Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy is through to the last 16 of the PSA Platinum level Qatar Classic after dispatching former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in straight games at the. Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.
The pair had met on the PSA World Tour eight times prior to this clash, but their last meeting came three years ago at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, where ‘the Jackal’ took the win.
After some lengthy early exchanges, ElShorbagy was able to take control of the first game. With some decisions going against the former World No.1, the Egyptian took advantage of Gaultier’s frayed mental state to secure an early lead in the clash.
Simply magnificent from
maelshorbagy</a> & Gregory Gaultier!! <br><br>This rally just went on and on! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/QatarClassic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#QatarClassic</a> <a href="https://t.co/BsdkVrvlCb">pic.twitter.com/BsdkVrvlCb</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) November 2, 2020
Gaultier came out fighting at the start of the second game, winning four of the first five points, but ElShorbagy soon turned the game its head, winning ten straight points to double his advantage in the match.
ElShorbagy’s mental state was totally different to that of his last outing on the PSA World Tour, as he lost his way against Tarek Momen in the semi-finals of the CIB Egyptian Open last month. That helped his to secure the victory in straight games here in Doha, booking his place in the last 16 of the Qatar Classic, where he will face German No.2 Raphael Kandra.
“When I saw the draw, I knew that playing him would be really tough. Mentally, it is the toughest first match you can get because of what he has achieved,” ElShorbagy explained.
“I watched him in 2006 when he played the World Championships and he is someone who really inspired me. He was my role model, he still is my role model.
“I admire what he has done for the game and just seeing the way he moves, the way he plays.. For me, he is one of the greatest players of all time! I am really happy to be on court with him. It is a pleasure for me and I hope that we see him for many years to come.
“All the players are grateful to the Qatar Squash Federation for hosting this event at this time. Every year we come back here, they welcome us really well. To put on an event at this particular time, it means a lot to me and I believe it means a lot to all of the players. We are very thankful, and it is one of those events that has so much history. It is a title that we all want to win.”
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [WC] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-6 (40m)