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Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) and younger brother Marwan (left)

Canary Wharf Classic: Day One - As it Happens

A number of the world's top players are in London this week for the 15th edition of the Canary Wharf Classic – and we'll have reports and reaction from day one of the PSA M100 tournament below.

Today will see a best-of-three games scoring format used in the main draw of a ranking PSA World Tour event for the first time in history, with England's Daryl Selby and Australia's Cameron Pilley – co-hosts of the Comments from the Couch squash podcast – getting the action under way at 18:00 GMT.

Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy follow on 45 minutes later in what looks set to be an exciting clash, as does World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy’s meeting with fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham at 20:00.

Close friends Simon Rösner and Nicolas Mueller bring an end to the opening day of main draw action at 20:45.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Here's the SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Order of Play
(All times are local GMT)

Selby Beats Pilley in Historic Best of Three Match

Daryl Selby (left) v Cameron Pilley (right)

England’s World No.17 Daryl Selby came back from a game down to defeat Australia’s Cameron Pilley in the first ranking main draw match in PSA World Tour history to be played over a best-of-three games format.

The pair are both veterans of the sport and had met seven times previously on the Tour, with Selby leading the head-to-head record 6-1 having won his last three matches against the affable Aussie.

Tonight’s match inside East Wintergarden was played at a medium pace with Pilley the more accurate of the two in the early stages as Selby failed to hit his targets and the 35-year-old World No.20 prevailed in the opening game by an 11-7 margin.

Selby, who this month celebrated his 100th month in the world’s top 20, put some good squash together in the second to go 10-5 up and he held firm to level the scores, despite a resurgence from Pilley seeing him come back to within two points.

Pilley struggled to find his attacking shots as the match wore on and Selby was able to grind out points time and time again to go 9-5 ahead, at which point Pilley entertained the crowd with a sprawling dive before going on to win the point.

But he couldn’t deny Selby from taking the win and the Colchester-based 35-year-old closed out an 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 victory in 48 minutes to move through to the quarter-finals, where he will face either World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy or former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

“Best of three is so different and anyone who said it’s not as physically hard [as best of five] is wrong because there were some really brutal rallies in that and I’m glad I didn’t have to play any longer than three games,” said Selby.

“Noah, my little boy who is five, wished me good luck tonight and I don’t think he’s ever seen me win a match. Every time he’s switched on and watched I’ve lost, so he said he understands why his daddy is going to stop squash soon because he keeps losing.

“I said to him tonight that I would give him a little celebration if I did manage to win, so that one was for Noah.

“Me and Pilley are good friends and we’ve been doing a podcast together, which has been good fun. We’ve known each other for 20 years and it’s always a pleasure to play against him, he’s a great competitor and can hit some unbelievable shots.

“I didn’t know he had diving in his repertoire but he’s a great player and it’s an honour to play in front of a great crowd again because I don’t know how many more years I’m going to get to do it, so I was just trying to enjoy every moment.”

[8] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 2-1: 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 (48m)

ElShorbagy Ousts Rodriguez to Claim Maiden Canary Wharf Win

Marwan ElShorbagy

Current World No.4 Marwan ElShorbagy defeated former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez to claim his first ever victory inside London’s East Wintergarden.

The Bristol-based 24-year-old was appearing at this tournament for the fourth time but was yet to taste victory and had fallen to a shock defeat against World No.38 Lucas Serme in the opening round of last year’s tournament.

However, a comfortable victory in the opening game laid the foundations for a 2-0 victory for the man from Egypt.

ElShorbagy had won two of their previous three meetings on the PSA World Tour and he was very clinical in the opener, choosing some intelligent shots to drag Rodriguez out of position and putting the ball away well when the opportunities arose.

After going a game down, Rodriguez was unable to get the ball away from his opponent’s racket in the early stages of the second, going 5-1 down before he stepped it up and finally displayed the kind of form that he is capable of to force ElShorbagy into an all-out battle.

Some brutal rallies entertained the packed crowd in East Wintergarden as Rodriguez reeled ElShorbagy back in, going game ball up before a captivating tie-break saw the momentum shift back in the Egyptian’s favour and ElShorbagy converted the second of two match balls to earn his place in the last eight.

“To be honest, I think this match would have been more exciting if it was a best of five,” said ElShorbagy.

“I think the crowd loved it and they wanted the match to keep going and I wanted to keep going as well. I played the same way I always play, I didn’t want to do too much, I was just focused.

“I think concentration is the key in best of three and you try not to lose your concentration. Of course, in the second Miguel played really well and came back from 6-2 down and I’m happy to win.

“I’ve played this tournament four times, this is my fifth time and it’s my first win in Canary Wharf. I’m so happy to finally get my first win here and hopefully I can keep going.”

[3] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-0: 11-5, 14-12 (44m)

ElShorbagy Marks Canary Wharf Return with a Win

Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Mazen Hesham (left)

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy ended a five-year absence from the Canary Wharf Classic with a comfortable victory over fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham to set up a quarter-final meeting with either Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner or Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller.

ElShorbagy made his breakthrough at this event back in 2009 when, at the age of 18, he stunned six-time winner Nick Matthew and he marked his first appearance at the prestigious tournament since 2013 with a 2-0 win over World No.32 Hesham.

Hesham showed glimpses of the shot-making talents that have made him one of the most mercurial talents on the PSA World Tour – with one outrageous backhand winner into the nick from the back of the court even drawing applause from his opponent – but he was held at arm’s length for the majority of the match by the world’s most in-form player.

ElShorbagy, who has won seven of his last nine tournaments, took 11-6 victories in both games to make it 27 wins out of the last 28, keeping alive the prospect of a semi-final matchup with younger brother Marwan, which would be a repeat of both the World Championship and Windy City Open finals.

“He’s [Hesham] an amazing player,” said ElShorbagy.

“He got to World No.13 and he had a really bad injury. He’s making his way back and he’s been playing well. Every tournament he’s been getting better and once I saw that I had him in the first round I had to have a special preparation for him because he is very tricky.

“I knew he would be good in a best of three as well because of the shots he plays, so I had to be on my toes and be sharp from the very first point. I’m just really glad my plan worked out in the end.

“I’m really happy both of us [himself and Marwan] won, we’ve both been playing really well recently. We just came back together from Chicago, we had an amazing tournament there.

“I haven’t been here for five years, so I’m really excited to be back here playing. It’s always an amazing crowd to play in front of and I made my breakthrough here when I was 18 years old, when I beat Nick for the first time, so I’ve always had great memories here.”

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-6 (25m)

Rösner Overcomes Best Friend Mueller to Book Quarters Berth

Simon Rösner (right) v Nicolas Mueller (left)

Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner will line up against World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the quarter-finals after he dispatched best friend Nicolas Mueller to extend his winning streak against the World No.18 to eight matches.

Rösner beat Mueller en route to claiming his first ever World Series title in January’s Tournament of Champions in New York and he showed supreme control throughout the 25-minute encounter as he sent Mueller scurrying around the court to amass four game balls before picking him off to take the lead.

A dreaded ‘bagel’ looked to be on the cards for Mueller in the second game as Rösner powered ahead to a 9-0 lead but, with the crowd showing their support for the man from Switzerland, Mueller came back into the contest and brought it back to 10-5, with each point won sending the crowd into raptures.

But an inch-perfect drop from Rösner on the backhand side finally ended Mueller’s resistance and the German player will now aim to end an 11-match winless run against ElShorbagy in the next round.

“I think my heart rate was up there from the start,” said Rösner.

“You’ve got to be there from the beginning, you can’t let your opponent get into it. I was just trying to warm up well, to prepare well mentally and was trying not to give anything away in the first game at least.

“I think in the second I was up 9-0 and I think I lost my focus a little bit, but overall I’m really pleased with my squash today.”

[5] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 2-0: 11-7, 11-5 (25m)

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