Egyptian World No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy claimed arguably the
greatest victory of his career to date, beating Gregory
Gaultier in a 97-minute battle to be crowned 2014 Cathay
Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open Squash
The Bristol-based man from Alexandria came through a tough,
gritty encounter to win only his second ever PSA World
Series tournament, after the 2013 Qatar Classic, inflicting
a fifth Hong Kong Open final defeat on the World No.1 in the
process in a result that left the talented star elated.
"It feels great to be the champion," said Elshorbagy.
"I had a really good summer of training and to see all the
hard work pay off in this way, to have won the Malaysian
Open last week and to back that up here in Hong Kong, has
been marvellous and I just can't describe how I am feeling
"It was my first final here and to win is something that I
will remember for the rest of my life and I would say that
this is the most important win of my career so far."
Elshorbagy raced into a two-game lead early in the match
before the Frenchman, who cruised to the final without
dropping a single game, levelled the scores at two-two to
force the match into a dramatic decider that the Egyptian
eventually edged, winning 11-9, 11-2, 4-11, 8-11, 11-4.
The deciding game had its share of drama when an accidental
collision, that saw Gaultier sustain an ankle injury, halted
the match forcing both players to re-focus and despite
losing the first two points after the resumption of play,
Elshorbagy managed to regain the ascension and withstand a
second spirited fight-back from Gaultier.
"When we play each other we always seem to raise our game
and after going 2-0 up Greg definitely improved for sure,"
"I could sense he was tiring at the start of the fifth game
and it was very hard to refocus after the injury break
especially as he came back very strong. I lost a little bit
of concentration and lost the first two points, but I had a
couple of lucky bounces which got me back into it and that
"It's the start of the season and to begin like this, by
beating the World No.1, is huge for me and my confidence.
I'm hungry for more titles and I want to keep on going."
Gregory Gaultier, the French World No.1, took a major step towards
claiming his first ever Hong Kong tournament title following a 3-0
win over Tarek Momen in the semi-finals of the 2014 Cathay Pacific
Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open earlier today.
The 31-year-old has won almost every title in squash during his
career but the Hong Kong Open has remained elusive, despite the
charismatic star reaching the final on four consecutive occasions
from 2007-2010, and he'll be hoping to make it fifth-time lucky when
he steps onto the glass show court for tomorrow's (Sunday August 31)
Gaultier has been in dominant form throughout the tournament so far,
progressing to the final without dropping a single game en route,
and he continued his impressive run with a commanding 11-7, 11-2,
11-3 win over Egyptian World No.12 Momen, to set up a final
encounter with World No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy.
"I don't think the score really reflected the match because it was
very intense and the first game especially was really fast as Tarek
was moving quickly which I wasn't expecting as he had a tough match
yesterday," said Gaultier.
"He doesn't give you cheap shots and he has beautiful soft hands and
he always makes you play in all four corners of the court. I like
playing him and I know when I beat him it normally means I am
playing quite well."
The 31-year-old star will now look to win his second consecutive PSA
World Series title after winning the prestigious Allam British Open
in May prior to the summer-break, and despite a shorter rest period
than usual, in which he also got married, he says he's feeling
"I was happy with how I played the match. I had the same intensity
in all three games and I'm very happy with my form especially as I
had a shorter summer break than most years.
"You can't guarantee you can win any matches at this level as we are
playing against very tough opponents every day so all I want to do
is play my best tomorrow and if I can do that, even if I lose, there
will be no regrets."
Elshorbagy too will be hoping to see his name appear on the trophy
for the first time in his career, after he secured his first ever
appearance in the Hong Kong Open final with a 3-1 victory over 2013
runner-up Borja Golan.
The 23-year-old from Alexandria, Egypt, is looking to follow up
victory in last week's Malaysian Open and will be aiming to repeat
the performance that saw him beat Gaultier in the El Gouna
International World Series event in April.
"I'm into my first final here and I'm very happy as this is a
prestigious tournament and as a player these are the matches you
want to be playing in," said Elshorbagy.
"Greg in the No.1 and in great form at the moment. He's the man to
beat right now so it's definitely going to be an interesting game
for sure but hopefully I can push myself for one more big
Tarek Momen (pictured below) will make his first ever appearance in
the semi-finals of a PSA World Series event after coming through a
thrilling 77-minute encounter against Simon Rösner in the 2014
Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open.
The Egyptian World No.12 and his German opponent, ranked just one
place above him on the PSA World Tour ladder, delighted the crowd in
a thrilling battle of attrition that saw both players produce some
of their best squash with a combination of power, guile and sheer
brilliance that had the capacity audience on the edge of their
With little to separate the players, Momen twice came from behind to
force the match into a decider before eventually prevailing 7-11,
11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 to book a place in the final four where he
will face World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and he says all the pressure
will be on the French number one seed.
"It was a huge battle against Simon today," said Momen.
"I didn't think about being in the quarter-finals with the prospect
of making my first World Series semi-finals - I just wanted to take
it point-by-point and the level of play from both of us just kept
getting better and better.
"The fifth especially game was just crazy but I really enjoyed it,
it was a nice match to play in and I'm really happy to win.
"I'm really excited about being in the semi-finals now. I've been on
tour for eight years and even at this point to experience something
new like that is very exciting.
"Greg is the number one and the one positive to take from that is
that there is no pressure on me. We played here in the
quarter-finals last year and I played well then and I just want to
enjoy myself on court, enjoy being in the semi-final and play my
The second semi-final will see number two seed Mohamed Elshorbagy
continue on course to reach his first Hong Kong Open final, after
getting past tricky opponent Peter Barker in their quarter-final,
although the Egyptian World No.3 was forced to work hard for the
Barker, the World No.8, took the first game 11-9 and was proving a
stubborn opponent before Elshorbagy lifted to squeeze a 3-1 win
which earns him a place in the final eliminator against Spanish star
Borja Golan, the 2013 Hong Kong Open runner-up, who saw off the
challenge of Swiss player Nicolas Mueller 3-0.
Following two days of upsets and shock defeats, balance was restored
during the second round of the 2014 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai
Financial Hong Kong Squash Open as all six remaining seeds booked
their places in Friday's quarter-finals.
World No.1 and tournament favourite Gregory Gaultier led the charge
as he continued his dominant form, easily dispatching Egyptian
talent Fares Dessouki 3-0, while number two seed Mohamed Elshorbagy
was equally as comprehensive as he saw off Guernsey's Chris Simpson
3-0 in a dominant performance.
World No.7 and 2013 Hong Kong Open runner-up Borja Golan (pictured
below) survived a tough and testing encounter against Mohamed
Abouelghar, the 20-year-old Egyptian World No.42, eventually coming
through an 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-4 winner.
It was Golan's first match of the tournament following first round
opponent Lauren Jans Anjema's withdrawal due to injury but he showed
no signs of rustiness as he recored a second victory over the
talented Abouelghar inside a week.
"I played against Mohamed last week (in the Malaysian Open) and beat
him 3-1 in a really close match and I knew he would be tough again
today so I'm very happy to have won," said the 31-year-old Spanish
"It was my first match of the tournament and I was maybe guilty of
losing my concentration at times but all credit to him as he was
playing really well. He gave away a few mistakes in the end and I
think experience was important at that stage.
"It's always better to have a match in the bag because you move with
more confidence but perhaps if I had played yesterday I would have
lost so I just focused on starting well and playing well today.
"I'm in the quarter-finals now and I'm going to enjoy the match and
try my best to make the semis."
Egyptian World No.12 Tarek Momen backed up his impressive first
round victory over 2011 Hong Kong Open champion and number three
seed James Willstrop with a solid performance against qualifier
Shaun Le Roux.
The powerful South African made it difficult for the deceptive Momen,
forcing the 27-year-old to work for every point and forcing two
games into tie-break situations but despite dropping the second game
it was Momen who triumphed 12-10, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6.
Elsewhere German Simon Rösner ended the run of surprise package
Alfredo Avila, the young Mexican who knocked out Marwan Elshorbagy
in round one, while English pairing Daryl Selby and Peter Barker
join Nicolas Mueller in the last eight, after the Swiss national
champion came through an epic 69-minute thriller against Gregoire
Marche, coming from 2-0 down to mount a dramatic comeback and steal
an 8-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8 victory.
French World No.28 Gregoire Marche stole the headlines during a
second day of giant-killing at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai
Financial Hong Kong Squash Open as he moved into the second round
following a 3-1 win over former World No.1 Karim Darwish.
Marche, who's career high ranking is World No.27, pulled off
arguably the biggest victory of his career against the tournament
number six seed in what was a dynamic performance, displaying a
dazzling array of shot making abilities interspersed with some
It is a victory that came as a delight to the the 24-year-old from
Aix-En-Provence who has been nursing a calf-injury throughout the
summer, but he says the time away from court may have played a key
role in his victory.
"I am very happy with that win especially considering I had an
injury in my calf just two weeks ago," said Marche.
"I have worked hard to recover and I haven't played for about two
months so to have this as my first match of the season and win is
"At the end of last season I had wins against Simon Rösner (World
No.11) and LJ Anjema (World No.16) so I knew I could win big matches
but I think that is the biggest win of my career and I'm really
looking forward to the next match now."
While Darwish fell at the first hurdle there were no difficulties
for the other seeds in action on day two, as Borja Golan, Peter
Barker and Mohamed Elshorbagy eased through in comfortable fashion.
Golan, the Spanish World No.7, didn't need to step on court to book
his place in the second round as Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema was
forced to withdraw through injury while England's Barker, World
No.8, and Egypt's Elshorbagy, World No.3, looked untroubled as they
got past their compatriots Adrian Waller and Karim Abdel Gawad,
Indian World No.16 Saurav Ghosal, who will be gunning for glory in
September's Asian Games, impressed in his first round match-up with
Henrik Mustonen of Finland, taking just 28-minutes to seal a 3-0 win
while Chris Simpson dashed the hopes of local wildcard Tsz Fung Yip
to end all home representation in the event.
Greg Marche v Karim Darwish
Round Top Half
Momen Leads Giant Killing Act At
Hong Kong Open
The form book was turned upside down during the opening day of
action at the 2014 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong
Squash Open as qualifiers Fares Dessouki, Zahed Mohamed, Shaun Le
Roux and Alfredo Avila joined Egyptian Tarek Momen by dispatching
higher ranked opponents in their first round encounters.
The biggest shock of the day saw World No.6 and No.3 seed James
Willstrop, the 31-year-old former World No.1 and 2011 Hong Kong Open
champion, bow out in the opening round of a PSA World Tour event for
the first time since the 2006 World Championship at the hands of
26-year-old Egyptian Momen.
Willstrop, a 17-time PSA World Tour event winner, showed signs that
he may still be struggling with a hip problem which will be operated
on in September, but Momen took no chances against the dangerous
Englishman, completing an impressive 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 victory.
"I'm really pleased that I got through that match and beating James
in a first round match is quite something," said Momen.
"I think he was struggling with his movement from the start of the
match and hopefully it isn't anything too serious and he has a
"Hopefully I can keep improving my game in the next round. I think I
played well today and all I wish for is to build upon this and keep
the momentum going."
The World No.12 took just over 40-minutes to see off the 2010 and
2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist and will take on Shaun Le
Roux in the second round, after the South African qualifier recorded
an upset of his own by taking out World No.30 Olli Tuominen 3-1.
Fresh from securing his place in the main draw at the expense of
World No.32 Tom Richards in qualifying, 23-year-old World No.52
Alfredo Avila secured one of the biggest wins of his career when he
beat Egyptian World No.17 Marwan Elshorbagy 3-2.
In a tough physical encounter, Mexican Avila continued his recent
run of form to impress the crowd, coming through 6-11, 11-8, 11-9,
9-11, 11-8 to reach the second round of a World Series event for the
first time in his career where he will face German champion Simon
"I am so happy to have won that match, it is one of the biggest wins
of my career," said Avila.
"This is the first time I have got this far in a World Series event
and I'm delighted.
"Getting to the second round is amazing for me and I'm very excited.
I know it will be a tough match but I'm playing well and i just want
to enjoy it."
Elseswhere 19-year-old Dessouki, who impressed by reaching the
quarter-final stage of the prestigious Allam British Open in May,
out battled World No.19 Mathieu Castagnet in an attritional affair
while World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, World No.10 Daryl Selby and
Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid came through their first round encounters
Tarek Momen v James Willstrop
Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2014 -
Round 1, Day 2, Schedule:
 Borja Golan (ESP) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Joe Lee (ENG) v [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [WC] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
Avila Takes Out Top Seed Richards
In Hong Kong Qualification
Mexican World No.52 Alfredo Avila stunned number one seed and World
No.32 Tom Richards in the final round of qualification for the
Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2014
The 23-year-old recorded an impressive 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 15-13
victory over Richards to progress to the main daw of a PSA World
Series event for the first time in 2014.
Avila will now face Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy on the opening day of
main draw action on Tuesday 26.
Elsewhere in qualification, Egyptian Fares Dessouki, who impressed
the crowds at the Allam British Open in May with a stellar
performance against eventual runner-up Nick Matthew, ensured his
presence in the main draw with a 3-1 win over England's Eddie
There was disappointment for local hope Leo Au as his hopes of
reaching the main draw were dashed at the hands of Shaun Le Roux,
going to 3-1 to the South African, while Rex Hendrick impressed with
a 3-2 victory over the more fancied Omar Abdel Aziz.
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series will resume
in the Asian city of Hong Kong on August 26, when World No.1 Gregory
Gaultier will look to end the summer break in style by claiming his
first ever Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash
The Frenchman, a four-time runner-up in the Hong Kong Open, entered
the off-season in dramatic style by beating England's World No.2
Nick Matthew in the 2014 Allam British Open final, and he'll be
hoping to keep up the form that has seen him hold exclusive rights
on the No.1 ranking since April.
Having won his first ever Hong Kong Open title in 2013, Matthew will
be a notable absentee this year, but Gaultier will face stiff
competition from a world class field including two-time World
Champion Ramy Ashour and two-time World Junior Champion Mohamed
But the recently married star from Aix-en-Provence is relishing the
prospect of returning to one of his favourite PSA World Series
"I have just recently come back from my honeymoon so I'm back
training hard and preparing for the season," said Gaultier.
"With a long break it's never easy to play well in the first event,
but i'll be looking at getting some good matches in my legs and to
find my marks.
"Hong Kong is early this year and, as with every event, I will look
forward to it. I have lots of motivation to do well there - I have
never won it so maybe this year can be the one for me.
"I always love coming to Hong Kong. After all the years playing
there I have lots of friends and the event is always very well
organised and they really make the players feel comfortable.
"I have never missed the Hong Kong Open and won't miss it until the
end of my career."
Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open - Main
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v  Daryl Selby (ENG)
 Borja Golan (ESP) v [Qualifier]
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [Qualifier]
Tarek Momen (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
Simon Rösner (GER) v [WC] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
The 2014 Hong Kong Open will see 56 of the world's finest players
converge on Hong Kong from August 24 - August 31 to contest what is
the most prestigious PSA World Tour event in Asia and the longest
running tournament on the PSA World Series calendar.