Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 2-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (49m)
That whole match was played on two points…
After an excellent start from Abou, profiting from a sluggish start from Mohamed, the body just not ready mentally for the hard word in waiting, the former number 1 found his way back in the second game.
First game was 8m and 4 errors from Mohamed against 1 for Abou, but the second was about to change the momentum completely.
Mohamed still made some mistake, credit to Abou that was playing sublime attacks and counterdrops, pushing each other in the four corners, but no real huge rallies.. 2/2, 5/5, 7/7 8.8.
Mohamed knew how desperately he needed that one, and at 8/9, just backup into his opponent. It’s completely allowed and legal, but you normally only do it when you are running out of options…. Stroke, 9/9.
Another try for a cheap stroke, exaggerating the swing, stroke says the ref, let says the video ref…
Finally a long rally between the two, if Abou can win that point, the pressure on Mohamed will be immense. But it’s a tin. Basically, in my head, I’m saying “match over”…
Mohamed, looking at Hadrian Stiff, his coach for what, 10 years, and closed that game in 13 quick minutes, 11/9, with less winners than his opponent, 5 for 6 Abou. But the mental war is won.
You know, that’s what the players mean when they state “I played the crucial points better”. They just do.
Abou, flat in the third, knowing he probably would have had a great chance of taking Mohamed down had he taken that crucial second, is overplayed, 9m, 10/4, 11/6 – although not going mad with tins, just flat.
The fourth, closer but now Mohamed is fully confident and moving extremely well. 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5. From that point on, Mohamed is leading and will close it in 13m 11/7, with Abou never looking in a position to threaten his opponent enough to take him out of his comfort zone…
I had a good start playing solid lines and waiting for the right opportunity. But in the second, I thought Ok, I think I can win this, and probably, I was wrong to think it that early! I went too short…
End of the second game, I guess it would have been very different if I had closed it, but that’s what Mohamed is the best at, coming back, seeing the smallest space, and going for it.
But overall, happy with my squash this week, and I cannot wait for the next part of the season..
It was a very interesting match in terms of tactics, me and Hadrian Stiff were speaking before the match about slowing it down a bit and then I found myself not being able to take a point in the first game.
After the first game, I thought the court doesn’t take the slow pace very well, so I thought I would whack it like him and let’s see who whacks it better. There was a very crucial time in the second game when we were both 9-9 and I think after that game when I won it, I got into him mentally and physically a little bit.
That’s the time when I pushed really hard at the beginning of the third, just to show him that it was going to take a marathon if you want to get through it and I think I got into him a bit mentally in that third.
He has been out for a while with a shoulder injury and what a shame because he was playing really well at the end of last season and this is the first time this tournament when I started to see him back to his best again and it’s a pleasure to watch him at his best because he is a very unique player, different to other Egyptians and having him back on Tour is good for the sport.
The tournament is far from over, but every season when I do well I have never had a team around me that has told me I have done well, it’s always a team around me that have looked at what I have done wrong this season and that’s what I think has always got me to the top of my game. I’m playing my fourth final in five tournaments this season, it’s what I always require from myself coming back every year. I’ve been trying to stay as consistent as I can and being in finals is what I live for.