ElShorbagy Edges Out Willstrop To Make Canary Wharf Quarters
15 Mar 2023
In a battle of two former world No.1s, Mohamed ElShorbagy had to take 39-year-old James Willstrop the full distance to claim his predicted place in the quarter-finals of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic, the PSA World Tour Gold event at East Wintergarden in London.
The match was one of two between two former world No.1s, following that between Paul Coll and Karim Abdel Gawad. The last match of the evening saw English compatriots ElShorbagy and Willstrop go head-to-head in an enticing clash, one that delighted the home crowd in London.
After a tight first game, which the current world No.3 claimed 12-10, Willstrop then saved a match ball in the second to extend the match into a decider. ElShorbagy was able to eek out the win with an 11-8 scoreline in the third, to move through to the last eight, where he will face another former world No.1 Ali Farag.
"It was obviously a great match for the crowd," said ElShorbagy later. "I mean, James was James, if you will give him any opening he is so accurate. We played a high quality match. Very good to see him... any of the past champions, and the current champions, of course.
"You know, when they play the way they play, the crowd will always get involved. I want to see them get involved. Like how they used to, a few years ago, obviously he is not playing as much. We haven't seen him on TV or playing in front of a big venue for a long time. So any squash fan would want to get behind him."