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16 Jul 2024

Marwan Makes Windy City Semis After Forcing Farag Out

28 Feb 2022

World No.7 Marwan Elshorbagy despatched defending champion Ali Farag from the 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family after coming from behind to upset the world No.1 in their quarter-final clash in the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the University Club of Chicago.

Farag was on an 18-match unbeaten run in Chicago following his triumph at the 2020 Windy City Open as well as the 2018-19 and 2020-21 PSA World Championships held in the city, but his recent form against Elshorbagy has been mixed, with his underdog compatriot winning their last three matches.

After closely-contested first and second games which left the match poised at one-all, Farag surrendered three game balls in the third to hand Elshorbagy a crucial lead following a trio of uncharacteristic mistakes from the No.1 seed. It was a lead Elshorbagy wouldn't relinquish as he hit his targets at the front of the court to record a 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 victory.

"Just to get another win over Ali means a lot to me," said Marwan.

"Ali is a great player, he's the world No.1, he sets his standards very high and he makes everyone on the tour work very hard and he's improving our own games. I'm just very happy to get the win today. When I woke up this morning, I just had a good feeling today.

"It's always tough playing Ali, it's always tense, but I just tried to keep my composure, we were both arguing but I think it's part of the game, we're in such a small space, interference will always happen but Ali is such a great player and I respect him a lot. He's a two-time World Champion and has been world No.1 for many months, and I know he's losing it to Paul [Coll], but he'll be determined to get it back."

Elshorbagy was a runner-up at the Windy City Open in both 2017 and 2018 and will look to reach a third final when he takes on compatriot Youssef Ibrahim in the last four.

Ibrahim will line up in his first Platinum semi after beating Spain's Iker Pajares Bernabeu in straight games. The Spanish world No.17 came into the match following a stunning comeback from two games down against two-time winner Mohamed Elshorbagy in round three, but it was a more comfortable fixture against Pajares - who was appearing in his maiden Platinum quarter final - as he won 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 in 34 minutes.

"I remember in my first Platinum quarter-final I was way too excited," Ibrahim said afterwards.

"I prepared so well for this match and just wanted to get a good start. From then on, I stuck to my tactics. It wasn't his best day and Iker has a lot better to offer than this, but I think I held it together better. I didn't give him a chance to get into the match and I'm happy with that."

In the women's event, world No.1 Nour El Sherbini and world No.3 Hania El Hammamy will contest one of the semi-finals after they achieved respective wins against fellow Egyptians Rowan Elaraby and Salma Hany.

El Sherbini struggled to a tight 3/2 win over Belgium's Tinne Gilis in the previous round, but the reigning champion was firing on all cylinders today as she dispatched Elaraby by an 11-7, 11-3, 11-2 margin in just 29 minutes.

"I'm really happy with my performance, I think I really needed this win for my confidence after my last match," admitted El Sherbini.

"It's always a tough battle against Hania and I think she proved herself this season. She's been challenging all the players and I always like this kind of challenge, she beat me in Philadelphia and I won at Black Ball, so I'll do my best to be ready for this one again."

Meanwhile, El Hammamy also recorded a comfortable victory, with an 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 victory seeing her move into the semis of this tournament for the first time.

"I'm really happy to beat Salma in three, she's such a dangerous opponent and is very hard to play, very tricky," said El Hammamy.

"I'm very positive with the way I'm approaching each tournament, knowing that I have to beat one or two [of El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar] at least. I've been able to beat one of them in each tournament, and my next goal is to beat both of them in one tournament. I'm gaining confidence, and I hope to do it very soon."