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24 Jun 2024

Momen Ends Losing ElShorbagy Run To Reach US Open Semis

12 Oct 2023

Egyptian veteran Tarek Momen ended a 12-match losing run against world No.4 Mohamed ElShorbagy to book his spot in the semi-finals of the US Open presented by TRUIST at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

Momen, a runner-up at the event in 2021, had won five of 30 matches against ElShorbagy coming into the match and the 35-year-old hadn't tasted victory against the Englishman since 2019.

However, world No.9 Momen put together a superb display of attacking squash to oust three-time champion ElShorbagy, despite squandering an 8-3 lead as he conceded the opening game. What followed was a back-and-forth encounter, with Momen fighting back from 2/1 down to secure a 10-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 victory.

"I'm very happy with today's performance," Momen said.

"I feel like it's been a long time coming. I had to push myself and I worked so hard in the summer. Everyone thinks I'm 35 and the curve is going down and I knew this wasn't the case. I needed to prove to myself that I can get back to where I was.

"At the beginning of the season, even though I wasn't getting the results, I could see I was playing better and I was fitter. Today was the day when I managed to convert."

Momen's semi-final opponent will be compatriot Ali Farag after the world No.1 got the better of Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez in an entertaining four-game battle.

Farag, a US Open champion in 2017 and 2019, is targeting a fifth Platinum title in a row and is one win away from a seventh successive Platinum final after beating 37-year-old Rodriguez by an 11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8 scoreline.

"He mixes it up really well, he's as fit as ever, but he's got more tactically smart as he's grown older, which is a nightmare for all of us," said Farag.

"I managed to put the ball away well at the beginning of the third which gave me confidence and momentum for the fourth. Today was the best squash I've played all week, I think."

US No.1 Amanda Sobhy will line up in the semi-finals of the women's event for the first time since 2016 after coming back from the brink of elimination to end the run of Egypt's teenage sensation Amina Orfi, winning 11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3.

Orfi - aged 16 years and three months - became the youngest player ever to appear in the quarter-finals of a Platinum event and showcased her considerable skills and explosive movement to move to within five points of victory, with a 6-1 lead in the fourth game.

But Sobhy, backed by a partisan crowd, raised her accuracy and managed to turn it around, before running away with the fifth game, resulting in jubilant celebrations.

"I think a few years ago there's no way I would have won a match like that," said Sobhy.

"I probably would have crumbled and confidence-wise I wouldn't have been able to fight and stick in with it. Since moving down to Florida I've put a really good training block in, I've been working with Wael [El Hindi], we have a good team and set up down there. I have something to fall back on, so even when I'm 6-1 down I'm okay."

Hania El Hammamy went up against Belgium's Nele Gilis in her quarter-final match, eventually seeing off the world No.8 by an 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 margin in a physically punishing contest.

"I'm over the moon to win against Nele, especially in three because she's so physical, we both are," said El Hammamy afterwards.

"We both went to the wire and it was a matter of who could execute their plan better and stick to it. I tried to remind myself of the things I needed to do to reduce the running a little bit and I'm glad I managed to do that."