7:15 am
17 Jun 2024

Elaraby Conquers Kennedy To Make Cairo Quarters

15 May 2024

Egypt's world No.10 Rowan Elaraby mounted a sensational comeback from two games down to upset England's world No.6 Georgina Kennedy at the seventh time of asking to reach the quarter-finals of the CIB PSA World Championships at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.

Kennedy applied plenty of pressure from the first game as she thwarted Elaraby whenever the 23-year-old tried to impose her game. Having taken the first 11-5, Kennedy continued her positive start as she dominated the second the same way she did in the first, driving the ball deep into the back corners for an 11-5 victory.

Elaraby came out firing on all cylinders in the third, getting on the ball early and finding her targets as she halved the deficit. And it was the same again in the fourth and fifth games as the Egyptian completed a shock 7-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7 victory which will see her take on No.2 seed Hania El Hammamy for a place in the semi-finals.

"I'm super thrilled," Elaraby said on court afterwards.

"This is my first win against Gina and I came into this match very nervous. I was 2/0 down and Engy [Kheirallah, Elaraby's coach] kept telling me I had nothing to lose, to do my best and not to leave the court until I've given it 100 per cent. I'm really happy to get through this match and beat Gina.

"This is a very special event and I want to keep pushing the top players and keep winning these matches. I'm really grateful for this win today and I'm looking forward to another match here on this amazing court. I'm lucky to be competing again."

In the men's event, former world No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy came back from a game down to get the better of younger brother Marwan ElShorbagy at the Palm Hills Club and book his spot in the last eight for the eighth time in a row.

Mohamed and Marwan made history when they became the first brothers to contest the final in Manchester in 2017, with Mohamed winning on that occasion, and the 33-year-old had won 16 of their 22 matches coming into today's match. The pair were competing in the country of their birth tonight, but both players were flying the English flag after switching national allegiance in recent years.

It was Marwan, three years Mohamed's junior, who settled first to take the opening game, but a tenacious Mohamed struck back to take the next three without reply, setting up a mouthwatering last eight battle with New Zealand's world No.2 Paul Coll.

"If you asked me two months ago if I wanted to play again, I would have told you that I wanted to stop, I wanted to retire," said ElShorbagy senior.

"After I beat Iker [Pajares] in El Gouna, I called Jonah [Barrington] that night, I needed someone who has known me since I was a kid. He really got me pumped up and I think everyone saw what I did against Youssef Soliman the day after.

"I went over the line there, but I wanted to be aggressive again and I used to be aggressive on court. At the European Teams I played Victor, I was aggressive but I wasn't over the line and that's 'The Beast' that I want to see of myself. In the past two or three years I've been more of an ambassador than 'The Beast' and I want to be the person who never cares about what people say on social media and who just wants to win."