R2: Mohamed bows to local hero

[WC] Charlie Lee (Eng) 3-1 [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Eng)  11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 (46m)

I won’t break any secret if I tell you that Mohamed was not at his best physically today. Up to this morning’s physio treatment, he was unsure his leg would hold. But it seemed at the start of the match that the pain had subsided and after a first game testing his movement and losing the opener 11-9 in 13m, giving away 7 points,  the former soon-to-be again world number one came back with a different energy on court.

Attacking well, moving well, finding his length and attacking power, Mo took only 9m to level the games 11/8, only 2 errors, in that game.

But the confidence today was with young Charlie. He had nothing to lose, nothing to prove, nothing to defend. Only find perfect answers to Mohamed’s short game. The former Egyptian was a bit annoyed with his young opponent as he felt a little block at the start of the match. We went through a little “p contest” with the movement, both soon coming back to a normal squash.

Mohamed ‘s errors went up again in the 3rd, 4, only 1 for Charlie, 4/1 for the young Englishman, 5/5, and from that point on, Charlie in front, and physically, Mohamed struggling a bit as I guess he didn’t train much recently…. 11/6 in 8m.

The last game seems to go with the same momentum, from 2/2 to 7/2 Charlie,  but a huge push Bagy’s style, from 9/3, back to 9/10…. But it wasn’t to be for Mohamed, gracious to his young opponent in defeat, embracing him and smiling to him, congratulating him.

“Fram, I don’t want to talk, because I don’t want to talk b…t, I don’t want to give excuses”.

And that, my friends, is class.

“Mo probably wasn’t at his full potential today but I’m very happy with the win. He’s a legend of the sport and I have so much admiration for him and have looked up to him my whole career. I have so much respect for him, he’s probably my first squash idol.

To get the win here is really surreal. Last night was great but tonight, this upset is my best win ever, obviously.

“It nearly didn’t happen at the end. 9-3 to 10-9 was a little shaky. He went into that unstoppable mode and the ball died off a little bit. You saw the way he was coming back, and I thought here we go, he was going into beast mode, even when he wasn’t fully firing.

But I was really happy to protect the lead and get the win in the end. It’s never easy, it was unbelievably tough. He knows how to win. He probably won more matches than anyone.

So many friends and family here, maybe they gave me the extra push I needed at crucial moments, and hearing them, and having their presence there was very special. Also, having my brother at my side, we are very close, that was very special too.

I think that’s testament to the work I’ve been doing for a long time. It all pays off. What an evening!”