Egypt’s World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy is through to the quarter-finals of the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic after overcoming a tricky test from France’s Mathieu Castagnet at the East Wintergarden, London.
It was the Egyptian who held control through the first game, as he aimed to bounce back from his last-eight defeat to New Zealand’s Paul Coll at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter family in Chicago last month. He took it 11-6, but as is always the case with the Frenchman, he fought his way back.
Thanks to Castagnet’s mental and physical toughness, the match would be pushed into a third game as the World No.22 refused to go down without a fight. He took it 11-8 to set up the decider and it looked like it could go either way right through the middle part of it, with neither player able to pull away.
In the end, it would be the World No.1 who took the victory, advancing through to the quarter-finals where he will face either Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal on Wednesday evening, after the World No.11 got the better of Germany’s Simon Rösner
“He is a warrior. He had a really bad injury and he is making his way back. I know his ranking is still outside the top 20 but the level he can play at…Oonce you are a great player, you don’t just become a good player. You stay great and luckily I pulled through at the end!” Elshorbagy said.
“The best-of-three format changes the dynamic of the sport. It will be short, sharp rallies and you will play at a very high pace. With the best-of-five you have to think about the whole match, and think about your energy throughout the match. I am proud of my mental performance today. I got lucky today and I know I need to try and improve for the next round.
“I have always enjoyed playing this event and the crowd are always fully supportive from the first day. We play for the crowd and they make it really exciting for us to play. It is close to Bristol, my home, and I definitely enjoy playing here.”
ElShorbagy will face Ghosal, who came out firing in the first game of his clash with World No.7 Rösner. He held the momentum through the middle part of the first game, before he caught the German on his follow-through at 9-5. After a ten-minute blood injury delay, Rösner came back onto court and won five of the next six points, including saving four game balls.
However, it would be Ghosal that took the game, but the German Tree-Chopper fought his way back into the match, restoring parity in the contest by winning the second, despite the Indian saving a game ball in the process.
Saurav Ghosal (right) and Simon Rösner in action in the second round
It would eventually be the ‘Mongoose’ that took the win, only his third over Rösner on the PSA World Tour, as he moves through to the quarter-finals of the PSA Gold tournament in London, where he will face World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy on Wednesday.
“I think it was a culmination of a couple of things. I was 9-5 up, the momentum was with me, and especially when you are playing Simon, it is so difficult to get that against him because he has such good power and a great touch art the front of the court,” Ghosal said.
“He stepped up and played some really good stuff but I am glad that I was able to finally win it because I think on the balance of play that I deserved to win it. Beating a player of that quality, in the form that he is in right now, is a really good win for me!”
Elsewhere on the second day of the tournament, Peru’s World No.6 Diego Elias and World Champion Tarek Momen made their way through to the last eight of the PSA Gold event in London, with the pair scheduled to meet on Wednesday night.
The second round continues on Tuesday March 10 at 18:00 local time (GMT) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).
St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic: Second Round (Top Half) Results
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 2-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (47m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 2-1: 13-11, 7-11, 11-4 (61m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 2-0: 11-8, 11-4 (24m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 2-1: 9-11, 11-8, 11-8 (51m)
St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic: Second Round (Bottom Half) Draw – To be played Tuesday 10th March
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Declan James (ENG) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic: Quarter Final (Top Half) Draw – To be played Wednesday 11th March
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
 Diego Elias (PER) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)