10:27 pm
24 Jun 2024

Mohamed ElShorbagy Survives Sibling Struggle To Make Hong Kong Semis

1 Dec 2023

Mohamed ElShorbagy battled through the pain barrier to avenge his Singapore Open defeat to his brother Marwan ElShorbagy to reach the semi-finals of the TTI Milwaukee Hong Kong Open.

After taking a 2/1 lead, four-time Hong Kong Open champion Mohamed sustained a hip injury at the end of the fourth game, which led to a break in play as treatment from the physio was required.

Mohamed returned to court as Marwan levelled the match to force it into a decider, with the England No.1 limited with his movement on court for the remainder of the match. But Mohamed produced a monumental effort to seal his place in the last four, winning 11-9 in the fifth.

"I'm really happy to win. It's always tough to play against your brother, it was very tense out there today," he said.

"I think he played better today than he did in Singapore, but I was very much up for it at the same time. It was a good match, happy to win and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"I was thinking I've been through stuff like that before in my career. I thought I have to man up and find a way. I don't know what it is yet [the injury], but I've been through stuff like that before in my career and I didn't see why I couldn't find a way in the fifth game.

"I'm happy to win, it definitely wasn't intentional - it was just an accident. He actually told the referee to give me more time. We give everything against each other just like if we were playing against anyone else."

ElShorbagy faces a familiar face in the Cultural Plaza semis in the shape of New Zealand No.1 Paul Coll, who upset world No.2 Diego Elias 3/0.

Coll, who defeated Elias on his way to securing the US Open title in October, was in control throughout the match against the Peruvian, winning 11-8, 11-7, 11-4 in 40 minutes.

Defending men's champion Mostafa Asal bagged his first appearance in a Platinum-level semi this season after defeating Tarek Momen, who retired in the early stages of the second game due to illness.

The unrelenting pressure from Asal forced a number of mistakes from Momen's racket in the opening game, which Asal won 11-5, then the world No.3 raced to a 4-0 lead in the second before Momen signalled he was no longer able to continue.

"I wish Tarek [Momen] a speedy recovery. I looked at his face before the match and it seemed that he wasn't well. I told him before we shook hands that there seems to be something wrong and I wish him a speedy recovery," he said.

"I wanted it to be an amazing match - I know there's some past history but I'm coming back, lots of respect for the players and Tarek is one of the great Egyptians and at 35 he's still playing at the best level."

Asal now takes on world No.1 Ali Farag, who notched a resounding victory over fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham.

Farag dominated the middle of the court for the majority of the match, and saved four game balls in the second to deny Hesham the opportunity to restore parity as the World Champion won 11-3, 12-10, 11-7 in 35 minutes.

In the women's draw, Amanda Sobhy secured her first appearance in a Hong Kong Open semi in seven years after coming out on top in an entertaining five-game battle with Tinne Gilis.

Sobhy reached the final back in 2016 when she lost out to Nicol David, and the 30-year-old held off a strong comeback from Gilis to progress to the last four.

Trailing 2/1, Gilis clinched the fourth and looked on course to pull off a terrific fightback when the Belgian had two match balls, only for Sobhy to save both as the US No.1 converted her match ball opportunity to advance.

"It was a bit of a seesaw battle," Sobhy said post-match. "It was very unforgiving at the front and I was doing a lot of court sprints. She's crept into the top ten, highest world ranking and her biggest patch of play for her for good reason.

"We haven't played in a while, we're good friends off court and I knew it was going to be a battle. Maybe it wasn't as consistent on my end but I'm proud of myself of finding a way through at 10-8 down in the fifth even though I was 7-2 up and I shouldn't have let it get so close!

"I'm happy to compete in a battle like that and I'm happy to be in the semi finals."

Sobhy will face off against world No.1 Nour El Sherbini, who came through a tricky encounter with Satomi Watanabe.

After El Sherbini took the first two games, Japan No.1 Watanabe grew in confidence as her accuracy rocked the tournament's top seed as she went on to halve the deficit. But El Sherbini stepped up when she needed it most in the fourth to diffuse Watanabe's hopes of upsetting the seven-time World Champion.

Elsewhere, Nele Gilis is into her second Platinum semi final in her career following a 3/1 victory over Sivasangari Subramaniam.

The Belgian imposed her attacking squash on Subramaniam, who was victorious at the Hong Kong Football Club Open last week, as she went two games up before the Malaysian saved two match balls and converted game ball in the subsequent tiebreak.

With the new ball in play in the fourth, Gilis was able to keep Subramaniam at bay with a slender lead before sealing the match with an 11-9 triumph.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic to make the semi-finals. I think it's my second time in a Platinum semi final and I'm very proud of the way I fought," she said.

"Siva is such a dangerous opponent and I'm just glad to have found a way to win."

Gilis' semi-final opponent will be the current champion Hania El Hammamy, who downed her fellow Egyptian Rowan Elaraby 3/1.