Defending Champions beaten as Egyptians advance in Chicago Semis
A dramatic semi-finals day in Chicago’s Union Station saw the top seeds and defending champions in both events beaten in five game all-Egyptian thrillers – Nour El Tayeb getting the better of Raneem El Welily and Tarek Momen beating Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Two all-Egyptian finals were assured when second seeds Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag won in contrasting style – Sherbini reaching her 5th final after a five-game encounter with Camille Serme, new world #1 Farag beating Simon Rosner in straight games to join his wife in the finals.
Farag foils Rosner
It didn’t seem to faze ali Farag though, who breezed trough the first game against Simon Rosner, got the better of a close ending to the second, then dominated the third.
There was just no way past Farag tonight – after one rally towards the end of the third, Rosner pretended to ‘go for’ his tormentor, to laughs all round, but Farag really was that good.
“It’s been an emotional day, becoming world #1, watching Nour win, playing a semi-final …
“Winning the second was crucial, three-nil is always a good score against Simon, but Tarek played out of his skin today so tomorrow will be really tough.”
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Five and counting for Sherbini
The Egyptian was well on top in the first two games, but the reverse was true of the next two with a determined Serme in the ascendency.
Sure enough, given the lead Sherbini powered ahead, clinching her fifth final appearance at just 23 years of age (she needed convincing afterwards that this was her 10th Word Champs!).
I’m really glad that I managed to focus again, regroup, and come back in the fifth stronger.
I’m so grateful to my team for giving me belief and confidence.
“I am really, really glad and proud to be in a fifth final in the World Championships. It is the biggest tournament.”
Tarek takes out defending champ
ElShorbagy controlled the pace in the first, taking the lead even though Momen saved three game balls. But Momen raced through the second, only for ElShorbagy to take the lead in another tight game.
Momen fought back again though, taking the fourth with something to spare, then edging further ahead in the fifth, finally taking his first win over ElShorbagy in five years on a stroke.
“Raneem winning this title last year gave me something to aim for all year, and now I’m in the final!”
“I found myself in a very difficult situation so many times in that match. I just had to believe in myself because I want it more than anything.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we could tell our future kids that we both won this …..”
Tayeb dethrones Welily in a thriller
Nour el Tayeb came through a five game thriller to defeat defending champion Raneem el Welily and reach her first world final.
The first four games were shared in a similar pattern- level pegging up to 6 or 7-all, then one or the other would take a run of points to claim the games.
Welily took the first, Tayeb responded with the next two and Welily set up the decider.
It was the defending champ who made the first move in the fifth, taking a 7-4 lead. But Tayeb, her fighting spirit in evidence from the first point, fought back to earn two match balls at 10-8.
Those came and went with a tin and a stroke, but a winner brought up a third chance, and Welily hitting the ball down the middle and the obligatory video ref decision delivered the stroke and a place in the final for Tayeb.
“She’s the best in the world for a reason and she makes very rally hard and I can’t believe it. I’m in the final of the World Championships – wow!
“It’s hard work all over the years and hard work today. I think this is the hardest I have ever had to work in a match. I’m very happy and I still can’t believe it, I will have to watch the last couple of minutes again. I’m very happy with my performance.”