Day 3. Round of 16. Marwan ElShorbagy

Andy Taylor. Squash Host. Qatar Classic Squash Championship. Day 3. Round of 16. Marwan ElShorbagy

Squash Host. Andy Taylor. Qatar Classic 2017

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[6] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) def Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-6 11-8 7-11 11-4 (45-min)

These two Egyptian greats have faced each other eight times over the past six years. Omar easily won their first clash in Turkey, but the 18-year-old ElShorbagy learned a lot in that first meeting. Marwan won a rematch in Egypt just four months later. Overall, he’s won five of their previous encounters, including the last two in the Semifinals of the 2015 China Open, and last April in the 1st-Round of El Gouna.

Yesterday, the resurgent Mosaad battled for nearly two hours, finally defeating Miguel Angel Rodriguez 14-12 in the decider – potentially the match of the tournament.

ElShorbagy enjoyed a far less taxing victory over Paul Coll, after losing the first game in a tiebreak 11-13.

Omar Mossad. Returning to Top Form

Since the 2010-11 season, the former World #3 has always reached July ranked inside the top-15. Injuries last season led to a limited schedule, and a rough road to recovery. The World #31 ranking reflects that. However, the Hammer of Thor’s resilience and infectious optimism, despite the setbacks, is beginning to pay-off. When the rankings emerge tomorrow, he’ll be back in the PSA’s top-20.

Thanks to his work ethic, determination and focus, Omar Mosaad went from tall, lanky junior to an overpowering force on the PSA World Tour. Recently engaged, he owns 10 PSA Tour titles, was a Finalist at the 2015 PSA World Championships, and in April of 2016, captured the Egyptian National Championship in Cairo. Now 29-years-old, he’s had a great start to the new season after reaching his 29th career Final in Hong Kong, and the Semifinals at the US Open in Philadelphia. Omar has his hammer back, but after yesterday’s battle with Rodriguez – his stamina’s in question.

Marwan ElShorbagy. The Professor

The Beast’s little brother continues to quietly shine, ranked just outside the PSA Tour’s top-5. Though Marwan fell to Diego Elias in Round-2 of the US Open, he started the new season with a Semifinal run at the China Open, where he fell to Ramy Ashour.

The truth is, Marwan is a tactical strategist. It is just as interesting watching him scout other matches, as it is to see him apply what he’s learned with each individual opponent. He may not have Mohamed’s size or instinctual ability – but that’s what makes him incredibly dangerous. He is a student of every opponent. Like a starving surgical pupil studying for finals, he takes time to dissect every opponent’s game before ever taking the court. That work-ethic and recognition of each opponent’s weakness has kept him inside the top-15 for 3-years running; inside the top-7 for the past 17-months. He now owns 6 PSA Tour titles, has reached 14 career finals, and last June, competed in the World Series Finals for the first time.

He’s also a hell of a surrogate coach for other tour players who ask for his eyeballs on their match.

ElShorbagy hiccups in the third. Mosaad’s Empty Tank

All credit to Omar Mossad. Predictably, after yesterday’s 108-minute tussle with Rodriguez, he was spent. Marwan ElShorbagy took full advantage, earning games 1 and 2: 11-6, 11-8.

In the third, Marwan made the same mistake his upcoming opponent, Simon Rösner did during Simon’s 1st-Round win – he tried shortening rallies and left balls short. Playing through the pain, Mosaad accepted the gift and strung together some stellar points to extend the match.

A quick study, Marwan altered the game-plan. In the fourth, he returned to playing longer rallies, making Omar work for every ball. It was the right move. ElShorbagy gave up only four points to reach the Quarterfinals of the Qatar Classic for the second straight year.

Marwan ElShorbagy: Credit to Omar he had a tough match yesterday. I’m really happy to get the win – any win over him is a good win. I have to watch the match again to see where I went wrong though to try and improve for tomorrow…The way Simon played with Karim was unbelievable. We played in Shanghai and I had to be super focused on each point. I’ll just have a good sleep on my own and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.