Egypt’s former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy was in powerful form as he survived a comeback charge from compatriot and World No.40 Youssef Soliman to reach the last eight of the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill.
ElShorbagy, who got his hands on the title back in 2017, was comfortable on the St. George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club court, which he practices on regularly, in the opening two games as he stepped up and constantly kept Soliman pinned behind him.
22-year-old Soliman had endured a tough five-game battle against experienced Spaniard Borja Golan yesterday in round one, where he was struggling with a shin problem and it seemed to catch up with him once again at the end of the second as he took an injury break.
Soliman looked to enjoy a resurgence following the break though, racing into a 5-1 lead to catch ElShorbagy off guard, with the elder Egyptian producing some uncharacteristic errors to aid Soliman’s comeback in the match.
ElShorbagy tried to stay with his compatriot, saving two game balls before a controversial decision saw him claw back another, but Soliman managed to keep his composure to close out and get a foothold back in the match.
The 28-year-old came back strongly in the fourth, however, as he managed to get back to the game plan that was serving him well in the first two games to take a hard fought 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7 win.
ElShorbagy will now face India’s World No.11 Saurav Ghosal in the quarter finals on Friday November 22.
“I’m the kind of person who wants to improve and always likes to explore different areas of my game and see different thoughts of the game,” said ElShorbagy afterwards.
“I think everyone brings something different to the game and I have only one career, so I want to learn as much as I can. Sometimes things can work, sometimes they can’t and sometimes it’s quickly or it takes a bit longer but at the end of the day I have to keep a positive mindset.
“It’s always hard, when during the season, you have tough calls and you have to make them, it can be hard to look at the positives, like last week when I lost in the World Champs. I had a big goal there and obviously that goal was taken away from me – thanks to my brother!
“At the same time I have made three finals at my first four events and when you lose the World Champs it’s hard to look at it that way. It’s the mental strength of the game and you try to be as positive as you can.”
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Youssef Soliman (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7 (54m)