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Motor City Open 2014
23-28 Jan, Detroit, Usa, $70k

28-Jan, Final:
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
3-2 [3] Peter Barker (Eng)
             8/11, 12/14, 11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (92m)

Shorbagy comeback secures second title
James Hawkins reports

Entering this year's 15th Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection, only one player had won it twice — retired Canadian squash legend Jonathon Power.

Egyptian World #4 Mohamed Elshorbagy added his name to that short list Tuesday night after rallying from behind to defeat World #8 Peter Barker in an epic, five-game championship match.

After two games before a standing room only crowd at the Birmingham Athletic Club, however, it appeared Barker might be crowned the new champion. The Englishman’s short game was working to perfection and his dogged defensive retrievals were stifling Elshorbagy’s offense. It didn’t help that Elshorbagy struggled with his stroke, tinning four shots in Game One and five more in the second – twice when he had game ball.

“Peter played so well in the beginning of the match. It wasn’t his length game that surprised me, but his short game. His short game has improved a lot,” Elshorbagy said. “Losing the second game that way was really tough, but I came back and told myself I have to find a way to win."

Elshorbagy’s personal pep talk worked as he mounted his comeback with better shot-making, racing out to a 5-2 lead in Game Three and sealing it on a backhand nick rollout and a pair of unforced errors from Barker.

In Game Four, Elshorbagy stormed out to a 5-0 lead as threw a relentless mix of drop shots and deep-corner rails that Barker couldn’t reach. Barker tied it at 5-all, but Elshorbagy went on another run – hammering long rails and flicking drop shots that Barker was a step slow to retrieve. In just his second tournament back after a November calf injury, Barker looked spent. Elshorbagy closed out the game at 10-5 as Barker hit a backhand into the tin.

To an ovation from the crowd, the two sportsmen shook hands before squaring off for the deciding Game Five.

Much like Game Four, Elshorbagy rolled to an early 5-0 lead behind a pair of backhand winners and a series of drop shots. His lead ballooned to 7-1 before a determined Barker clawed back in with a pair of ridiculous drop shots and several unforced errors from Elshorbagy.

Clinging to a 7-6 lead, Elshorbagy responded with a pair of winners – then closed out his eighth career PSA title on a drop shot and drive into the back right corner that Barker was unable to corral.

“After I had that lead in the third game, my length started getting better and my confidence came back as well, so I had more options to go short,” said Elshorbagy “But credit to Peter for coming back the way he did from the injury he had. It was such a fair match and I’m happy this tough battle was as close as it was.”

As runner-up, Barker took home a check worth $8,000.

“As the game went on, my body started breaking down a little bit. I need my movement because retrieving and making my movement hurt people is my game. But more credit to him because he stuck in there and upped the pace,” Barker said.

For his efforts Elshorbagy won $11,000 in prize money and a $9,000 Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch — courtesy of Greenstone’s Jewelers.

“I’m happy to win my second Rolex now,” said 23-year-old Elshorbagy, who also won the MCO in 2011.

“It’s an amazing feeling knowing the only other player who has won this tournament twice is Jonathon Power. It’s such an honour to put my name up there with him.”


Two titles. Two Rolex !



full finals report

Motor City Open 2014
23-28 Jan, Detroit, Usa, $70k
Round One
25 Jan
26 Jan
27 Jan
28 Jan
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy)
 11-2, 11-6, 11-5 (30m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (fra)
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy
11/9, 11/8, 11/7
[Q] Olli Tuominen
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy

11/6, 12/14, 11/3 rtd (46m)
[4] Amr Shabana
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy


 8/11, 12/14, 11/4, 11/6, 11/7 (92m)


[3] Peter Barker

[6] Tarek Momen (Egy)
13-11, 7-11, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8 (82m)
[Q] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
[5] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 (90m)
Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
[5] Omar Mosaad
11/7, 11/9, 12/10
[4] Amr Shabana
[4] Amr Shabana (Egy)
11-5, 18-16, 11-2 (61m)
[Q[ Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy)
Mathieu Castagnet (Fra)
11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-1 (89m)
[3] Peter Barker (Eng)
[3] Peter Barker
11/7, 11/6, 5/11, 11/7
[7] Miguel Angel Rodriguez
[3] Peter Barker

 11/7, 11/6, 11/5 (48m)

[8] Cameron Pilley
Saurav Ghosal (Ind)
 11-7, 6-11, 12-10, 12-14, 11-7 (111m)
[7] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col)
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa)
11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (36m)
[8] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
[8] Cameron Pilley
11/3, 14/16, 12/10, 11/6
[2] Karim Darwish
[Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
 12-10, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)
[2] Karim Darwish (Egy)

24-Jan, Qualifying Finals:

Omar Abdel Meguid (EgyY) bt Chris Simpson (Eng)         12-10, 11-2, 11-7 (38m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra) bt Max Lee (Hkg)       13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 2-11, 11-9 (81m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy) bt Henrik Mustonen (Fin) 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-7
Olli Tuominen (Fin) bt Ryan Cuskelly (us)            14-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (87m)

23-Jan, Qualifying Round One:

Chris Simpson (Eng) bye 
Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) bt Supreet Singh (Ind)          
12-10, 11-2, 11-8 (23m)
Max Lee (Hkg) bt Christopher Gordon (Usa)         
15-17, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 (61m)
Gregoire Marche (Fra)  bye
Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy) bt Eddie Charlton (Eng)  
11-3, 9-11, 11-4, 11-6 (52m)
Henrik Mustonen (Fin) bt Muhd Asyraf Azan (Mas)          
11-9, 11-5, 11-5 (30m)
Ryan Cuskelly (Aus) bt Shahier Razik (Can)
                   11-9, 11-8, 11-9 (54m)
Olli Tuominen (Fin)   bye

27-Jan, Semis:
Shorbagy finally gets his win as
Barker breezes past Pilley

Mohamed Elshorbagy has always dreamed about the day he would earn his first victory over his idol and fellow Egyptian Amr Shabana - he even tweeted in the buildup "nobody beats me nine times in a row".

That prediction came true in the semifinals of the Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection, but it wasn’t as satisfying as any of the scenarios Elshorbagy had ever envisioned
At the conclusion of the third game, Shabana —playing his eighth match in 10 days — hunched over, embraced Elshorbagy and explained that he couldn’t go any further because he felt light-headed.

His retirement gave top seed and World #4 Elshorbagy the match 11/6, 12/14, 11/3 rtd.

"It's a sad end for the crowd, because the match was a very high quality," said Mohamed. "I want to congratulate Shabanafor an amazind two weeks, he played unbelievable squash and the tour is always happier when he plays better."

Elshorbagy moves on to Tuesday’s final at 6:30 p.m. where he will face third seed and World #8 Peter Barker of England for the champion’s share of the $70,000 purse and a Rolex watch courtesy of Greenstone’s Jewelers.

Barker turned in an impeccable performance as he despatches surprise semifinalist Cameron Pilley in straight games 11/7, 11/6, 11/5.

"If anyone had told me two weeks ago I'd be in the quarters of one major tournament followed by the semis of another I'd have bitten their hand off," said a not too downhearted Pilley, who looked far from relaxed as Barker's shots stretched the Aussie and made the court seem much bigger even for Pilley's considerable frame.

"If you get the ball onto his racket he cranks it and hits it so clean," explained Barker, so I was trying to lift it a bit, stretch him and make him hit outside his comfort zone.

"Physically I'm in good shape and I didn't make any errors today, but tomorrow will be different because Shorbagy is #4 in the world now and he's playing great, I'll have to raise my game again."

Full semi-final report

(courtesy of
Marwan El Shorbagy)

26-Jan, Quarters:
Egyptian finalist assured in Motor City
as Pilley down Darwish

Egypt will again be well represented in the semifinals of the 2014 Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection.

One year after an All-Egyptian semifinal, top seed Mohamed Elshorbagy and defending champion Amr Shabana claimed two of the four spots in the semis after advancing through Sunday’s quarterfinals.

Elshorbagy was first to take his place, ousting qualifier Olli Tuominen of Finland in straight games to reach the semis for the fourth year in a row.

It wasn't total success for Egypt though as Cameron Pilley claimed a significant scalp as he beat second seed and former champion Karim Darwish for the first time.

The hard-hitting Aussie will face third seed and World #8 Peter Barker of England — who beat Colombian World #13 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in four games — in the other semifinal.

Full quarter-final report

25-Jan, Round One:
Olli joins seven seeds
in Michigan quarters

The opening round of the 15th Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection, offered the tourney’s most competitive field ever. How strong? Nine of world’s top-15 squash players (five of them former champions) were in action at the Birmingham Athletic Club outside Detroit Saturday.

Defending champion Amr Shabana, Malaysian Ong Beng Hee (2012 winner), Egyptians Mohamed Elshorbagy (2011) and Karim Darwish (2010), and Finnish qualifier Olli Tuominen (2007) all kicked off their quest to join retired Canadian squash legend Jonathon Power as the only players to win the MCO title twice.

And each of the former champs cleared his first hurdle except for Beng Hee, whose bid was cut short by Egyptian World #10 Omar Mosaad in five long games: Top seed Elshorbagy (World #4), second-seeded Darwish (World #9) and fourth-seeded Shabana (World #9) all rolled in straight games.

Full round one report

Qualifying  complete in Michigan

Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid has been making quite a first impression at the 15th Motor City Open, presented by The Suburban Collection.

After his quick, 30 minute victory in Round One of Qualifying Thursday night, Abdel Meguid downed England’s Chris Simpson, the top-ranked qualifier and World #25, in straight games Friday in the Qualifying finals: 12-10, 11-2, 11-7.

Abdel Meguid was one of four players that won spots in Saturday’s Main Draw. France’s Gregoire Marche, Egypt’s Marwan Elshorbagy, and veteran Olli Tuominen of Finland also advanced.

Full qualifying finals

Qualifying under way in Michigan

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan — The strongest Qualifier field in the history of the 15th Motor City Open presented by The Suburban Collection, took to the Birmingham Athletic Club courts Thursday with their sights set on gaining one of four spots in the Main Draw to start Saturday.

By next Tuesday a new MCO champion will be crowned, taking home his share of the $70,000 purse and a Rolex watch courtesy of Greenstone’s Jewelers.

And while temperatures were bone-chilling outside, the action inside the BAC sizzled as 10 of the world’s best squash professionals battled it out.

Full Qualifying Round One report 

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