Marwan ElShorbagy is into the semi-finals of the PSA Silver level Manchester Open after downing World No.2 Ali Farag in a scrappy 89-minute affair a the National Squash Centre.
The first game of the match was the longest single game of the tournament, lasting 36 minutes. It was littered with decisions, and was stop-start throughout. Farag saved three game balls, but ‘the Jackal’ was able to convert the fourth to take the advantage.
ElShorbagy improved his game in the second, and had more than enough to counter whatever the 2018-19 World Champion threw at him. The World No.7 took the second game to double his lead in the match.
However, his level would drop in the third, with several errors leading to Farag starting a comeback. The former World No.1 won both the third and fourth by a 11-6 scoreline to level the match, but that was not the end of the drama.
ElShorbagy regained the momentum in the decider by winning the first four points. He then accidentally caught Farag in the face during a swing in the middle part of the game, before a string of reviews late on. The World No.7 eventually secured the first shock of quarter-finals day after 89 minutes of action.
“I have always had a good record against Ali. I expected to win today, but I was very disappointed with the way I played. I need to watch the match again and learn from the mistakes I made,” ElShorbagy said.
“I know the level I could play and I know I could play ten times better than this. I am just happy with the win, but I expected more from myself if I am honest. I was leading in the third and fourth, but it is fine. I need to learn from those mistakes.
“Both guys [Gawad & Rösner] are playing amazing squash. It will be a tough match. I hope they play another five games. Simon, you know what to expect from him, whereas Gawad, you don’t know what to expect from him. If he is playing well, then he is the most talented player on tour. I expect a high quality match. You look at the entire men’s draw, we have had high quality matches all day. It is an amazing line-up.”
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 14-12, 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8 (89m)