QF : Top seed ElShorbagy ends Ng run

A solid win for top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy to end the run of young Malaysian Eain Yow Ng

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Eain Yow Ng (Mas)   11-2, 11-7, 11-8 (41m)

Today was a tactical masterclass from Mohamed.

He knows how dangerous the Smiling Ninja is. He knows his strength, and also knew that he would struggle in the first game with his length, that he would need time to get used to the glasscourt, the light, the occasion, the wind, the slippery court, etc.

So he just took that time away completely, playing at a pace – like with Karim El Hammamy the night before – that he used to play at when he was 20 years old, a pace that he cannot sustain a whole match anymore – we saw what happened against Mostafa in the CIB World Finals a few months ago, just just out of steam, although at the time he was very tired from playing several events in a row, but still…

But it worked. Yow bless him poor mite just couldn’t get into the rallies at all in the first game. But all credit to him, he then pushed Mohamed to make a few errors, and although, the Egyptian was never in danger in the second game, the game was considerably longer (from 8m to 16m).

And the third, well, came very close to see Mohamed being forced into a 4th…

Up comfortably 7/1, I saw that Mohamed had a bit of a drop of energy – not exactly surprising with the pace he had forced up to then. He then erupted against the ref at 3/7 when the official had the audacity to stop the rally as Yow had made a beautiful dive, rending the court very dangerous.

“ARE YOU KIDDING ME, I WAS WINNING THE RALLY!!!” And he went on. That my friend is the mark when Mohamed is tired and slightly worried. He lost the rally then tinned the next one. But he managed to get it back as the court was dangerously humid and they had a make a few stoppages to clean it, got just enough rest to get the control of the court again, and it’s 11/8 match on his second attempt, another 16m game.

This was a masterclass in tactics, and show the respect that Mohamed has got for the talent of his little Bristol protégé….

Mohamed : The three players I practice with the most in Bristol are Joel Makin, my brother Marwan and Yow, but Yow is the one I practice with the most out of the three of them. Some days we practice twice a day together. He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s a younger brother to me. He’s probably the only one besides [Marwan] about whom I’d say that.

I care a lot for him and I think because I care a lot for him I wanted to be really aggressive and play really well and make it really tough, to show him how tough it is at the top, so he learns that it’s not easy to get there. Even though this is his first quarter final, I wanted to show him there’s a long way to go. I’m really happy for him to make it to his first quarter, he almost did it at the British Open, he did it here and there’s so much more to come from him. I know his attitude back in Bristol, he’s really hard working, really committed to the sport and he’s going to go places in this sport, I’m sure.

It’s been five years [since I played at the Pyramids.] Unfortunately, I’ve missed the last few years due to circumstances out of my hands, so I’m glad to be back here again. This is the most iconic tournament we have in Egypt. I watched Barada playing here when I was seven years old and I always dreamt to be on court like him.

A lot of the Egyptians now we watched him when we were kids. To be back here playing the semis, I’m really proud to come back and make it that far but we’re getting into the most important part of the tournament now, the later stages. That’s when most of the top guys raise their level and I expect that of myself in two days.

Eain Yow :  At the end, it’s just experience from him, and inexperience from me.

He made a point in the first game, he showed me how the match was going to be. It was unrealistic to keep playing at that pace, I knew that at some point, he would have to let go but the mental strain he put on me in the first game was very strong: he just stopped me from playing my game…