Shorbagy Shines In Reunion
Egypt's Mohamed El Shorbagy survived the longest match of his
career to win the Squash Pro Internationaux de la Reunion at
Eventsport 61 in Saint Pierre on Reunion Island - and
deny Reunion-born Thierry Lincou the successful defence of his
title in the PSA World Tour International 25 squash event.
Top-seeded Frenchman Lincou, the 35-year-old world No8, took the opening
game in this battle against an opponent 15 years his junior, and ranked
just one place lower.
second seed El Shorbagy, who beat his illustrious opponent in their
first meeting in the 2008 World Open, battled back to take the next two
Despite suffering a frustrating knee injury earlier in the year, Lincou
dug deep to survive a fourth game tie-break game to draw level.
decider had the packed crowd on the edges of their seats - and favourite
Lincou reached match-ball on four occasions.
was the younger player who ultimately prevailed as El Shorbagy closed
out the match 5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 15-13 after 112 minutes to win
the third PSA Tour title of his career.
"What can I say after this marathon," El Shorbagy told
afterwards. "I have never in my whole life seen someone at that age
playing like this!
I won the second and the third, I heard him telling Julien (Balbo) that
he is really dead - and look at how he pushed and pushed and pushed all
the way in the fourth and the fifth! He is such a great example not only
for the French players, but to all of us. He just never gives up
just wish one day when I am at his age can play like this. There were
two players on court killing themselves every point in these hot
conditions - and I was just the lucky one at the end.
saved four match balls by hitting the nick almost every time from the
return of the serve. How lucky I am!
is for sure the hardest and longest match I have played in my career.
And playing him is such a great honour for me. He is a true legend!"
recovering from his longest match since 2002, Tour veteran Lincou added:
"It was a good match for a return, especially compared to yesterday,
where I was very tense against Julien.
"Today, I reacted well I thought, and was able to raise my game. I know
it mustn't have been easy for Mohamed to play here, but the match was
was so hot on there today, I thought at some point I was going
physically to die. We were both really out of breath, dead, and it would
take us up to 30, 40 seconds to recover between points. And I could see
some points I was actually fresher than he was, but he's got such
fantastic hands, in two shots, he puts you in the red again!
of course, a bit disappointed to have lost a match with a few match
points, but I can't complain, can I! I won so many matches like this,
saving match balls.
very positive, especially when I think of the state I was in two months
ago, so depressed as my knee wouldn't get better, and losing in
Baillargues, a small tournament, in the semis."
Seeds Reach Reunion Final
seeds Thierry Lincou and Mohamed El Shorbagy will contest
the final of the Squash Pro Internationaux de la Reunion after
surviving contrasting semi-finals in the PSA World Tour International
25 squash event at Eventsport 61 in Saint Pierre on
the Frenchman who returned to the island of his birth to win the
inaugural PSA Tour event in Reunion in 2009, recovered from a game down
to overcome compatriot Julien Balbo 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 in
just under an hour.
distinguished former world number one and world champion from Marseille,
now aged 35, is celebrating the 41st Tour final of his career - but his
first since winning the Bluenose Classic in Canada in February
Shorbagy, the second seed from Egypt, is back on the Tour after
completing end-of-year exams at University in Bristol, in the UK. The
20-year-old world No9 clinched his third successive straight games win
in the event to beat Hungarian number one Mark Krajcsak 11-5,
11-9, 13-11 in 36 minutes.
"I'm very happy to win again in three - I played much better than
yesterday," El Shorbagy said
afterwards. "I started very well and then till 6/1 up in the second, I
lost a bit of concentration which is normal to lose sometimes but I was
happy that I was able to get it back quickly and win the game.
played really well in the third and I was really lucky to win it at the
end. He is a very good player and I am actually surprised his ranking
isn't much better than this.
tomorrow, that's the final the crowd wanted, so hopefully it will be a
good match. Lincou and I are good friends off court and hopefully we
will give a good match for the crowd," concluded the rising Egyptian
star from Alexandria, now in his third Tour final of the year.
Finalist Assured In Reunion
semi-final meeting between title-holder Thierry Lincou and
Julien Balbo in the Squash Pro Internationaux de la Reunion
will ensure a French finalist in the PSA World Tour International 25
squash event in its second year at Eventsport 61 in Saint
Pierre on Reunion Island.
Reunion-born Lincou, the world No8 from Marseille, took four games to
fend off English qualifier Olivier Pett - dropping the third game
to the 22-year-old world No 113 before conceding just a single point in
the fourth to claim an 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-1 victory after 45 minutes.
"It was a good match for me tonight, with some good pace in the first
two games, good attacking game," explained the 35-year-old top said
afterwards. "And overall, I was dictating the rallies.
in the third, he played better at the back, his length got better, and
made me work very hard. I did let go of that game rather quickly. But
then, I regrouped and played a simpler game, more efficient too, and
didn't give away anything anymore!"
made his breakthrough in the previous round where he upset fourth-seeded
compatriot Mathieu Castagnet. The Grenoble-born world No70
maintained his successful Reunion run by beating Danish qualifier
Rasmus Nielsen 11-8, 11-6, 3-11, 11-6.
a bit stressed today," conceded the 32-year-old. "After the first match
won against Mathieu Castagnet, there was an opportunity with a
good draw and I'm glad to have seized it. The key match was yesterday. I
played well and hopefully I was not too tired.
will be a huge pleasure to play Titi here," Balbo added. "It will be a
challenge! It is good to play in front of full crowds."
staging an impressive comeback to beat Marwan El Shorbagy in the
opening round, Malaysian Kamran Khan was not so fortunate against
Marwan's older brother when he went down 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 to Mohamed
El Shorbagy, the No2 seed.
happy to win in three," said Shorbagy senior. "Kamran surprised me with
how well he played in the first two games after having a hard match
against my brother this morning. It's my first tournament since the KL
in March, so I know I am not playing at my top game but I am playing
better every day and I hope I can play better tomorrow."
Shorbagy, the world No9, will now face unseeded Hungarian Mark
Krajcsak. The 27-year-old beat from Budapest beat Yann Perrin
13-11, 11-8, 11-7 to end the brave run of the Frenchman who ousted
Scotland's No3 seed Alan Clyne.
is a very nice guy and very fair and it's my first time playing him so
hopefully it will be a good match for the crowd," added El Shorbagy.
really like the place here it's my first time - the people are really
nice and the organisers are helping the players when they need anything
so I'm really happy to be here."
Champion Lincou Survives Amid Surprises
there were major upsets all around him, home hero Thierry Lincou
successfully began the defence of his title in the Squash Pro
Internationaux de la Reunion when he beat Malaysian Muhd Asyraf
Azan to reach the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour
International 25 squash event in its second year at Eventsport 61
in Saint Pierre on Reunion Island.
the world No8 from France, won the inaugural PSA Tour event on the
island of his birth in 2009 - and is seeded to repeat his home triumph
35-year-old former world champion and world number one defeated Azan,
ranked 67 in the world, 11-5, 11-2, 12-10 in 35 minutes.
"This was a good day for me," the favourite told
afterwards. "I was a bit tense for this first round back home, but my
tactic was good in the first two games. I did relax slightly in the
third, and it led to a tie-break."
a good day for French outsiders: Unseeded Julien Balbo ousted
higher-ranked fellow Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, the No4 seed,
1-11, 11-7, 11-6, 14-12 to claim a surprise place in the last eight.
of course extremely happy to have won that franco-french duel, and to
feel I'm able to compete again," said Balbo, the Grenoble-born world
after one of two matches delayed overnight following nose injuries,
unseeded Frenchman Yann Perrin claimed the event's biggest upset
by overcoming Scotland's No3 seed Alan Clyne 11-8, 11-8, 4-11,
4-11, 11-8 in 87 minutes of playing time.
other nose-affected match, Malaysian Kamran Khan fought back from
2/1 down to quash 17-year-old Egyptian qualifier Marwan El Shorbagy
11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6.
two qualifiers did make it through to the quarter-finals: Olivier
Pett, an Englishman ranked outside the top 100, edged out USA's
world No75 Christopher Gordon 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3 to earn a
meeting with favourite Lincou.
Meanwhile Dane Rasmus Nielsen survived a battle with fellow
qualifier Billy Paton. The 28-year-old from Odense beat
26-year-old Paton, from Piton St Leu on Reunion Island - making his PSA
Tour debut - 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.