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World’s top two to meet in St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic final

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 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 and number two Ali Farag will meet in the final of the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic after defeating compatriots Tarek Momen and Marwan ElShorbagy, respectively, in the semi-finals of the PSA Gold tournament.

Ali Farag in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)Ali Farag in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Some 364 days previous, it was Momen who took the victory over the world number one when the duo met in the semi-finals of last year's event, in what was their 24th meeting on the PSA World Tour.

ElShorbagy held a 18-5 advantage over Momen going into their clash, but it the world number three started the better, with his movement and skill in the front corners proving too much for his fellow Egyptian.

Having won this event in 2018, ElShorbagy improved his game in the second, pushing the tempo, attacking into the front corners and forcing Momen into the type of errors that have plagued his game in recent years.

He then carried that momentum throughout both the third and fourth games, picking off Momen when required, as more errors from the reigning world champion helped give ElShorbagy the comfort of a lead in both games, as he went on to win out 4-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 in less than 50 minutes, booking his place in the final in Canary Wharf for the second time in three seasons.

'I hope everyone enjoyed that match, because we both played such high quality squash. We always play great matches, and I remember two years ago when we played in the final we both gave it our all on court and today we did the same,' ElShorbagy said.

'I absolutely love coming back here. Since the first day, the crowd is always full and you guys always support this event. It is because of you, and we really appreciate it, so thanks a lot!

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'The last couple of days, it was so high-paced. We went for more winners, whereas today we were more economical. We had to manage our fitness. There are more tactics in a best-of-five, and I am really glad to be here for another day.

'Tarek has been in great form this season. After the final in TOC [J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions], he said that he was on the right track. Having to play someone who feels like that is always hard.'

Farag, the 2018-19 world champion, made the final for the first time in his career, in his second appearance at the tournament, following a comprehensive victory over world number eight Marwan ElShorbagy - Mohamed's younger brother - inside the East Wintergarden venue.

The pair had met seven times on the PSA World Tour before, with ElShorbagy having won four of those. Five of those clashes had come in semi-finals, with 'the Jackal' also holding a 3-2 advantage in the last four.

This time however the former world number one needed just 39 minutes to take the victory, as he was able to restrict ElShorbagy to just 11 points across the entire match by constantly forcing him into the back corners.

'I would like to think that I can still get better. Today I went on court with a mix of emotions. I was inspired by Nour, she just won a thriller of a match in Cairo, at the Black Ball Open, against an unbelievable player in Raneem El Welily,' Farag said.

'I was super inspired but at the same time I was also super intimidated to see Nick Matthew in his corner. Nick, way beyond his prime years, gave me a lesson at the US Open. I know that from the outside, he can give the right tactics.

'Even though Mohamed and I are number one and two at the moment, we have only played twice so far this season. We have won one each and I think it is always exciting when we play against each other.

'He is totally different to play compared to Marwan, but it is equally as tough. It will be another test but for now, I will just enjoy the result and then focus on tomorrow.'


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