Mighty Momen Shocks Elshorbagy To Make Maiden World Final
2 Mar 2019
Ending a nine-match losing run to the former world No.1, Egypt's Tarek Momen beat defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy in the semi-finals of the 2018/2019 PSA World Squash Championships presented by the Walter Family to reach the final of the sport's premier event for the first time.
World No.3 Momen hadn't beaten his fellow Egyptian since 2013. But the 31-year-old from Cairo dug into his mental reserves at Union Station in Chicago, showing some sublime touches at the front of the court to pull off a shock 8-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 victory in 97 minutes.
"I'm so happy to be in the final, this is my first ever [World Championship] final, but it's not over," said Momen.
"I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, whoever I play, it is going to be the first time for both of us. I'm going to fight for it and give it my all, how can it get any better than if I win the World Championships? It cannot get any better.
"I've been inspired by her [El Welily's] win since last year. I was heartbroken for myself for not making it past the last 16, but seeing her win the title brought so much joy, watching her win that last point and get the trophy and all I could think of is that one day I wanted to be there. I would have loved to have done it together, but she's had it, and if I can have it then the two of us can tell our future kids and grandkids that we won that title."
There will be a new name etched onto the men's trophy after Momen's fellow Egyptian Ali Farag got his reign as world No.1 underway with an 11-2, 11-9, 11-4 triumph over Germany's Simon Rösner to reach his first World Championship final.
Farag will join his wife Nour El Tayeb in the finals of the sport's premier event.
"It was such an emotional, long day, with Nour [El Tayeb] playing and winning an epic one and then going back to the hotel and watching the other semi-final of the men's... so it was quite an emotional one," said Farag.
"I woke up really happy to be the new world No.1 and then I had to get it out of my system because if I had have been dragged away with that then I wouldn't have played my best today, and I can't play Simon at 99%, I have to be at 100 per cent all the time. I'm really glad that I did that, and I hope tomorrow can be a special day for us."
The finals of the World Championships will feature a married couple for the first time in history, as Farag and El Tayeb look to replicate their incredible joint US Open wins in October 2017.
That triumph saw them become the first married couple in sporting history to win the same major sports title on the same day and they will now appear in the finals of squash's pinnacle tournament, where the lion's share of the $1 million prize fund - the highest in the sport's history - is up for grabs.
"All through the match I was just trying to hang in there with Raneem," said El Tayeb, who won the Windy City Open in Chicago last year.
"She's the best in the world for a reason and she makes every rally hard and I can't believe it. I'm in the final of the World Championships - wow. I knew I hadn't had a big win over the top two since Chicago last year and that gives me massive confidence going into the final tomorrow... I have proved to myself that I can fight through a really hard match."
Meanwhile, two-time winner Nour El Sherbini will appear in her fourth successive World Championship final - and her fifth overall - at the age of just 23 after she held off a spirited comeback from French world No.5 Camille Serme.
El Sherbini became the sport's youngest ever World Champion in 2016 at the age of 20 before retaining her title the following year. The Egyptian then fell to El Welily in the final of the 2017 edition in Manchester.
And she will have the chance to become the fifth woman to win three World Championships after an 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-6 victory over Serme. Her match will be a repeat of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions semi-finals, where El Sherbini triumphed en-route to winning the title.
The finals of the PSA World Championships will feature an all-Egyptian contingent for the third year in a row in both the men's and women's draws.
"For me, it's the fifth final of the World Championships and playing Nour is going to be difficult," El Sherbini said.
"We just played at the ToC and it's hard to play every tournament against each other. We haven't played in a final since ToC last year, so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's match."