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El Shorbagy Becomes Youngest Motor City Open Champion

Motor City Open 2011
26-31 Jan, Detroit, USA, $50k
Round One
28 Jan
29 Jan
30 Jan
31 Jan
[1] Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned)
11/6 11/7 11/8
Tom Richards (Eng)
Tom Richards
7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5
Omar Mosaad
Omar Mosaad
11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7
Adrian Grant
Omar Mosaad
8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5
Mohamed El Shorbagy
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
14/12 11/7 11/6
Omar Mosaad (Egy)
Jonathan Kemp (Eng)
11/6 11/5 retired
[Q] Mohammed Abbas (Egy)
Jonathan Kemp
5-11, 16-14, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9
Adrian Grant
Ali Anwar Reda (Egy)
10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4
[4] Adrian Grant (Egy)
[3] David Palmer (Aus)11-9, 11-9, 11-7
Cameron Pilley (Aus)
David Palmer
11-3, 11-9, 11-4
Alan Clyne
David Palmer
11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10
Mohamed El Shorbagy
[Q] Alan Clyne (Sco)
11-6, 11-7, 11-8
Julian Wellings (Eng)
Chris Ryder (Eng)
12/10 12/10 12/10
Tarek Momen (Egy)
Tarek Momen
11/4, 11/5, 2/0 rtd
 Mohamed El Shorbagy
[Q] Borja Golan (Esp)
11/8 11/8 3/11 11/9
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy)

El Shorbagy Becomes Youngest Motor City Open Champion

Mohamed El Shorbagy 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.

The 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.

El Shorbagy 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.

"Today's match 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."

Tournament 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."

Runner-up 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.

Pointing to 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

Young guns 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.

El Shorbagy, 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 that match.

"Playing him 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 him.

"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."

Indeed, games 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.

El Shorbagy, 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."

The crowd rallied behind Palmer at the end - eager to see a fifth game of this wondrous squash. But this was Egypt's day.

Omar Mosaad, 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.

"I remember 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.

"I'm just 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."

Mosaad Stops Richards In Motor City Quarters

After 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.

Mosaad, the 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."

Richards 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."

Mosaad will 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.

"I'm really 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 the court.

"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 of greatness.

The rangy 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.

Of his 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 sure."