Egypt’s World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy has reached the final of the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill following a 3-1 victory over World No.8 Mohamed Abouelghar in Weybridge, England.
The two players have met six times previously on the PSA Tour, with ElShorbagy taking all of those victories and today proved no different as the Bristol-based Egyptian showed his mental fortitude to come from a game down against 26-year-old Abouelghar and reach his fourth final of the season.
Both players were pushed to five in their quarter-final fixtures, with ElShorbagy in particular being pushed to his limits by India's World No.11 Saurav Ghosal with the Egyptian having to save match ball in a 85-minute titanic tussle.
Abouelghar, who was playing in his first semi-final of the season after struggling with a shoulder injury, began the match strongly to race into a 7-0 lead before a sluggish ElShorbagy was able to get his first point on the board. The World No.8 then kicked on to take a comfortable first game, 11-2, and looked to be in the driving seat.
ElShorbagy fought back with dogged determination in the second, when with the scores tied at 9-9, he kicked on to take the second and draw back level and Abouelghar's best chance of really putting the pressure on his compatriot seemed to fade away.
28-year-old ElShorbagy continued to step further up the court and looked back to his old self as he roared himself to victory to close out a 2-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 win in 49 minutes with Abouelghar struggling to match the mental and physical strength of the former World Champion.
ElShorbagy will face either New Zealand’s World No.5 Paul Coll or Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the final of the PSA World Tour Gold event.
“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,” said ElShorbagy afterwards.
“After the first game, I thought the court doesn’t take the slow pace very well, so I thought I will 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. 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 because he is a very unique player, different to other Egyptians, and having him back on tour is good for the sport.
“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. 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 and that’s what I think has always got me to the top of my game.”
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-1: 2-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (49m)