7:40 am
28 Feb 2017

Selby Soars Into Qatar Classic Semis

17 Nov 2016

England's unseeded Daryl Selby claimed his first appearance in the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic in nine appearances since 2007 when he upset eighth-seeded Australian Cameron Pilley in the quarter-finals of the third PSA World Series event of the season at Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha.

The 34-year-old from Essex, who stunned No.2 seed Omar Mosaad in the opening round, extended his glittering run in the Qatar capital to see off world No.14 Pilley 11-9, 11-1, 8-11, 12-10 in 70 minutes claim a spot in his first World Series semi-final since January 2012.

"It's my first [World Series] semis since the Tournament of Champions four years ago," said Selby.

"It's a big tournament for me and I just want to keep going, and I feel like I'm playing well."

The world No.19 will now face newly-crowned World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad who beat fellow Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy, ranked seven in the world.

Gawad, who beat Ramy Ashour in the PSA Men's World Championship final a fortnight ago, had to be resilient against a strong challenge from the younger Elshorbagy brother, but pulled through 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4.

"It's very, very tough to start a new tournament and only have 10 days to forget about the Worlds and focus about something else, especially when you have achieved something you have dreamt about since you were seven or eight years old," Gawad said,

"I started the season really, really well, so I want to finish it as well as I started it. That's the biggest push."

The other semi-final will see world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and three-time World Champion Nick Matthew go head-to-head for a place in the 2016 final in the latest instalment of one of the sport's fiercest rivalries.

It will be the pair's 20th clash since their first at the Qatar Classic in 2008 - with defending champion Elshorbagy boasting an 11-8 lead.

Elshorbagy earned his place in the last four after coming through a gladiatorial five-game contest with German No.1 Simon Rösner, beating the world No.13 5-11, 14-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9.

"It was unbelievable," said Elshorbagy after extending his unbeaten run against Rösner to nine matches over five years.

"Every player has a quality that is different from other players. Maybe my quality is that I'm a fighter, I just keep fighting and that's maybe the thing that kept me alive in this match and got me a win at the end.

"Today, it's not because I was playing badly or because my level went down, it's because I was playing someone who was doing something special on court. For me, I still have the same mental strength I've always had and I think maybe that's why I won today."

Fourth seed Matthew produced a superb comeback from two games down to defeat Gregoire Marche after the unseeded Frenchman put in a display full of vigour and control in the early stages to take the lead.

But the mental resilience that has been a hallmark of the 36-year-old's glittering career came to the fore as he fought back to take the next three games without reply, earning the win by an 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-3 margin to move to within one win of a second World Series final of the season.

"Mohamed is the number one player in the world, he has that same quality that I think I have, where he can get the wins even when he's not at his best, and he's proven that over and over again," said Matthew, who lost out to Elshorbagy in last month's US Open final.

"I think it would be fair to say that neither of us has played our very, very best this week, but here we are in the semis."

Qatar Classic image courtesy of www.squashpics.com