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Mohamed ElShorbagy in action against Saurav Ghosal

Channel VAS QF: ElShorbagy Edges Out Ghosal in Five-Game Thriller

Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy survived a scare against India’s World No.11 Saurav Ghosal to reach the semi-finals of the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill in a breathtaking five-game battle.

Heading into today’s match, ElShorbagy had claimed the last seven victories in a row against the Indian with the last three all being 3-0 wins. However, Ghosal gave the ‘Beast from Alexandria’ a run for his money throughout the entire match with ElShorbagy saving match ball from the clutches of defeat in the fifth to book a last four place.

Ghosal took control of the middle of the court in the first game to take the first by an 11-5 scoreline with ElShorbagy struggling to settle into the match. However, the 28-year-old fired himself up in the second to cut out the errors and level the scores with an 11-9 win.

ElShorbagy continued to crank up the pace and the pressure in the third to force Ghosal into some errors to edge ahead yet again by an 11-9 scoreline.

Ghosal was not going to go away quietly, however, as he continued to make life difficult for the former World No.1 in the fourth with some spellbinding squash from both players bringing the crowd to its feet on numerous occasions to take the match to a fitting concluding fifth game for only the second time in their head-to-head record.

The final game saw ElShorbagy race ahead into an 8-3 lead, before Ghosal managed to quietly pluck away with his game plan to get back on a level scoreline. The Indian held matchball, but unfortunately for him ElShorbagy showed his dogged determination, which he has become renowed for throughout his career, to save the decider and convert on his own first attempt with the referee awarding a ‘no let’ decision on the final ball of the match.

ElShorbagy will face the winner of Mohamed Abouelghar v Mazen Hesham in just his second semi-final at the tournament in Weybridge, England.

“Saurav is a quality player and I think this is the best match we have ever played against each other,” said ElShorbagy afterwards.

“We have played so many times on tour and we both go way back. The first time we played was 2007 on the PSA tour, so we have been playing for 12 years against each other and we know each other’s game very well. We train together, we’re really good friends and today was the best match we have played against each other in the last 12 years.

“I’m really happy that I was a part of something special.”

Result:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 12-10 (85m)

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