Elshorbagy & Momen Set Up All-Egyptian Qatar Classic Climax
2 Nov 2017
World No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy will appear in a record sixth successive major PSA World Tour final in Qatar after defeating world No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic in Doha - where the climax will be an all-Egyptian affair after Tarek Momen defeated Simon Rösner to earn the first PSA World Series final appearance of his career.
Gaultier and Elshorbagy, who lost to Karim Abdel Gawad twelve months ago, were meeting for the 22nd time in what has become one of the fiercest rivalries of the modern era. But, after coming through a spell-binding opening game, it was the 26-year-old from Alexandria who prevailed at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex to end the Frenchman's 30-match unbeaten run over a best-of-five games format.
Buoyed on by a partisan crowd, Elshorbagy - who showed little tiredness after a brutal five-game clash with Ali Farag 24 hours earlier - attacked with intensity from the off to avenge his defeat to the Frenchman at the Tournament of Champions in New York in January.
"I'm really happy to be back in the final here, it's where I won my first ever World Series and to be back in my fourth consecutive (Classic) final is an honour," said Elshorbagy, now aiming for a third Qatar Classic title.
"He made a fool of me in that match in New York and I thought about it all summer - it motivated me to get back to my best in the off season and I really wanted to go out there today and beat him 3/0.
"Without the way that he beat me at the ToC that day, I wouldn't be as hungry as I am now. I had a bad season by my standard last year but I feel like I'm better every tournament and every match this season so far and I'm really pleased to be competing for the title here once again."
Meanwhile Momen, three years Elshorbagy's senior at 29, secured a long-awaited debut in a major PSA World Series final courtesy of a dominant and controlling straight-games victory over Germany's Simon Rösner - who was himself competing in his first ever World Series semi-final.
It what was the seventh career meeting between the pair, it was Momen who kept his nerve on the big stage, coming out firing in the early stages to pile the pressure on the big German, profiting from a series of unforced errors to take the opening game and set up the foundations for an 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 victory.
"I'm really happy, I can't believe I'm in my first World Series final - it's amazing," he said afterwards.
"I really wanted to win. It's been long overdue for me. I've been waiting to get to the finals of a major event for a long time. I saw the opportunity today and wanted to make the most of it.
"I think I had a physiological edge - with the crowd supporting me and having been in a semi-final before - and I took advantage of it. Earlier this season I wasn't in the zone mentally but I knew I wasn't far off and finally it materialised this week and I'm so happy.
"I've had some huge matches against Mohamed before and I have won against him as well so I know nothing is off the table. I'm in the final and I'll give it my all and continue to believe in myself."