Egyptian teenager Marwan El Shorbagy joined his top-seeded brother Mohamed El Shorbagy in the main draw of the Motor City Open after coming through the qualifying finals of the PSA World Tour International 70 event in its 13th year at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA.
Now part of the new US Pro Squash Series, the 2013 Motor City Open has attracted seven players from the world’s top 20, led by El Shorbagy senior, the world No5 from Alexandria.
Marwan, the 2012 PSA Young Player of the Year and two-time world junior champion, recovered from a game down to beat Frenchman Gregoire Marche 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1.
“In the first game I didn’t find my game,” said the 19-year-old world No27 (pictured). “The court is very bouncy, which suits his game more than mine. I was just waiting for the opportunity to come so I could slow down the game and play at my pace.
“I thought it was working well in the second and third game. I think I played the right game for this court against Marche.”
Ryan Cuskelly produced the most dramatic win on the eve of the event’s first round. After dropping the first two games to veteran Canadian Shahier Razik, the 25-year-old Australian mounted an extraordinary comeback taking the next three games and prevailing 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2 in a draining, two-hour, eight minute match!
“Playing a player like Razik, he just gets so many balls back that you have to hit four or five winners just to win a rally,” said the New York-based world No32. “That’s his goal. Just to make the game as long as possible and frustrate you. I got sucked into his game the first two games instead of playing my game of attacking and getting to the ball faster.”
Cuskelly switched tactics and began picking up the pace in game three. Things took a turn for the worse early in the decider when Razik dropped to the floor in agonizing pain.
“I had a bruised toe and Ryan had a good step on it,” said the 35-year-old from Toronto. “It irritated and started swelling on me. I was struggling to get my shoe on. After game two, it just turned into a physical match. We both got a little tired and we weren’t clearing as smoothly.”
For Cuskelly, the marathon win is one of his greatest memories in his many years at the MCO.
“It was the longest match of my career by far and it’s one of my best wins here, especially coming from down 2/0 against a player like Razik,” he said. “He’s pretty hard to beat on a traditional court.”
Updated 1st round line-up:
1 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW)
Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
4 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
3 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
2 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Shahier Razik (CAN) 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-2
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Max Lee (HKG) 11-6, 11-4, 11-2
Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-13, 11-9, 12-10, 11-4
1st qualifying round:
Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bye
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 11-9, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Yasir Ali Butt (PAK) 11-6, 11-6, 14-12
Shahier Razik (CAN) bt Zac Alexander (AUS) 11-7, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3 (80m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt Ibrahim Nyanzi (UGA) 11-3, 11-3, 11-7
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Shahjahan Khan (PAK) 11-2, 11-8, 11-8
Abdullah Al Muzayen (KUW) bt Martin Knight (NZL) 12-10, 11-3, 17-15
Siddharth Suchde (IND) bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 14-12, 11-4, 11-8