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El Shorbagy Shines In Reunion

Squash Pro Reunion 2011
20-25 Jun, Saint Pierre, Reunion Island, $25k
Round One
22 Jun
23 Jun
24 Jun
25 Jun
[1] Thierry Lincou (Fra)
 11/5, 11/2, 12/10 (35m
Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)
Thierry Lincou
11/5, 11/7, 6/11, 11/1 (45m)
Olivier Pett
Thierry Lincou
10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-7 (59m)
Julien Balbo
Thierry Lincou
5-11, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 15-13 (112m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
[Q] Olivier Pett (Eng)
11/8, 7/11, 11/8, 11/3 (46m
Chris Gordon (Usa)
[Q] Rasmus Nielsen (Den)
11/3, 11/6, 11/8 (24m
[Q] Billy Patton
Rasmus Nielsen
11/8, 11/6, 3/11, 11/6 (42m)
Julien Balbo
Julien Balbo (Fra)
1/11, 11/7, 11/6, 14/12 (78m
[4] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
[3] Alan Clyne (Sco)
 11/8, 11/8, 4/11, 4/11, 11/8 (87m)
Yann Perrin (Fra)
Yann Perrin
13/11, 11/8, 11/7 (41m)
Mark Krajcsak
Mark Krajcsak
11-5, 11-9, 13-11 (36m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy
Mark Krajcsak (Hun)
11/8, 11/8, 8/11, 5/11, 11/2 (92m
Kristian Frost (Den)
Kamran Khan (Mas)
11/7, 7/11, 7/11, 12/10, 11/6 (75m)
[Q] Marwan El Shorbagy (Egy)
Kamran Khan
11/6, 11/8, 11/5 (37m)

Mohamed El Shorbagy
Geoffrey Demont (Fra)
11/8, 11/3, 11/8 (28m
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy

El 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.

But 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 games.

Despite suffering a frustrating knee injury earlier in the year, Lincou dug deep to survive a fourth game tie-break game to draw level.

The decider had the packed crowd on the edges of their seats - and favourite Lincou reached match-ball on four occasions.

But it 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 www.sitesquash.com afterwards. "I have never in my whole life seen someone at that age playing like this!

"After 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

"I 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.

"I saved four match balls by hitting the nick almost every time from the return of the serve. How lucky I am!

"This 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!"

After 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 high quality.

"It 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!

"Yes, 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.

"It's 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."

Top Seeds Reach Reunion Final

Top 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 Reunion Island.

Lincou, 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.

The 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 last year.

El 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.

"He 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.

"For 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.

French Finalist Assured In Reunion

A 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.

"But 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!"

Balbo 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.

"I was 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.

"It 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."

After 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.

"I'm 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."

El 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.

"Mark 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.

"I 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

While 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.

Lincou, 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 this week.

The 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 www.sitesquash.com 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."

It was 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.

"I'm 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 No70.

And 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.

In the 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.

But 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.