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21 Jun 2024

Home Favourite Mohamed ElShorbagy Sets Up Quarter-Final Clash With Defending Champion

15 Mar 2024

World No.7 Mohamed ElShorbagy defeated Scotland's Rory Stewart in straight games to bring the second day of round two action in the Optasia Championships in London to a close - joining three other English players in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour event at The Wimbledon Club.

The England No.1 wasted no time in reaching the last eight as he got the better of a quick-fire exchange with the Scot.

Stewart competed well in spells, but ElShorbagy was in a determined mood and responded with aggressive winners whenever the Scot threatened to get close on the scoreboard, no more so than in the third when a promising run of points by Stewart was cut short as the world No.7 closed out the match in 24 minutes.

ElShorbagy now faces Karim Abdel Gawad in a repeat of their epic 2019 final, looking for a second crown while the Egyptian has his eyes on a third.

"It's the first time we've played," said ElShorbagy after his second round match. "I took that match very seriously because I know how he can play. I've seen him play on the Commonwealth. He had a very good job against Patrick [Rooney], and he almost took James [Wilstrop] out as well so I saw the quality he can play with.

"It's a very different time in my career right now. I'm not a dominant world No.1 so it's about trying to work out the mental side of going from the best player in the world to one of the best players in the world. It's a very differrent mentality that you have to understand and I had to understand how to cope with it.

No.1 seed and 2022 champion Ali Farag moved through to the quarter-finals with a straight game win over Switzerland's Dimitri Steinmann that was anything but straightforward, with everyone at The Wimbledon Club wondering how Steinmann hadn't taken a game.

The first game was a fast-paced high-quality affair with neither player able to break free. Steinmann was the first to reach game ball, urging the crowd on, but Farag drew level, bringing about a tie-break in which both had game ball chances before Farag finally took the lead 16-14 after 24 minutes - longer than two of today's other matches.

There was no let up in intensity in the second as Steinmann continued to hunt down Farag's shots, but the world No.1 found enough to stay ahead and double his advantage 11-8.

That was far from the end of it though, as Steinmann continued to put in the work and with the crowd egging him on opened up an 7-0 lead. Farag started to work his way back in to the game, working Steinmann to all corners and reduced the deficit to 8-9.

The final few points were dramatic with Steinmann taking to the air on several occasions, once clattering himself painfully against the sidewall, but all to no avail as Farag finished the match 11-8 in 59 minutes.

"It was enjoyable," said Farag after the match. "There wasn't much in it. Thankfully I was able to sneak the first few otherwise I would've been in a bit of trouble.

"Just very pleased. The Wimbledon crowd is amazing. We don't often go to tournaments where it's a full house from the very first day so thank you."