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Squash: ElShorbagy survives at St James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic

PUBLISHED: 07:39 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:39 10 March 2020

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Mohamed ElShorbagy in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Steve Line/SquashPics.com

Egypt’s world number one Mohamed ElShorbagy narrowly secured his berth in the quarter-finals of the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic after overcoming a tricky test against France’s Mathieu Castagnet at the East Wintergarden in London.

Saurav Ghosal in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)Saurav Ghosal in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

It was the Egyptian who held control through the first game, as he aimed to bounce back from his last-eight defeat to New Zealand's world number five Paul Coll at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family in Chicago last month.

He took the first 11-6, but as is always the case with Castagnet, the Frenchman fought his way back.

Thanks to Castagnet's mental and physical toughness, the match would be pushed into a third game as the world number 22 refused to go down without a fight.

He took the second 11-8 to set up a decider and it looked like it could go either way right through the middle part of it, with neither player able to pull away.

In the end, ElShorbagy took the victory, advancing to the quarter-finals where he will face Indian number one Saurav Ghosal on Wednesday evening, after the world number 11 got the better of Germany's Simon Rösner

'He is a warrior. He had a really bad injury and he is making his way back,' said ElShorbagy.

'I know his ranking is still outside the top 20 but the level he can play at - once you are a great player, you don't just become a bad player. You stay great and luckily I pulled through at the end!

'The best-of-three format changes the dynamic of the sport. It will be short, sharp rallies and you will play at a very high pace. With the best-of-five you have to think about the whole match, and think about your energy throughout the match.

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'I am proud of my mental performance. I got lucky and I know I need to try and improve for the next round.

'I've always enjoyed playing this event and the crowd are always fully supportive from the first day. We play for the crowd and they make it really exciting for us to play. It is close to Bristol, my home, and I definitely enjoy playing here.'

ElShorbagy will face Ghosal, who came out firing in the first game of his clash with world number seven Rösner.

He held the momentum through the middle part of the first game, before he caught the German on his follow-through at 9-5. After a 10-minute blood injury delay, Rösner came back onto court and won five of the next six points, including saving four game balls.

However, Ghosal took the game, before the German fought his way back into the match, restoring parity in the contest by winning the second - despite the Indian saving a game ball in the process.

It would eventually be Ghosal who took the win, only his third over Rösner on the PSA World Tour, as he moves through to the quarter-finals of the PSA Gold tournament in London.

'I think it was a culmination of a couple of things. I was 9-5 up, the momentum was with me, and especially when you are playing Simon, it is so difficult to get that against him because he has such good power and a great touch art the front of the court,' Ghosal said.

'He stepped up and played some really good stuff but I am glad that I was able to finally win it because I think on the balance of play that I deserved to win it. Beating a player of that quality, in the form that he is in right now, is a really good win for me!'

Elsewhere on the second day of the tournament, Peru's world number six Diego Elias and world champion Tarek Momen made their way through to the last eight, with the pair scheduled to meet on Wednesday night.

The second round continues on Tuesday at 6pm local time (GMT) and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).

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