12:33 am
14 Jun 2024

10th Time Lucky As Abouelghar Ends ElShorbagy Hoodoo At El Gouna

23 May 2021

After nine successive defeats since contesting the British Junior U17 Open final in 2010, world No.11 Mohamed Abouelghar finally got the better of fellow Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy as he eliminated the in-form world No.5 in the El Gouna International Open to reach the third round of the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the El Gouna Conference & Culture Center in the Egyptian Red Sea resort.

Elshorbagy has been in magnificent form of late after winning the CIB Black Ball Open in March, while he has often played his best squash in El Gouna and captured his first major title here back in 2018.

But Abouelghar twice fought back from a game down and then dominated proceedings in the decider to seal an 8-11, 11-3, 11-13, 11-5, 11-3 victory that will see him take on rising Egyptian star Mostafa Asal for a place in the quarter-finals.

"The last time I beat Marwan was in 2010, so that was 11 years ago," said Abouelghar.

"I had nothing to lose. He has been playing great and he's the man of the hour. Getting on court, I wanted to enjoy myself and take it one point at a time and see how the match unfolds. I'm happy with how I held my head throughout it.

"I've always challenged the top guys, but I was losing more than I was winning. The mental part played a big part in that, so I had to find the balance and work on that, rather than just attacking everything and I've been working on that."

Meanwhile, Marwan's older brother Mohamed Elshorbagy got his title challenge underway with victory over Scotland's Greg Lobban.

The top-seeded world No.2, who won this tournament in 2016 and is also a two-time runner-up, beat Scotland's world No.21 Lobban 11-7, 11-3, 12-10 to book his spot in the last 16, where he will take on Frenchman Baptiste Masotti.

"I love a physical battle," said Elshorbagy senior afterwards.

"Going a game ball down, going to a tie-break, I think these are all positive things. It all can get better from here, he played really well in the third, he is a tough player. I've watched him so many years and I know how he plays. He played the kind of squash that I needed to play against to get myself sharp for the rest of the tournament."

Over at the El Gouna Squash Complex, world No.7 Fares Dessouky defeated 2017 champion Gregory Gaultier and will take on England's Patrick Rooney, who beat Switzerland's Dimitri Steinmann to reach a Platinum third round for the first time. Welshman Joel Makin and Egypt's Youssef Ibrahim were the other men's winners on day three.

Nour El Sherbini, the women's world No.1, collected a comfortable 3/0 win over 19-year-old Farida Mohamed to ensure she will take on fellow Egyptian Yathreb Adel for a place in the last eight after Adel beat Hana Ramadan in a quick-fire 3/0 victory.

"Another up-and-coming player, she's playing so well and she's very tough," El Sherbini said.

"She's been giving some very tough matches for lots of the top players now. It's the first round and the first time to play her, it was difficult in the beginning but I'm really glad I got back to my game plan in the last two games. The first time playing an opponent you have never played before means the first game is always tense."

World No.4 Camille Serme was also in action on the glass court at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center as she achieved an entertaining 3/1 win against Belgium's Tinne Gilis.

Gilis battled back well from going a game down as she threw everything she could at Serme, but the Frenchwoman was able to use her experience to close the win out. Serme will face Canada's Hollie Naughton in the next round of the Platinum event, with Naughton getting the biggest win of her career against India's Joshna Chinappa over at the complex.

"Because of the COVID rules, we have trained together for the last two days," Serme said.

"We did play some rallies and I knew they were going to be long rallies and it would be very physical. She had her chance today and played really good squash. I had to work hard physically, mentally and tactically as well."

World No.7 Hania El Hammamy is also through after beating Wales' Emily Whitlock, and she will take on world No.33 Nada Abbas next. England's Alison Waters will take on compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry next after her win over Mariam Metwally, while Perry received a walkover after her second round opponent, Mayar Hany, withdrew from the tournament.