Quarter-Finals : It’s all Egypt

Quarter-Finals : It’s all Egypt

Quarter-finals day at the St. James’ Place Canary Wharf Classic, with four Egyptian winners …

St. James' Place Canary Wharf Classic : Wed 11th Mar, Quarter-Finals

[3] Tarek Momen (Egy) 2-1 [5] Diego Elias (Per)                 11-8, 8-11, 11-6 (40m)

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 2-1 Saurav Ghosal (Ind)  11-13, 11-7, 12-10 (51m)

[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 2-0 Greg Lobban (Sco)                   11-3, 11-8 (28m)

[2] Ali Farag (Egy) 2-1 Fares Dessouky (Egy)                  12-10, 9-11, 5-2 rtd (51m)

Geoff Bew reports …

Momen overcomes Elias challenge

Precise and accurate hitting helped Tarek Momen overcome a determined challenge from Diego Elias to reach the semi finals of the Canary Wharf Classic.

The Viper looked composed and focused as he hit several forehand and backhand volley drops into the nick on the way to a 11-8, 8-11, 11-8 victory.

It keeps his hopes alive of making a third consecutive final at the East Wintergarden, where he was runner-up to Paul Coll last year and Mohamed Elshorbagy in 2018.

Momen said: “I was very pleased to get through that match. I was a lot more focused this evening and felt I was a lot more effective at the front of the court. I wasn’t quite so confident at the start of the match but once a few drops hit the target I felt more settled.

“Diego has shown how dangerous he is over the past 12 months and I have had the misfortune of playing him a few times in recent tournaments. That’s why I’m happy to get through and I need to adjust for the next match because we revert to best of five. That will require a different type of game plan.”

Top seed ElShorbagy survives

Number one seed Mohammed ElShorbagy accused the crowd of being “disrespectful” after he was booed during his victory against Saurav Ghosal.

He came within two points of crashing out of the tournament, but eventually prevailed 12-10 in the deciding game.

Some spectators in the 600-strong crowd took exception to some time wasting during a crucial stage of the third game, which led to him being given a conduct warning.

Speaking afterwards he told the 600-strong audience he doesn’t mind them cheering for his opponent as long as they are respectful.

His comments may well overshadow what turned out to be an excellent match in which The Mongoose took the first game 13-11, and used his superb movement to save five match points in a thrilling decider.

But Mohamed’s quality shone through and he showed his trademark resilience and determination to fight back from a game down and come through a tough match in 51 minutes.

Marwan ends Greg’s run

Marwan ElShorbagy was determined not to become the second major seed to crash out of the tournament when he faced Greg Lobban.

The Scotsman took out Karim Abdel Gawad in the previous round and came into the match full of confidence.

But the Egyptian had clearly done his homework and never allowed Greg to get a foothold in the match as he won 11-3, 11-8 in 27 minutes.

Speaking on court afterwards Marwan said: “I knew Greg was playing well so I needed to play well to win.

“I knew what I had to do to stop him playing his best shots.”

Farag through as Dessouky retires

Former world number one Ali Farag is through to the semi finals after his opponent was forced to pull out injured during the deciding game.

An entertaining match was delicately balanced at 1-1 when Fares Dessouky began clutching his hamstring at 2-5 down and ended up with him lying on his back with his head in his hands.

Prior to that the crowd had been treated to a stunning show of squash with fast-paced rallies and incredible shot making from both players.

Ali won a closely fought first game 12-10 by forcing two errors from his opponent in the tie-break as a result of his amazing retrieval skills.

Fares then showed why he is one of the most skillful players on the tour to take the second game 11-9, before the match came to a premature end.


Greg Lobban is the last Brit standing in the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic.

After playing some inspired squash to see off a rather subdued Karim Abdel Gawad last night, he meets No.7 seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the third match of the evening.

Lobban rated his win over Gawad as his best-ever result. He will indeed be fortunate if ElShorbagy opens up the court as much.

First on are world champion Tarek Momen and young Peruvian star Diego Elias.

Elias produced a performance of pace and precision to overwhelm James Willstrop after the Englishman had produced a run of six points in the opening game.

It will be interesting to see what tactical plan he presents against Momen, who has a significantly different physique and playing style to Willstrop.

Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy will hope to overpower Saurav Ghosal, but India’s No.1 hardly flinched as he overcame a much taller opponent in Simon Rosner on Monday night, leaving him with a bloody nose physically and metaphorically.

The final match of the evening pits No.2 seed Ali Farag against Fares Dessouky. The word “Fearless” applies to both players.

Farag, fresh from winning the Windy City Open, chose to head to London via two days at home in Egypt and he said it felt odd watching the tournament start while he was at home in Cairo.

He seemed to be suffering no ill-effects or jetlag as he outclassed a willing Declan James last night in another match of high pace and extreme intensity.

Dessouky dealt with a similar pressure-cooker atmosphere as he raced to the finishing line ahead of Mohamed Abouelghar in a match of superb quality and finishing with a flurry of nicks from Dessouky.

I wonder if Farag will tee them up for him as politely as Abouelghar did. Somehow I doubt it.