El Shorbagy, Momen reach final in Doha

 03 Nov 2017 - 1:21

El  Shorbagy, Momen reach final in Doha
Egypt’s Tarek Momen in action during the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic Squash Tournament at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday. Picture: Anvar Sadat

By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula

World No.3 Mohamed El Shorbagy will be aiming to clinch his third Qatar Classic title when he takes on Egyptian compatriot and World No.7 Tarek Momen in today’s final of the $165m PSA World Series event at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
In yesterday’s semi-final, Mohamed El Shorbagy, who lost in the final of the last edition,  beat top seed and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in straight games to reach the final the Qatar Classic for a fourth tournament in a row.
In the second semi-final, Momen booked his place in his first ever World Series final as he beat Germany’s Simon Rösner 3-0.
The first semi-final between El Shorbagy and the Frenchman was a repeat of the 2015 final, which the Egyptian had won.
The first two games were a touch and go affair. Gaultier erred when in crucial moments to give could El Shorbagy the lead and he grabbed it with both hands to take the first two games. In the third, the Egyptian romped through the third with Gaultier movements hampered by an injury.
The pair have contested one of the most fierce rivalries on the PSA Tour and yesterday’s match was an absorbing contest in the first two sets but turned  into a no-contest in the third.
From there, it was a procession as one point against an ailing Gaultier – making his first appearance of the season after recovering from an ankle injury – to earn his place in the final once again.
“I’m really happy to be back in the final here, it’s where I won my first ever World Series and to be back in my fourth consecutive final is an honour,” said El Shorbagy.
“Last season was tough, but if I want to come back to my World No.1 position again, I have to accept a lot of challenges. You have to accept playing through tough draws, you have to accept playing tough matches and backing them up,” he said.
The second semi-final was the sixth meeting between Momen and Rosner on the PSA World Tour with the German leading in the head-to-head standings 3-2, however, Momen made sure to change that as he produced a stellar performance in  Doha.
With both players looking to reach their first World Series final, it was Momen who dominated, taking a good lead in each of the games, and although Rosner closed the gap in the first two, there was no stopping Momen yesterday.
The 29-year-old Momen -  who had beaten Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar, Australia’s Cameron Pilley and England’s Nick Matthew so far in the tournament – survived a late flurry from Rösner as the German looked to find a way back into the tournament. But it was too late as Momen was relentless to seal a 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 in 40 minutes.
“I was on court and I didn’t think I would get this emotional,” Momen said after the match.
“I have been waiting for this moment for so long but I’m not done here so I don’t know why I’m crying – it’s not over!
“I’m really happy, I can’t believe I’m in my first World Series final – it’s amazing.”
“I’ve been doubting myself a lot the past few years but I always thought that I shouldn’t be written off and I thought I always had the qualities to be here.
“Here and there you lose faith but I was lucky enough to have the right people around me.”
“I just can’t believe it’s happening, I feel I have a good chance now to carry this form out throughout the rest of the season,” he said.
Momen is looking forward to the final against El Shorbagy.
“We haven’t played in a long time now, I think it’s been about two years so I’m really looking forward to it,” Momen said.