8:20 am
15 Jul 2024

Elshorbagy Eliminates Champion Shabana At Grand Central

23 Jan 2015

Egypt's world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy ended hopes of Amr Shabana retaining his J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title with an impressive 3/2 victory over his 35-year-old fellow countryman in what was one of the most impressive matches ever seen at Grand Central Terminal in the competition's 18-year association with the iconic New York venue.

Shabana was in sublime form throughout the contest, finding his range from the opening exchanges and pulling out all of his trademark winners to dazzle the capacity audience and give Elshorbagy, 11 years his junior, all sorts of trouble. But the younger man showed just why he is number one with a defying display of retrieving as he dug deep to complete a remarkable victory.

"When you play against Amr you have to accept that he will make you look like an idiot on court at times and I accepted that today," said Elshorbagy.

"You can never look good when you play him because he is the most talented player on tour. To beat him I just had to hit and run and keep going and giving everything to get the ball back and it worked.

"He was very tired in the end, and I was too, but I'm glad I was able to push through in the end because I'm in my first ever final here and I'm looking forward to playing in front of this great crowd here in Grand Central Terminal once again."

Elshorbagy twice went behind to the four-time World Champion but used all of his pace and six-foot-plus reach to keep himself in some of the most punishing rallies seen so far during the tournament and it paid dividends for him when, after levelling the match at two-all, he took the sting from the left-hander's relentless attacking play and managed to find just enough in his locker to book his place in the final to face 2012 champion Nick Matthew.

Englishman Matthew ensured he remains in contention to claim a second title in New York with a dominant 3/0 win over high-flying Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez - who had stunned world No.6 Peter Barker and world No.2 Gregory Gaultier to reach the event's semi-finals for the first time.

"It was good fun out there tonight against Miguel," said Matthew. "Sometimes it felt like there were four of him on the court he's so fast.

"But thankfully I was able to use my experience - one of the only things I have more of than him - and it paid off for me."

While Matthew is celebrating the 63rd PSA World Tour final of his career, Elshorbagy is marking his 24th - but his sixth in the past five months! The final will be the duo's 11th meeting since 2008, with the Englishman boasting a 6/4 advantage. But the Egyptian was the winner in their most recent encounter in November's World Championship semi-finals.

Semi-finals:
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [4] Amr Shabana (EGY) 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7 (88m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (51m)