC7Iz
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-7 (33m)