Mohamed Elshorbagy Leads Historic Egyptian Quintet Into British Open Quarters
25 Mar 2016
Revenge victory by defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy over former world number one James Willstrop in the second round of the 2016 Allam British Open not only put five Egyptians in the men's quarter-finals for the first time in the prestigious event's 86-year history - but also denied last eight domestic interest for the first time since 1992.
Reigning world No.1 Elshorbagy avenged his shock World Championship defeat to former Willstrop by downing the Yorkshireman 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 on the fourth day of action in the PSA World Series event at the Airco Arena in Hull.
"I've been waiting for this match for four months, since the World Championship," said Elshorbagy.
"After he got back from his injury, the first time I saw him return to his best was against me in the World Championship. I was really happy to see him playing that well, it's important for the game to have someone like him to be playing very well. I was focused from the first point today, I thought we played such a high-quality match for a second round match.
"I got in my zone and I'm really happy that he played well so we pushed each other very hard."
Elshorbagy's younger brother Marwan Elshorbagy also claimed a place in the top half of the quarter-final draw after his Indian opponent Saurav Ghosal was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury after just two games. The 22-year-old world No.11 will face compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad, who reached the last eight at the iconic event for the first time in his career by beating compatriot Fares Dessouki
The number five seed produced an array of sublime shots during a high-quality match as her attacking artistry at the front of the court in particular paid dividends throughout the 31-minute encounter.
The French number one put Lust to the sword in a comprehensive 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 victory to seal her spot in the next round - where she will face world No.1 Laura Massaro, the only English player left in the competition, in a repeat of last year's final.
"I am just trying to focus on today and not last year," Serme said.
"I just try to focus match after match, and try to think about the tactic and not the prestigious tournament. It would be be a good battle [against Massaro], a good match. I am going to give everything I have."
Massaro came through a difficult tie against Denmark's Line Hansen to continue her attempts to lift a second British Open crown.
The 32-year-old was made to work hard for the win and found herself trailing her opponent in the first game before prevailing and she came through the second in determined style after triumphing on the tie-break. Some typically accurate hitting from the 2013 British Open champion saw her pull away in game three and she kept her composure to record an 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 triumph.
"It will be a good match for the crowd," said Massaro of her upcoming fixture against Serme.
"I'm glad to be in the quarter final, it's nice to be off in three games with not much time to rest. I feel like I am playing well and much better than I was this time last year. Also I don't have an 85-minute match in my legs like I did going into last year's final so I just want to play my best."
British Open image courtesy of www.squashpics.com