World number 2 Mohamed ElShorbagy joins top seeded teammate Ali Farag and there other Egyptians in the quarter-finals of the Tournament of Champions squash championships at New York’s Grand Central Station.
ElShorbagy defeated France’s World No.14 Gregoire Marche 11-1, 11-9, 11-9 in his last 16 match earlier today to join Farag, who booked his place in the last eight a day earlier.
Joining the duo are teammates Mostafa Asal, Tarek Momen (Egy) and Karim Abdel Gawad.
To underline, Egypt’s strength, two Egyptians are also through to the quarter-finals of the women’s competition. Top seeded top seeded Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar are in the last eight with a couple more likely to join them including second seeded Nour El Sherbini.
In the match between ElShorbagy and Marche, the Frenchman was forced to play catch-up for long periods, although the scoreline may look it like to was much closer.
Marche has had a torrid week with him being hospitalised twice this week due to illness and faced a gruelling five-game battle with Egypt’s Zahed Salem in the last round.
However, Marche was up against a different beast today in the form of two-time tournament champion ElShorbagy as he struggled to keep up with the pace and accuracy the Bristol-based Egytpian was setting in the first game as he took an 11-1 lead.
The second game proved to be in stark contrast as Marche seemed to be firing on adrenaline and threw himself around the court but was unable to draw level with ElShorbagy edging it, 11-9.
The third proved to be similar with Marche once again running the Egyptian close before ElShorbagy sealed an 11-1, 11-9, 11-9 victory to set up a quarter final showdown with Welshman Joel Makin.
“After that first game, me and Rodney (Martin) spoke and said it was going to be about mental focus for the rest of the match,” said ElShorbagy, who celebrated his 29th birthday yesterday.
“I definitely didn’t want the rest of the match to be like the first game, you don’t want to go to the next round having all the games easy like that, you want to be tested and Greg tested me a lot in the second and third. There were a lot of dynamic movements here and there, but I’m glad that I played the bigger points better and happy to be in the quarters.
“Any of the top guys are coming here to try and win this title, I’m just one of them who are trying to have a shot at it. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to give it my best here every day and see what happens.
Ali Farag (Egy) vs Paul Coll (Nzl)
Mostafa Asal (Egy) vs Tarek Momen (Egy)
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) vs Simon Rosner (Ger)
Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) vs Joel Makin (Wal)
Raneem El Welily (Egy) vs Camille Serme (Fra)
Alison Waters (Eng) vs Nouran Gohar (Egy)
(Two other quarter-finals to be decided tomorrow morning)