Day NINE : Semi-Finals

It’s two all-Egyptian finals in Manchester

The finalists of the 2017 World Champs were decided today at Manchester Central, and it was four Egyptians who won through.

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini came through a testing five-setter against Nour El Tayeb, and she’ll face second seed Raneem El Welily, who beat Camille Serme in straight games, in a repeat of the previous World final, earlier this year in El Gouna.

The men’s final will be an all-Egyptian, all-Elshorbagy affair after Mohamed beat world #1 Gregory Gaultier in straight games and Marwan overcame Ali Farag in a five game thriller.

Read on for the full details …

SEMI-FINALS DAY at the World Champs

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 [8] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)   11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-0 (63m)

[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)         12-10, 11-4, 11-9 (52m)

[2] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-0 [3] Camille Serme (Fra)  11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (39m)

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-2 [4] Ali Farag (Egy) 11-8, 4-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (75m)


[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 [8] Nour El Tayeb (Egy)   11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-0 (63m)

Sherbini survives Tayeb test

Defending champion Nour El Sherbini looked to be cruising through to the final as she dominated the first game against fellow-Egyptian Nour El Tayeb – and in the end she did, winning the fifth ELEVEN-NIL, but what a test Tayeb set the world #1 in the middle three games.

Tayeb was ahead from the start of the second and pushed through to level the scores, then went ahead as she got the better of a third game which saw Sherbini penalised with several strokes and no lets in rallies down the backhand wall.

Whatever Sherbini’s team said in the break did the trick, from the middle of the fourth she pulled clear to set up a decider which she totally dominated, to move into her third successive World final and one match away from a hat-trick of wins to match her three World Junior titles.

It was a very tough game, Nour is really playing so well this season, she won the US Open, and has beaten so many top players.

We’ve been playing for more than 1O years [they contested the World Junior Finals of 2009 and 2011] we are really good friends, so it’s really hard so it’s hard to play somebody that close, we are training a lot together, travelling everywhere in the world together.

I just wanted to keep pushing, I just didn’t want to let it go, so I kept fighting until the end.

Last game, it might have looked easy but if she won one single point, she was going to come back, so I had to make sure I kept pushing till the end. Of course, not her best last game but for me, it was!

My team gave me the right support and the right tactic, they just kept motivating me and pushing me, from the first game.

It was very important to take the lead, it was more I think about supporting me than a tactic probably! They did a good job in that fifth as I was really fired up and wanting to take that last game from the first point to the last.


[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [1] Gregory Gaultier (Fra)         12-10, 11-4, 11-9 (52m)

Mohamed topples World #1 to reach third final

Although Mohamed Elshorbagy started the first men’s semi-final behind Gregory Gaultier on ranking and seeding, the Egyptian is the man in form and the Frenchman is still a little short of match fitness, as well as having celebrated the birth of his second child scant days ago.

The 25-minute first game was one of the toughest of the tournament so far, with the packed crowd at Manchester Central watching Shorbagy go 7-2 up, Gaultier fighting back to earn a game ball, and Shorbagy pushing again to take the lead 12-10.

Shorbagy was on top in the second, doubling his advantage 11-4, and at 6-1 in the third it looked all over. Not to be though as Gaultier patiently worked his way back and levelled at 7-all. It was tense now, really tense.

Shorbagy pushed again, earned himself two match balls, tinned the first one but was more relieved than excited when Gaultier tinned the second to put himself into a third World Final – where he may yet be playing his younger brother …

Greg is 34 years old, and I’m 26 and that’s the 22nd time we’ve played on the Tour, that shows how great he is as a player and what he achieved. I hope that at 34, I can play half the way he is playing. But at that age, I’ll probably be on crutches, back at home, unable to be on court! So he is not doing too badly being world number 1!

Of course, we are always going toplay tough matches together. Again today, like with Ramy, like with Nick the first game was very crucial like it is with any of those top class players: it’s a huge boost for you for the rest of the match. Maybe I played those crucial points at the end of the first game a bit better…

It was tough all the way through even in the second, when I had the lead, I didn’t want to lose focus because we saw what happened in the third, the second I lost a bit of focus in the third, he was back in a flash.

Really happy to win in three and looking forward to be back here tomorrow.

When Nour and Ali Farag won the US Open together, they gave something unique to our sport, it was very good for the sport, and I think my brother and I give also something unique to the sport, having two brothers in the final, who knows, maybe we’ll have an all Shorbagy final!

It’s going to be a tough match with Ali, both in their first semi final of the Worlds, so it’s a difference for both of them, I hope that my brother wins, but not in 3, for sure!!!

[2] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-0 [3] Camille Serme (Fra)  11-7, 11-9, 11-7 (39m)

Raneem sets up repeat final

Raneem El Welily won through to a second consecutive World final as she beat Camille Serme in straight games in what was a repeat of the previous event’s semi-final, earlier this year in El Gouna.

There were numerous errors made in the first game – more by Serme, untypically – as Welily took the lead.

The Egyptian was ahead for most of the second, although Serme was never too far behind, as she doubled her lead.

Serme looked to be staging a comeback as she went 3-0 up in the third, but Welily, now making hardly any errors, surged ahead 9-4 and soon enough she was back in the final.

Happy to be through today. It’s never easy against Camille, we speak a lot about the world open together, her and I, I know how much she wanted it, I hate to be the one to take her out of it, but that’s the sport.

I have been wanting that title so much so badly in the past, it didn’t work out, so no pressure this time, I’m just trying to enjoy every second of it.

Nour had an incredible match today against Nour El Tayeb, who has played a really fantastic match, Nour El Tayeb and I train with the same coach, Haitham Effat, who’ll be very proud to have both of us in the semis of this great event, congratulations to him!

I’m just looking forward to another battle tomorrow with Nour, I’m sure it’s not going to be easy, I’m sure we’ll both do our best, hopefully it’s going to be a good match.

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-2 [4] Ali Farag (Egy) 11-8, 4-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9 (75m)

It’s Marwan v Mohamed for the World Title

The all-Egyptian final lineup was completed when Marwan Elshorbagy joined his elder brother Mohamed in the final following a thrilling five-game win over Ali Farag – who had reached five finals already this season but tonight fell just short.

It was Marwan who took the lead, getting the better of a 92-shot rally at 8-all in a point for point first game, using that momentum to power into the lead 11-8.

Farag struck back quickly to level, then overturned a 5-1 deficit to take the third and the lead.

It was Marwan though, who was the stronger at the end of the fourth and fifth games – both featuring numerous stoppages, appeals and video decisions – as he fought back from 4-7 in the fourth and 4-6 in the fifth, finally erupting with joy when he moved into the final on his third match ball.

“How does it feel, Marwan?” asked MC Jenny Duncalf :

AMAZING … I don’t know what to say.

This is for our family, just two brothers in the final, it’s never been done before I think, we are so close to each other, we are so proud to do this. It’s a dream for me, for both of us, these is the kind of things you visualise when you are young, and it’s now a dream come true.

I just want give credit to Ali, he has had a fantastic season… It was such a close match, I cannot remember any point, the only thing I can remember is that I was chatting too much with John [Masseralla, the ref]…

Just to have my mum here, watching, this is for her, of course, she is always there, always supporting us.

At the moment, Egypt has a lot of players in the top ten, and our country is having the best time ever in squash: two all-Egyptian finals tomorrow, it’s incredible, it’s amazing.

I want to thank Adrian Stiff, always been there, always supporting me, and my coach in Egypt, Haitham, my coach Ian Thomas who is watching me every single day, for his wife as well, who has been so supportive of me.

Now, I’ve got a big match tomorrow, sorry brother, but I’m going to have the best recovery ever to try and beat you tomorrow.