Visit IAAF special preview page
Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
Visit IAAF special preview page
Visit IAAF special preview page

Marwan wins battle of brothers, enters semifinal

Top seed Mohamed crashes out of PSA World Championship in Doha, but Egyptian players could still make an impact.
Marwan El Shorbagy Left Returns The Ball To Mohamed El Shorbagy In The Quarterfinals
Marwan El Shorbagy, left, returns the ball to Mohamed El Shorbagy in the quarterfinals. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

In an exciting battle of brothers, Egypt’s Marwan El Shorbagy defeated his elder sibling and top seed Mohamed to complete the semifinal line-up in the Professional Squash Association’s World Championship on Wednesday.

At the Khalifa Squash and Tennis Complex, Marwan won his quarterfinal11-6, 2-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-8 to join his compatriot Tarek Momen, Germany’s Simon Rosner and New Zealand’s Paul Coll in the last-four phase.

With half the semifinalists — Momen and Marwan — hailing from Egypt, there is a strong chance the nation will underline their supremacy in the discipline.

Barring Momen’s way will be Rosner while Coll, who became the first Kiwi in 31 years to reach a World Championship semifinal, is next up for Marwan.

Momen saw off Peru’s Diego Elias 11-6, 13-11, 11-6 in his quarterfinal while Rosner overcame Briton James Willstrop’s challenge 14-12, 11-6, 11-3 and Coll proved too good for Egypt’s Zahed Salem, winning 11-8, 11-9, 11-6.

The day’s last quarterfinal, between Marwan and Mohamed, was a contest worth the wait. Not only did it stretch to five games, it also fluctuated wildly, sending the audience into a tizzy.

Tarek Momen Foreground Proved To Be Too Good For Diego Elias In The Quarterfinal
Tarek Momen, foreground, proved to be too good for Diego Elias in the quarterfinal. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Marwan fired the first warning shot, beating his brother 11-6 in a game filled with drop shots and cunning placements. But he surrendered the advantage in the very next game, going down meekly by an unbelievable 2-11 margin.

But the drama was only just starting. Marwan, shaking himself out of the stupor, once again played like a man possessed and clinched the third game 11-6. Incredibly, Marwan once again lost focus and Mohamed showed no mercy en route to a 11-2 win.

With the quarterfinal evenly poised, the brothers started fighting for each point and it led to some friction between them. Each had words of disagreement with the referee and continuous video referrals were the order of the day.

RESULTS (Quarterfinals)

  • Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0 (11-6, 13-11, 11-6)
  • Simon Rosner (GER) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0 (14-12, 11-6, 11-3)
  • Paul Coll (NZL) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-0 (11-8, 11-9, 11-6)
  • Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 3-2 (11-6, 2-11, 11-6, 2-11, 11-8)

In the end, Marwan, two years junior to 28-year-old Mohamed, clinched the decider 11-8.

The player looked drained after the 59-minute match and said it had been an intense mental battle that he was glad to win.

“It’s rare for me to beat Mohamed. But doing that in Doha, where he’s been a winner thrice and a finalist six times, feels all the more special. It was an intense game. The mental advantage kept swinging back and forth and I’m glad to have emerged winner,” he toldInside Qatar.

The 26-year-old admitted he had a great deal to learn from his elder brother’s playing style.

“After winning the first game, I thought he’d go on the back-foot and become defensive. But he turned the game on its head by doing the exact opposite. He went on the attack and that caught me by surprise. There wasn’t much I could do,” he said.

“I fought back to win the third game and kept saying in my head to not repeat my mistakes. Yet that’s exactly what I did. One doesn’t usually get second chances against Mohamed. I was just lucky. I still have a lot to learn from Mohamed, who’s one of the best players the game has ever seen,” he said.

While the semifinal is scheduled for Thursday, the final of the $335,000 tournament will be on Friday.