Becomes Youngest Motor City Open Champion
prevailed in the first all-Egyptian final of the Suburban Collection Motor
City Open to become the youngest winner of the PSA World Tour
International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic
Club in Bloomfield Hills in the US state of Michigan.
20-year-old world No9 beat Cairo compatriot Omar Mosaad, ranked six
places lower, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 to claim the second Tour title of his brief
career to date.
had a testing route to the final, beating Spain's 2009 champion Borja Golan
in the opening round before going on to overcome hero David Palmer, the
2000 champion and former world number one from Australia, in the semi-finals.
With the title, El Shorbagy collected the top prize of an $8,200 cheque and a
Rolex watch from Greenstone Jewelers.
"I'm just over
the moon at the moment, just so happy right now," said the jubilant UK-based
Egyptian. "This is a very, very special tournament to win. I won my last
tournament in last April. This time I'm getting a Rolex watch, and it's like:
'Oh, my gosh, I'm really wearing a Rolex watch!'
"I had quite
possibly one of the toughest roads of the tournament," added the champion. "I
was really unlucky to get Golan in the first round. He runs a lot and that took
me a lot of energy to beat him. Tarek (Momen) was another tough match for me
mentally because he's another Egyptian player.
"And then the
semi-final against Palmer," continued El Shorbagy. "That was a very tough match
for me mentally because it was the very first time I played him. So, I think to
win this tournament, when you have such a tough road as this, it's just
something to give you really big confidence.
was very, very tough. I wasn't too sad when I lost the first game because I knew
it was a long game, and it took lots of energy out of him. He's a big guy, and
I'm just trying to make the rallies long, long, long. And once I felt he's
tired, I started taking him short. I could see he was tired and couldn't
concentrate that much."
spokesman AJ Hakim added: "The pace of game one was indeed torrid, with
both players firing hard rails mixed with daring drops. But Shorbagy's speed,
fitness, and exquisite racquet control began to take its toll. By game four, the
personable Egyptian was joking with the referee, his confidence swelling as the
finish line loomed."
Mosaad explained: "This match today is different because I played against an
Egyptian. I play with him all the time in training, so he knows all my strong
points and weak points."
With the event
featuring not only an all-Egyptian final, but five players from the troubled
country in the field, title sponsor and Suburban Collection CEO David Fisher
praised the players for their concentration in the trophy ceremony.
the Birmingham Athletic Club banner, featuring the event's previous winners, El
Shorbagy concluded: "I'm just happy to be with all these names up there. They
are all really big names: Gaultier, Palmer, Power, White, Darwish.
"So, just to
win a tournament like that is something to make me proud."
El Shorbagy &
Mosaad Make All-Egyptian Motor City Final
Mohamed El Shorbagy and Omar Mosaad overcame veterans David Palmer
and Adrian Grant, respectively, in the Motor City Open to set up
an unexpected all-Egyptian final of the PSA World Tour International 50
squash event at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills
in the US state of Michigan.
only 20 years old, held his own against the big 34-year-old Palmer - a former
world No1 and current No16 - in a fast-paced affair that ended in an 11-5, 4-11,
11-7, 12-10 victory for the world number nine. It was the first time the two had
competed against each other, and the idea of playing against such a decorated
squash player left El Shorbagy in awe.
"I'm so proud
to play someone like David Palmer," El Shorbagy said of the Aussie who
has won 26 career titles and been a PSA world top ten player for a whole decade.
"It's the first time I've ever played him, and I've always wanted to play him. I
didn't care about winning or losing. I was just enjoying every single second of
and beating him, that's something that makes me proud and something I'm going to
tell my kids one day," added the UK-based Egyptian. "I played David Palmer
once and beat him once. I know he was thirty four years old, but still I will
say I beat David Palmer!"
For two games,
the two big hitters sized each other up. Each game went quickly, one game each.
"I didn't have
a game plan in the beginning," said El Shorbagy. "All I did know was that he has
the best backhand volley in the world. So I was just trying to keep it away from
"The first two
games we were trying to know each other's game, and then in the third and
fourth, it was tight all the way."
three and four were enthralling - the best squash of the event. Two top players
at the top of their games: Drives, drop shots, lunging defence, spectacular
kills and subtle boasts. "It was textbook stuff and the capacity crowd at the
Birmingham Athletic Club loved it," said event spokesman AJ Hakim.
now in the fourth PSA final of his career, continued: "I was trying to be
patient, not going for silly errors. I could see in his face that he was really
tired, but because he has so much experience, he knows how to play tired."
rallied behind Palmer at the end - eager to see a fifth game of this wondrous
squash. But this was Egypt's day.
a big, 22-year-old who is ranked 15 in the world, held his ground against Grant.
The 30-year-old was coming off back-to-back, five-game marathons in the previous
two rounds. The strain of those two matches - along with the fact that the
Englishman is still is recovering from a hip tear - worked to Mosaad's favour,
as he recorded his first win against Grant in four attempts - and an appearance
in the 12th Tour final of his career.
what I do wrong," Mosaad said of his strategy since the two last met in Spain in
November. "Today, I made the tactics to win this game. He played two matches
before me - difficult matches. So I tried to make the game quick. The difference
between this match and the others (I lost) was that I made this game quicker, a
little more volleys and I got the win."
The final will
mark the third meeting between Mosaad and El Shorbagy, with their series tied at
one-all. Both encounters went the full distance - with El Shorbagy winning in
Spain in 2008 and Mosaad taking the more recent encounter in Finland in 2009.
"Me and Mosaad
are really good friends off court," El Shorbagy said. "When people see us
playing, they actually think we hate each other. But me and Omar are good
friends and are really close from when we were really, really young. So, it's
going to be fun tomorrow.
happy to reach the final," says the rising Egyptian star. "Whoever's going to
win, it's going to be a good day because it's going to be an Egyptian."
Richards In Motor City Quarters
upsetting the top seed in the first round of the Motor City Open,
England's unseeded Tom Richards was unable to maintain his momentum in
the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at
the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills in the US state
of Michigan, going down in four games to Egypt's Omar Mosaad.
world No15 from Cairo, was too strong for the Englishman who was looking for
another upset after ousting top seed Laurens Jan Anjema. Mosaad jumped
out to early leads in each game, forcing Richards to play catch-up. The big
Egyptian eventually won 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.
"I went up
6-1, then lost my concentration and he started to play well," Mosaad said of his
recovery from the first game. "So, I changed my tactic, started to take more
volleys, change the pace, and I started to play well."
responded: "Every game - every game - was a bad start, and you can't give
somebody who's as much quality as him a start like that," reflected the world
No30 afterwards. "I was moving him around well, I thought he was pretty tired.
It's quite disappointing - I'd like to be able to go play those points again and
just push him."
now face England's Adrian Grant for a place in the final. 24 hours after
outlasting Egypt's Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in a two-and-a-half hour five-game
thriller, the world No17 from London was taken to the limit again by fellow
Englishman Jonathan Kemp. Grant came from behind to win 5-11, 16-14,
4-11, 11-5, 11-9.
Grant - in
only his second tournament back since suffering a hip injury that sidelined him
for three months - acknowledged he's only about 80 percent fit. The 30-year-old
entered the MCO as the four seed, without any expectations other than playing
himself back into form.
lacking the games and the sharpness, so to go through something like this is a
good tester for me," Grant said of his battle with Kemp. "I'm coming into this
tournament not hoping anything. Obviously I want to win, but I'm just glad on
"I played the
Tournament of Champions before this in New York," he continued, "and that
was my first match in three months. And I was lost! I was so bad and off the
pace. I'm training hard, but I wasn't match fit. So, now that I'm getting
matches day in and day out, that's what I need, and that's what I've come for."
The other semi
will pit Australia's David Palmer, a former world No1 and 2000 MCO
winner, against Egyptian world No9 Mohamed El Shorbagy. At 34, Palmer is
in the twilight of a great career, while the 20-year old Shorbagy is on the cusp
Egyptian won after fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen retired due to injury at
the start of the third game. Palmer had little problem with Scottish qualifier
Alan Clyne, beating the world No53 11-3, 11-9, 11-4.
"I'm happy to
win," Palmer said. "This is the first time I've played him. He's tough, he's
very fit, one of the fastest guys around the court. I thought I played pretty
good, except for maybe a lapse in the second. I knew I really had to focus in
the third game.
semi-final match against the up-and-coming Shorbagy, Palmer said: "It'll be a
new experience. I've seen him play. He's very good - like all Egyptians. He's
got great shots, he's very fast and tall. He's going to be a handful, that's for