Shabana & Elshorbagy Will Meet in ToC Quarterfinal
Defending champion Amr Shabana kept alive his hopes of winning back-to-back J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions titles with a gutsy 3-1 win over compatriot Tarek Momen, the World No.7, in an 85-minute match-up in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal today (Jan 20).
The 34-year-old, who became the oldest ever PSA World Series winner with his 2014 triumph, withstood a ferocious challenge from 27-year-old Momen, currently enjoying his highest ever ranking on the PSA World Tour, as he dug deep and used his wealth of ability and experience to squeeze over the line in a nail-biting encounter.
“All credit to Tarek because I spent every single bit of energy I had to beat him today,” said Shabana. “It took all the experience that I have to beat him and I think the next time we play he’s going to get me.”
Shabana opened up the match with an array of spectacular winners, taking the opening game in the process, but saw his advantage eradicated after a gallant effort from Momen saw him bounce back from squandering numerous game-balls to eventually take the second game 19-17.
“Tarek hides the ball very well, so all I can do is react to the squash he’s playing and wait for my chances,” the former world no.1 noted as he offered his post-match analysis.
The duo continued to trade points in compelling fashion throughout the next two games but it was four-time World Champion Shabana who emerged victorious as the match ended in bizarre circumstances, with both players seemingly disappointed following the referee’s decision to award a stroke that handed the match to the elder man.
“The last point could have been a let, but it’s a win and I’ll take it,” added Shabana. “This match gives me confidence going forward, knowing that I have the physical and mental stamina to win
Shabana will take on another Egyptian, current World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, for a place in the finale when the semi-finals get underway on Thursday January 22. .
Elshorbagy booked his place in the last four with a 3-0 win over World No.12 Borja Golan. In each of the three games, the lead would change hands every point or two, until five all, at which point the world #1 would raise his level of play. Asked what had enabled Elshorbagy to pull away in each game, Golan said, “At the end of each game, he increased the pace and the quality of his shots were just better than mine.”
Results: Quarter-finals (Top Half) – JP Morgan Tournament of Champions Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt  Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 [52m]  Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Amr Shabana (EGY) 6-11, 19-17, 11-8, 11-9 [85m] Draw: Quarter-finals (Bottom Half) – To Be Played Jan 21  Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Simon Rösner (GER) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)