10:08 am
16 Jul 2024

ElShorbagy Seals Last Eight Berth at PSA World Championships

19 Jul 2021

World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy has booked his place in the quarter-finals of the 2020-21 PSA World Championships after overcoming Welshman Joel Makin in the picturesque Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago.

ElShorbagy - who will be guaranteed to overthrow rival Ali Farag as the world No.1 next month if he reaches the final this week in Chicago - had won four of his six previous matches against Makin on the PSA World Tour. Whilst he won their most recent meeting at the El Gouna International in May, the Welshman got the better of the Egyptian in five games at the CIB Black Ball Open in March.

The pair know each other's games well having practiced together numerous times in Elshorbagy's home town of Bristol in England - and this time around the win went to the man from Egypt as he closed out an 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 victory in 51 minutes to reach the last eight.

"When I was warming up before the match, I got tagged on Twitter that Fares [Dessouky] said he wanted to play me to get his revenge on me," said ElShorbagy.

"Thanks for that, Fares, I'm trying to focus on my match right now! That's the same attitude I would have had if I was him, so I completely respect that mentality.

"We've known each other since we were kids, we both come from Alexandria. I'm a few years older, but I have so much respect for him. When I was away I watched him play, I saw him get those two wins against Ali, win Black Ball and losing the other final, so he has been consistent and has been playing very well."

Black Ball Open winner Fares Dessouky will now look to gain revenge over ElShorbagy following the latter's win in their El Gouna semi-final meeting. Dessouky, the world No.7, defeated fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar in four games.

2019-20 World Championship runner-up Paul Coll is also through to the quarter-finals following his win over India's Saurav Ghosal, and he will take on 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the semi-finals after Gawad came from behind to beat Frenchman Baptiste Masotti.

"I was happy with my basic game today," said Coll.

"My length was great and I was very tight down the backhand. I feel like I am seeing it well here and I am enjoying my squash. It is going to be tough whoever I play next, we are down to the last eight of the World Championships, so I just need to focus every day now."

Round three also drew to a close in the women's event as world No.2 Nouran Gohar kept up her assault on the title - and the world No.1 spot - with a 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 victory over Tesni Evans of Wales.

Gohar will be guaranteed to overtake Nour El Sherbini as the women's world No.1 if she matches or beats El Sherbini's result at this tournament - or if El Sherbini fails to make the final. The 23-year-old will play New Zealand's Joelle King in the next round. Gohar beat the Kiwi en-route to winning the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in Cairo last month.

"We don't always click, you just have to find ways to win and I am glad that I regrouped," said Gohar.

"Joelle is another top 10 player. I am looking forward to it and we will see how it goes. I won't say what I am going to do, it's my secret."

French world No.4 Camille Serme and Egypt's world No.9 Salma Hany will also compete in the quarter-finals following respective wins over USA No.2 Olivia Clyne and two-time World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby.

"I felt Olivia was very solid today, I felt like she played really well, maybe even better than me," Serme said.

"I need to be more accurate with my length, it is either too long or too short. Salma is coming through strongly and is one of the in-form players, so obviously it will be a battle. As with a lot of the Egyptians, she is very tricky and skilful."