11:26 am
16 Apr 2024

Diego Delivers Elshorbagy Blow To Make US Open History

15 Oct 2022

World No.4 Diego Elias overcame three-time champion Mohamed Elshorbagy at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia to become the first Peruvian to reach the final of the US Open.

It was a masterclass from the 25-year-old 2021 semi-finalist who nullified the in-form Elshorbagy to run out a 12-10, 11-7, 11-6 winner.

"I'm just very happy with my performance," said Elias. "We're now 5-5 in head to heads and it's always very tough. He became a very good friend of mine and it's always tough playing with him. I'm feeling great, I won yesterday and today 3/0 so I'm fresh. It's a bit late but I think I can still recover pretty well and be ready for tomorrow.

"I think the start of the tournament wasn't great. My first two rounds I got in trouble for no reason really. This tournament has a few rest days so it kind of felt like a new tournament from the quarters onwards and having [coaches] Jonathan [Power] and Wael [El Hindi] here with me is great and having their support is the best."

Elias will line up against two-time champion Ali Farag in the final after the Egyptian - who will return to world No.1 on Monday - dispatched Mohamed's younger brother Marwan Elshorbagy.

Farag has often struggled against Marwan and had lost eight of their 14 matches on the PSA World Tour coming into the contest. However, the 30-year-old bounced back in the fourth game shortly after seeing his 2/0 lead halved to seal his place in a third US Open final. He will look to continue his 100 per cent record following wins in 2017 and 2019.

"He's got all the weapons in his repertoire to hurt you with, so I'm really happy that I didn't panic after the third and I kept my focus," said Farag.

"Usually I hit more aggressive length in the back corners, I hit it with more bite, but today because I knew I don't want to tire myself out, it was a little bit more calculated. And that made the difference and that's why I didn't feel necessarily as tired at the end."

The women's title decider will be a familiar fixture, with world No.1 Nouran Gohar and world No.3 Nour El Sherbini locking horns for the 23rd time on the PSA World Tour - and the 11th time they will meet in a PSA final.

Gohar will appear in her third US Open final in a row following triumphs in 2019 and 2021. The 25-year-old overcame world No.6 Nour El Tayeb in a repeat of the 2019 final. Gohar required four games to see off her fellow Egyptian, winning 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5 in 45 minutes.

"You guys [the commentators] made me a bit angry [after they predicted El Tayeb would win]," said Gohar.

"If I'm world No.1 and you're not going to predict I'll win, when will you? Just kidding, but obviously it kind of relieved a bit of the pressure. I felt that if everybody thinks that I'm not good enough to win today, it's fine, I'm just going to prove them wrong. And I'm the kind of character who likes to challenge myself before challenging others."

El Sherbini will appear in her fourth US Open final after a convincing performance from the six-time World Champion saw her overcome New Zealand's world No.5 Joelle King by an 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 scoreline.

El Sherbini has lost to three separate opponents in her previous three finals - Nicol David, Camille Serme and Raneem El Welily - but comes into her match with Gohar with a 16-6 lead on their head-to-head record having won their two previous matches.

"I think if I lost the second it was going to be tough for me, so I'm happy to get the win," said El Sherbini.

"I just focus on every match, it's another final and the US Open is the only [major] title I haven't won, so I'm just looking forward to the final."