CIB Egyptian Open set for all-Egyptian semi-finals
World Champion Tarek Momen fought through the pain barrier to overcome Peru’s Diego Elias in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza to ensure that there will be all-Egyptian semi-finals in both the men’s and women’s CIB Egyptian Open PSA Platinum event.
Momen hasn’t found his best squash since the restart of the PSA World Tour, but the 32-year-old put in a gutsy performance to overturn that deficit and grind out an 7-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 victory which sees him extend his winning run over Elias to seven matches.
“I don’t think I enjoyed my experience today on court, but I am very proud with the way I fought,” Momen said afterwards.
“Throughout the whole match, I kept fighting, whether I am in pain or not it is irrelevant. It is all about what is happening on court and I just gave it my all. It was a very tough match and he is just so talented, so tough to beat, and so to get a win today is such a privilege in front of my home crowd.
“I need to check what I had for lunch to make sure I don’t have it again. That is the main issue, but I am okay. It was a bit painful but nothing to take away form the way I played. It was a hard-fought match and I cannot make any excuses, I won 3-2 against a very tough opponent and that is it.”
Hesham had dispatched defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad and India’s Saurav Ghosal earlier on in the event but came up against a resolute ElShorbagy who completed an 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-3 victory in 60 minutes.
“I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for this performance,” ElShorbagy said.
“Before this season I said to myself that if I have to play against my opponent and sometimes the referee, sometimes the decision won’t go my way and I have to accept that. Today, I felt I was getting on with the referees and not focusing on my game. I’m happy to win the match though and I’m pretty sure I’ll be sharper for tomorrow’s match.”
In the women’s event, World Champion Nour El Sherbini and World No.4 Nour El Tayeb will face off following respective wins over India’s Joshna Chinappa and Egypt’s Salma Hany.
World No.2 El Sherbini, competing on the court where she won her fourth World Championship crown 11 months ago, overcame India’s Joshna Chinappa 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 in 34 minutes to book a place in her sixth successive semi-final.
“They’re very hard conditions here and when you’re playing a very experienced player you have to be ready,” said El Sherbini.
“Joshna played really well in the last two games and it was very close until the end, but I’m really happy that I closed it out. People have different styles, of course I’m glad that I have many shots that I can play, I always try to use them and try to improve these shots as much as I can.”
El Sherbini’s match with El Tayeb will be a repeat of their clash at the same stage of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals two weeks ago.
El Tayeb ended a run of five straight defeats to El Sherbini when she overcame her compatriot in that match at the Mall of Arabia, and she will have a chance to repeat that feat after beating Hany 11-6, 11-5, 11-5.
“Salma beat me the last time she played, and at 2-0 up, I know she came back to beat Joelle [King] the other day, so it was very tough all the way,” El Tayeb said.
“I will figure out how to break Nour down later, but it is always exciting to play her in a semi-final or a final. She is the one player that you want to test yourself against because she is one of the best. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good and intense match.”
The semi-finals will take place on Friday at the Great Pyramid of Giza from 18:00 (GMT+2) onwards. Action will be shown live on SQUASHTV and multiple mainstream broadcast channels around the world.