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Marwan ElShorbagy celebrates his win over Paul Coll

CIB Black Ball Open: Quarter Finals - Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players who are in action in the quarter finals of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open Platinum event.

Here’s the schedule:
(All times are local GMT+2)
17:30 [4] Paul Coll (NZL) v [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
18:15 lZahed Salem (EGY) v [3] Tarek Momen (EGY)
19:15 [8] Joel Makin (WAL) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
20:00 [1] Ali Farag (EGY) v [7] Fares Dessouky (EGY)

You can catch all the action live from the Black Ball Sporting Club on SquashTV, and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).

You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Marwan ElShorbagy First Player to Reach Semis

Egypt’s World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy is through to the CIB Black Ball Squash Open semi-finals after a thrilling five-game 96-minute epic with New Zealand’s World No.4 Paul Coll.

The two players displayed squash of the highest order throughout the whole match with the crowd inside the Black Ball Sporting Club enthralled by the unbelievable quality from both ElShorbagy and Coll, but it was the Egyptian who was able to close out in dramatic fashion and battle through cramp in the fifth to take a 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 victory.

He will face either older brother Mohamed ElShorbagy or Wales’ Joel Makin for a place in the final.

“It was a tough match and I just hoped everyone enjoyed it,” said ElShorbagy following his win.

“I gave it more than 100% today and Paul gave it more than 100%. It’s always tough playing Paul, especially in those conditions, I think we gave it everything. I stayed calm, I learnt my lesson and that’s why I won the match.

“This is a match [against older brother Mohamed] I’ve been waiting for if he beats Joel today. It’s that one match that I’ve been waiting for since September, he’s the greatest player of our generation. Every time I step on court with him it’s something that adds to me, I want to give it everything if we get to play. I’m looking forward to tomorrow anyway and recovery is very important now.

“It was an easy match, I wasn’t cramping! No, I did cramp in the fifth game, but I was going to push either way and I’m really happy with how I dealt with the decisions and I’m glad that I won today, I could have won and he could have won. To be honest, I would have been disappointed if I lost, but I knew I gave it everything.”

Paul Coll said:

“I had worked pretty hard, I know I still have a bit of work to do on the quality of my shots but I'm getting there.

“I thought I had him in the fifth, he was cramping, but there were more stop starts in that game, which suit his game more than mine, both of us a bit tired I think and more decisions.

“I got caught up in that last game, it was a bit too scrappy, not the way I wanted to play it. I had a good week, happy overall the way it turned out, not as much disappointed with the loss than I am disappointed with the fifth today.”

Result:
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [4] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2: 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9 (96m)

Momen Battles Past Resilient Salem

Tarek Momen in action against Zahed Salem

Egypt’s World No.3 Tarek Momen was made to work hard for his semi-final place at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open following a 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 victory in 67 minutes against compatriot Zahed Salem.

Salem was featuring in his first PSA Platinum quarter final after Karim Abdel Gawad was forced to withdraw from their round three encounter and despite pushing the reigning World Champion close in every game, was unable to convert the big points and Momen was able to progress.

He will face either World No.1 Ali Farag or reigning champion Fares Dessouky in the next round.

“I don’t know what to say to be honest, I’m just really glad to get the win today,” said Momen to SquashTV afterwards.

“I don’t think it was my best performance of the tournament, there were far too many errors, he made a few errors which helped me a bit. I would’ve loved to have played better today, but it’s ok I’m allowed to have a not 100% performance but still I managed to play the important points well. Both the first two games went to the tie-break and I managed to close them out, so that was a positive thing.

“The first two games went exactly the same way. I had a good lead, started well and just started to hit the tin far too many times and then he started to get winners of his own and it got tight towards the end. In the third he stepped it up, I thought I could come back, I made a minor comeback and almost closed out but couldn’t. I was just glad to get ahead in that fourth game and maintain the lead to get the win.

“I cannot predict the next match, I just hope it goes for as long as it can and they play 200 minutes.”

Zahed Salem said:

“I have been working very hard on my game, I didn't want to keep on relying on my fitness alone. So I have changed to try and play a much more attacking game.

“I'm going for more shots, I'm more confident, and I'll keep working on them. But I'm happy and proud that it starts showing in my game, I have played a lot with Tarek, but we never played that close games. And I had game balls in the second game, I think the match would have been different if I had taken that game.

“I kept fighting till the end, but he is so good, and today, he used his experience to win, we were both tired, but he played the crucial points better.”

Result:
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 (67m)

Makin Shocks ElShorbagy in Thriller

Wales’ World No.9 Joel Makin stunned World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy as he saved two match balls to win a dramatic 91-minute battle to reach the semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open.

It was another monumental match that went to five games with both players pushing each other to their absolute limit. But two match balls wasn’t enough for ElShorbagy after coming back from 2-1 down as Makin held his nerve and wrapped it up with a sensational last ditch dive to steal the win.

He will face another ElShorbagy in the next round in the form of Mohamed’s younger brother, Marwan.

“You know what it’s going to be like with Mohamed, the intensity is there from the start,” said Makin.

“He clearly had a set tactic from the start and he was slow balling me, but I was trying to do the same back, so it became a bit of battle that way. The pace wasn’t necessarily fast all the time, bit in and out, but he’s just so hard to put away. I thought I had him hurt from 1-1 but he made it so tough, he’s so clever, his shutouts, his subtleties, his soft hands and stuff, it was just a good battle all the way through.

“I think the rallies were just so tough. It was going on and on and there’s very little space when you’re both moving well like that. You’re forcing those errors out of each other at the end of long rallies, so I thought the quality was generally pretty good – it was better than it has been this week anyway.

“You have to back yourself or you wouldn’t be in those kind of positions in the match. If you don’t take it when it’s on there or back yourself to run it and win the point, then you have no chance at this level. Mohamed is going to hit far too many winners so you have to back yourself and commit to it.

“I think he assumed it [match ball] was down but it was definitely good. It was a full length dive again and getting it on the front wall but I forced the error and just nicked it. It doesn’t matter how you get across the line.

“The work we do all the time, I’ve done hours and hours when we haven’t had a tournament for the last four months. I’m ready for this and I want to have these matches, I should be able to back up from that.”

Mohamed ElShorbagy said:

“We train a lot in Bristol and Birmingham, we know each other's game pretty well.

“It's nice to see he’s improved, and not much to say except he played really well, we pushed each other a lot but he played better than me today to be honest. But high quality match for sure.”

Result:
[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 11-3, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11 (91m)

Dessouky Downs Farag in Five

World No.8 Fares Dessouky kept his CIB Black Ball Squash Open title defence alive after saving three match balls against World No.1 Ali Farag to win 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4 in the last quarter final match of the day.

It was a repeat of December’s final on the same court and the match went in similar fashion with Farag taking a 2-1 lead before Dessouky turned things around at 10-7 down in the fourth to come through and book his place in the semi-finals.

He will face World Champion Tarek Momen for a place in the final tomorrow.

“It was a very tough match, Ali today was unbeatable,” said Dessouky afterwards.

“I had to dig really deep and to find the turning point to win the match. So, I found it at 10-7 match ball down, I’m really glad that I found it, it’s very late, but I’m glad that I found it.

“He was getting everything back, I was a bit disappointed on court that he was getting everything and it was hard to beat him and to win a point against him. All credit to him, today I had to take advantage from this match, I was solid again and was able to grab the win.

“I was a bit heavy from the beginning of the match because I was waiting here for three hours waiting for my match, so I was a bit tired and wasn’t very fresh. I was a bit exhausted, so I’m really happy that I’m through to the semi-finals once again.

“I took my protein shake already and then I’m going to see the physio. I have to sleep and eat well and hopefully play better tomorrow.”

Result:
[7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4 (67m)

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