Englishman Nick Matthew produced a squash masterclass to see off World
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-0 to win the final of the 2015 Windy City Open
presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in
Chicago earlier today.
The victory sees Matthew become the oldest ever winner of a PSA World
Series event and also sees him collect his 32nd career title - and first
PSA World Series trophy since winning the 2013 Hong Kong Open.
The Sheffield-based man played with precision and determination from the
opening point as he dominated proceedings, absorbing everything the
powerful Egyptian threw at him to secure the title 11-7, 11-2, 11-7 in
62-minutes, with the opening game alone taking 27-minutes.
"You always go into a match with a game plan but it's another thing
being able to execute it against someone like Mohamed because he plays
at such a fast pace and takes away your thinking time," said Matthew.
"But I felt I played well when under pressure today. I was patent and
picked my times to attack well and I'm just delighted to get another
World Series win."
In an display of ultimate precision the three-time World Champion made
just two errors throughout the entire match as he kept up a relentless
pace to win his second tournament inside a month, adding to the CASE
Swedish Open he collected in February.
"I'm really enjoying my squash at the minute," he said. "I guess I'm in
the twilight of my career - the end is closer than the beginning - but I
managed to take my change tonight against someone who has been in
incredible form recently.
"I'm sure we're going to have a few more battles to come before I retire
and hopefully I can come back here next year to defend the title."
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy (red top, right) and World No.3 Nick Matthew
will meet in a second consecutive PSA World Series tournament
title-decider after reaching the final of the 2015 Windy City Open
presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.
The pairing contested January's J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions final
in New York, where Elshorbagy prevailed a 3-2 victor, but with Matthew
coming off the back of success in February's CASE Swedish Open and an
impressive victory over World No.2 Gregory Gaultier to reach the final,
the showdown looks set to cause a storm in the Windy City.
Elshorbagy is aiming to collect a fourth consecutive PSA World Series
title and booked his bert in the decider with victory over his younger
brother, World No.14 Marwan Elshorbagy.
"It was tough mentally tonight to stay fully focused but I knew I had to
do a professional job and get to the final as fresh as I possibly
could," said Elshorbagy.
"I had to play well. My brother proved that he didn't get to this stage
by luck and I'm looking forward to having him in my corner tomorrow for
the final because he a great source of support for me.
"It's great to be in another major final. I've had a good year so far
and I'm looking forward to competing for another title tomorrow."
Matthew was in commanding form as he beat long time adversary Gaultier,
the man whom he beat to World Championship glory in 2011 and 2013, in a
gripping encounter at the prestigious University Club of Chicago,
winning 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 in 79-minutes.
"Greg seemed to get better as the games went on today and I was hanging
on in there at points but fortunately I managed to sneak it," said
"It was a tough match. He's the defending champion and he's been in
great form this week so I'm just happy to have got through and off court
in four games."
Brothers To Face-off In Windy City Open Semis
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy (blue top), the 24-year-old Bristol-Based
Egyptian from Alexandria, will take on younger brother Marwan, the
21-year-old World No.14, for a place in the final of the 2015 Windy City
Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance
Company in Chicago tomorrow.
The brothers have met three times on the PSA World Tour, with Mohamed
undefeated so far, but with Marwan making his debut appearance in the
semi-finals of a PSA World Series event their showdown in the
prestigious University Club of Chicago will be the biggest of their
careers so far.
After winning January's J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions in January,
his third World Series title in six months, elder brother Mohamed will
be gunning for another trophy as he aims to continue his streak of
dominance on the PSA World Tour while Marwan will be hoping to secure a
maiden appearance in the final of one of the sport’s biggest
"I'm in the semi-final of a World Series event and I'm only
21-years-old, I'm very, very happy," said Marwan in the wake of his 3-2
victory over Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarter-finals.
"Before I came out here for this tournament I was relaxing with some of
my friends back home in Bristol and they said that I have nothing to
lose and I just gave it my best and I'm so happy to be in the
semi-finals - I'm speechless.
"Mohamed and I have never played each other in such a big match before
so to compete against each other on this stage will be an amazing
Mohamed booked his place in the final with an impressive 3-0 win over
Tarek Momen, the World No.7, producing his best performance of the week
so far after narrowly avoiding exits in both the first and second
"I'm so happy to have won three-nil today because the second and third
games could really have gone either way," he said.
"I had to play so well to beat Tarek and I'm happy to get through
especially because I now get to play my brother in the semi-final of a
world series event for the first time.
"Hopefully that will become something that happens a lot in the future
but one Elshorbagy is guaranteed to be in the final and it is great for
our family to have us booth reach this stage."
The second semi-final will see long-time arch rivals Nick Matthew and
Gregory Gaultier go face-to-face for the 32nd time in their PSA World
Tour careers, with the Frenchman hoping he can put a halt to Matthew's
recent two match winning streak over him.
No.3 Nick Matthew and Peter Barker, the World No.8, emerged triumphant
during their second round encounters with fellow Englishmen Daryl Selby
and James Willstrop during a 'Battle of Brits' at the 2015 Windy City
Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance
Company in Chicago.
Essex-based Barker ensured his place in the quarter-finals with a
hard-fought 3-2 victory over former World No.1 Willstrop in what was a
brutally physical 81-minute back-and-forth battle.
Having got off to a superb start by winning the opening game courtesy of
some perfectly placed winners, Barker then found himself struggling to
shake off Willstrop as the 6'4" man continued his comeback following a
five month injury lay-off with a spirited performance.
But in the deciding game the relentless high intensity and pace began to
take its toll on Willstrop and despite saving one match ball he couldn’t
prevent Barker from completing an 11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6 win –
only his second ever PSA World Tour victor over the man from Yorkshire.
“James has been out of action for a while and he’s getting better and
better with each week and even though it was a bit scrappy at times
today, I’ll take that win with both hands,” said Barker.
“Although on paper I’m the higher seed, James is a former World No.1 so
it certainly wasn’t going to be an easy match and with him coming back I
tried to make it very physical out there.
“I’ve had more match practice in the last few months than he has and I
think that ultimately made the difference in the end today.”
Barker will now face Willstrop's long-time domestic rival Matthew, the
three-time World Champion from Sheffield, in the last eight after he put
in an assured performance against World No.17 Selby.
Matthew started slowly but managed to up his levels and use his physical
attributes to keep himself in a series of punishing rallies and his
trademark determination paid dividends as he sealed an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9
"I think tactically we were both up and down and made errors at
important times and I was lucky to escape in three games," said Matthew.
"I was disappointed that I didn't make the most of early advantages in
the games today so there's definitely a few things to work on ahead of
the quarters tomorrow."
There were also wins for Egyptian Omar Mosaad and French World No.2
Gregory Gaultier as the second round came to a close at the prestigious
setting inside the University Club of Chicago.
2nd Round Top Half
Sweep For Egyptians In Chicago
23-year-old Karim Abdel Gawad headlined a clean sweep of victories for
Egyptians during the first day of second round action at the 2015 Windy
City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance
Company in Chicago today with a surprise 3-2 victory over World No.6
Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
The World No.20, who had failed to make it past the first round in four
of his last five PSA World Series event appearances, produced his best
display in recent month, combining delicate touch with deception and
length, to trouble the highflying Colombian from the outset in what was
a nail-biting matchup.
In a 78-minute encounter, Gawad, who came into the event fresh from
winning the 2015 Pittsburgh Open, played with patience and composure
during some ferocious rallies before eventually completing a well-earned
11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 win.
"Miguel is one of the best players on the tour and it was a tough match
against him today," said Gawad.
"I haven't been playing at my best for a while and my focus today was to
change that and try and make sure I put in a good performance and I am
very, very happy to have managed to get a win.
"In the fifth game I had to use all my concentration to make sure I kept
my level up and I'm happy with how I managed to do that."
Gawad will face fellow Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy in the quarter-finals
after the 21-year-old Bristol-based man from Alexandria also earned a
surprise berth in the last eight after his opponent, four-time World
Champions Amr Shabana, retirement prematurely.
Elshorbagy will be making his first ever appearance in the quarter-final
stage of a PSA World Series event and is joined there by his elder
brother, and World No.1, Mohamed Elshorbagy.
After narrowly avoiding a first round exit at the hands of Fares
Dessouki in a gripping opening encounter, 25-year-old Mohamed hung on
once again, drawing on all his reserves to see off a spirited challenge
from Indian Saurav Ghosal - winning 3-2.
"All credit to Saurav for an amazing performance today because h put me
under a lot of pressure from the start," said Elshorbagy.
"I'm not feeling at my best physically but I'm going to fight for every
point in every match and I'm really glad to have won and still be in
World No.7 Tarek Momen completed a clean sweep for Egypt with a 3-1 win
over Swiss champion Nicolas Mueller.
Matthew Leads English
Quartet Into Round Two In Chicago
World Champion Nick Matthew led a four strong contingent of English
players into the second round of the 2015 Windy City Open presented by
Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in Chicago
earlier today with an accomplished 3-0 win over Spaniard Borja Golan.
Matthew took 62-minutes to see off a spirited challenge from the Spanish
champion, eventually prevailing 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 in a scoreline that
didn't do justice to the World No.9's performance, and he was joined in
the second round by fellow Yorkshire-man James Willstrop and Essex-duo
Peter Barker and Daryl Selby.
Adopting his typically attritional style fro the outset, Sheffield-based
Matthew was matched point for point by Golan in the early exchanges,
with little separating them as he took the opening game 11-9 and despite
some spirited play from Golan that tested Matthew in all four corners of
the court, the 32-year-old couldn't do enough to halt the Englishman's
charge as he completed a well-earned straight-games victory.
"That was the hardest first round match I could have had," said Matthew
in the wake of the victory.
"Borja is the World No.9 so on paper it was the hardest draw possible
and I’ve played him in World Series finals and semi-finals before so to
have him in the first round was tough.
"I knew I had to be on my game today and while I was a little up and
down in the first game I felt I played well and I was happy to get off
with a 3-0 win."
Matthew's long-time national rival Willstrop began his campaign with a
3-1 win over Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar. Willstrop had been absent
from the tour for five months prior to making his competitive return
during February's Swedish Open and he continued to show steady
progression against World No.38 Salazar.
Earlier in the day Barker, the World No.8 from Essex, completed an
impressive win over dangerous South African Stephen Coppinger while
Selby, the World No.14, proved too good for wildcard Chris Hanson.
Elsewhere there were victories for Alister Walker, Cameron Pilley and
Gregory Gaultier while 6'4" Egyptian Omar Mosaad won a battle of the
colossus' as he got the better of 6'3" German Simon Rösner in a
physically bruising match-up.
Round Top Half
Narrowly Avoids First Round Exit In Chicago
Egyptian World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy (right in white top) came within
a whisker of suffering a shock first round exit during the opening day
of action at the 2015 Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners
and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in Chicago earlier today.
Elshorbagy has been in phenomenal form since August 2014, winning three
World Series events and reaching the World Championship final, but
20-year-old compatriot Fares Dessouki, the World No.23, tore up the form
book in a compelling battle of attrition as he took the
tournament-favourite to the brink - coming within one point of what
would have been a famous victory.
But after failing to capitalise on a match-point opportunity, Dessouki
allowed 24-time-finalist Elshorbagy back in and he made no mistakes,
eventually sealing an 11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11 victory after 101
"Being World No.1 one is about being able to win when you are not at
your best and that's what I was able to do today," said Elshorbagy.
"It was a tough match today but I'm just really happy to be coming back
for another day."
The duo both started the match strongly with Dessouki in particular
racing out of the blocks and looking composed as he opened up a 7-4
lead. Elshorbagy showed why he is atop the world rankings however as he
responded to take the opening game 11-9 and set the scene for what
promised to be an enthralling battle.
The younger man from Alexandria upped his level in the second and
brought the scores even and he continued to attack during the third,
holding his nerve during some tense exchanges, mixing up his approach
with great effect to take the lead for the first time.
But it was short-lived as Elshorbagy restored parity after just edging
High drama accompanied almost every shot in the deciding game, with both
players fighting tooth and nail for the upper hand and when he survived
match ball to gain one of his own, Dessouki looked on the brink of
glory. But a simple error into the tin allowed Elshorbagy back in to
seal the match.
"I've known Fares for a long time, since we came through the same club,
and he's already competing with the top players and he's only 20," added
"It was experience that made the difference at the end but it's only a
matter of time until he's competing in the finals of major events."
Earlier in the day four-time World Champion Amr Shabana, the 35-year-old
Egyptian who paved the way for the current plethora of top class
Egyptian stars, moved into the second round with an assured victory over
Shabana never looked troubled as he saw off the Englishman 3-0 to set up
a second round match-up with World No.14 Marwan Elshorbagy, the younger
brother of World No.1 Mohamed.
There was further joy for Egyptian squash with victories for World No.7
Tarek Momen and World No.20 Karim Abdel Gawad while Indian Saurav
Ghosal, Swiss star Nicolas Mueller and Colombian live-wire Miguel Angel
Rodriguez rounded out the top half of action with victories.
Scottish duo Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban, the World No.36 and No.53
respectively, moved into the first round of the Windy City Open
presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
after securing impressive victories during a day of upsets at the
University Club of Chicago.
Clyne, the highest ranked Scottish player on the world tour, ensured his
place in the main draw with a huge upset victory over number one seed
Adrian Waller. The 28-year-old took out the Englishman in a tightly
fought 3-2 encounter to set up a first round match-up with Egyptian
World No.7 Tarek Momen.
Lobban, the 22-year-old from Inverness, was equally as impressive as he
dispatched another Englishman, former World No.12 Tom Richards, to reach
the first round of the Windy City Open for the first time in his career
where Australian Cameron Pilley awaits him.
Former World No.9 Laurens Jan Anjema, the Dutchman returning to the tour
following an injury enforced absence, was another casualty as he fell to
a shock 3-0 defeat to Henrik Mustonen while there were also victories
for Mohamed Abouelghar, Zahed Mohamed and Cesar Salazar over higher
ranked opposition while Omar Abdel Meguid and Gregoire Marche also
triumphed to earn their places in the first round of competition.