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Sherbini and Shorbagy make it an Egyptian
double in Grand Central
It was double success for Egypt
in New York as Nour El Sherbini beat home favourite Amanda Sobhy to
claim her first World Series title and Mohamed Elshorbagy retained
his title with victory over Nick Matthew in a repeat of last year's
ToC final ...
seed Nour El Sherbini ended the magic carpet ride that had
been Amanda Sobhyís journey through the J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions, but not before these two newly minted stars
of womenís squash threw down the gauntlet on the glittering glass
court in front of a sold out crowd in Grand Central Terminalís
vaunted Vanderbilt Hall.
ďNour came out firing from the very start,Ē said Sobhy, the
hometown favorite. who fell behind in the first game early on and
never caught up.
The second was nip and tuck all the way through with the lead
exchanging hands every few points until Sobhy evened the match by
winning the game 11-9.
In the third, El Sherbini once again raced out to an early lead,
scoring the first five points and then taking an 8-4 lead.
Just as she had done all week, the American stepped up to quicken
her attack, and hitting the ball to better length in the back of the
court, evened the score at eight all. At that point, it was
anybodyís game. A tinned boast at 10 all by Sobhy gave her Egyptian
opponent the lead which El Sherbini converted to a game win on the
very next point.
nerveless El Sherbini, coached by three time ToC champion Amr
Shabana, again shot out to a commanding lead at 6-1 and then 8-4 in
the fourth. Sobhy, whose competitive will is one of her great
strengths, fought back to 7-8.
Her 20-year-old opponent was unfazed and allowed Sobhy just one more
point before laying claim to one of the sportís most prestigious
ďNour was at the top of her game tonight,Ē said Sobhy after the
match. ďShe was able to keep her position in front for most of the
match and made almost no errors.Ē
Completely spent after the match, the 22-year-old Long Island native
acknowledged that ĒThis has been one of the best weeks of my life
- getting to the finals here, with the incredible support of the
crowds at every match.Ē
after winning the biggest title of her career to date, the
youngest-ever ToC champion whose steely court composure belies her
years, was charmingly at a loss for words when asked how she felt.
ďI donít know what to say. Itís weird and amazing and
incredible,Ē said El Sherbini with a huge smile.
"Itís an unbelievable feeling, I canít express it, words canít describe how Iím feeling now. This one is really
special and to win it is something that Iím never going to forget.
Iím really glad that I won this year, Iím really happy."
and incredible could also describe the menís championship match that
followed between defending champion and world no. 1 Mohamed
ElShorbagy and three-time world champion Nick Matthew.
Theirs is a compelling rivalry and coming into the ToC finals, the
Egyptian had a slight edge Ė 8-7 Ė in career match wins against the
The two strongest- willed competitors on the PSA Menís World Tour
did not disappoint the standing room only crowd as they battled for
91 minutes to earn the right to hoist the ToC trophy..
at 35 the oldest player on tour, was still on the comeback trail
after a surprise knee surgery in June that took him out of
commission for six weeks during the important summer training
ĒMy goal for this week was primarily to prove that I am still
a contender,Ē Matthew said. The proof was on the court as he
struck first to win the opening game 11-8.
ElShorbagy, who had briefly lost his hunger for the game this past
fall after experiencing the sustained pressure of being the top
ranked player for a year, had returned to the ToC with his passion
restored and it was on full display in the second game as ElShorbagy
took command to win it 11-6.
third was anybodyís game with the lead exchanging hands several
times until ElShorbagy closed it out at 11-8.
Matthew roared back in the fourth, taking a 7-3 lead and winning the
game 11-6. Matthew took a quick early lead at 2-1 and 4-1 in the
deciding game, but ElShorbagy was not to be denied as he stormed
back and out to a 6-4 and then went up 10-5 before claiming his
second ToC crown with an 11-6 fifth game victory.
his remarks during the trophy presentation, the two-time ToC
champion said, "I think thatís the best Iíve seen him play so far
this season and Iím really glad to see him back at his best again
because the game needs him and he is very important for the game. I
want to congratulate him for his great performance.Ē
The just-turned-25 year old added, ďBut I knew that I had to
beat Nick tonight. He had already beaten my brother Marwan and I
didnít want him to beat both of us in the same tournament."
"Nick and myself always have such great battles. I told him after
the match that itís always an honour to play him in a World Series
final and I was really happy to get my second title here.
enjoyed the match today and I look forward to having more great
battles with him in the future.
Itís a great start for me to 2016 and Iím glad," concluded
Elshorbagy, after winning his third World Series title in three
months and strengthening his lead at the top of the World Series