QF: Ali 3-0 Mohamed

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0 [6] Mohamed Elshorbagy (ENG)  11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (42m)

After Mohamed’s fiery performance in R3 against Youssef Soliman, all eyes were on him. But if in that match he played at an incredibly fast pace and hitting the ball very hard, today he was playing a much more subdued squash, mid pace, lots of crosscourt lobs, not his usual squash style.

The conditions were tough for the players, the sweat was preventing them from continuous play, and the court cleaners were called several times during the opener – which I thought would be appreciated by Mo. The atmosphere on court was very relax I have to stress, both giving it all but in a smiling atmosphere. 

The players were neck to neck, huge rallies, slow to mid pace, but the work was done, hard work, 2/2, 3/3, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9.

Mo made his second error of the game at that point, underlined by a “YALLA” from his opponent, court cleaning, and with a winner, Ali closed the crucial first game, 18m of extremely hard work.

Mohamed turned the tables at the start of that second, leading 4/1 rather quickly. But as Ali had asked the ref to “watch the movement”, Mohamed started confronting his opponent in Arabic, probably telling him that no, there was nothing with his movement – I’m guessing – and that he would feel the difference if ever he would actually block! The discussion went on for a few minutes, despite the ref trying to stop the word flow! The official went “that’s it, conduct stroke to both players”.

That seemed to work nicely, and Mohamed held his hand to Ali to shake, who was only too happy to seal the peace treaty! And that was the end of the testosterone moment.

Ali had refocused by then, and in only two hands, strung the points up to 11/6, 12m game.

In the third game, Mohamed, who had been running on fumes in my opinion since the middle of the first game, kept fighting but it was like watching a film in slow motion. Never gave up. But trying to catch his breath by lifting the ball as much as he could. Ali kept applying pressure on the wound, and from 3/1 Mo, it was 11/6 in 8m, Mo making 6 unforced errors in that game alone…


I’m very happy with the way I played today. I only decided to play again two days ago.

My aim today was to stay on court as long as possible so even when I was 10/4 down match ball, I wanted him to give me more and more and more, and I want to keep going and stay on court.. The more I’ll be on court, the better it will be for me.

I’m very glad with my actions in this event because in the last events, it was so bad. I know I lost 3/0, but I stood in the match and fought, I didn’t give a single point away. I haven’t done that for the past few months now.

And that was my aim today. Stay on court, and fight, fight, fight.

I’m not going to talk about what happened in the match, how I played, how he played, that was the last thing on my mind. Of course, I made some mistakes, I’m sure he could tell you himself the things he can improve too. But that was not what it was all about tonight.

I fought. I kept telling myself, stay positive, stay positive, you need to play more matches right now, I need to keep doing this for the next couple of months.


“The first game was crucial, giving myself a boost. And Karim Darwish played a role in that too.”

“I’m very very, very happy, proud and relieved. Drawing Mohamed in the quarter-final is a nightmare. I had to live through it through my birthday last night and all I was thinking was on my birthday was ‘Mohamed ElShorbagy’ – what a fun birthday! As much as I love him, I want to spend my birthday with my wife and family.

“Which I did. We sent with my family to visit the New Marina, spoke about a lot of things, what I have achieve in my life, where I am going, nothing about squash, had a lovely day. But woke up this morning stressed again!

“I can’t even pronounce that word stressed because of how stressed I am! I haven’t been this nervous going into a match in so long, and I don’t know why – well, I do know why, I’m up against the best of our generation. He’s hungry as ever and he’s fresh as well.

“I told him at the end that I hope I’ll never have to play him again in a quarter final ever again, and he replied that hopefully we will meet in the final of the Worlds in two weeks…

“When you play at our age in the latter tournaments maybe you can take advantage of someone being a little tired but he’s coming in fresh and hungry and coming up with different tactics.