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Squash: Elshorbagy, Massaro triumph in Qatar Classic

Mohamed Elshorbagy and Laura Massaro lifted the trophies in Doha. Photo: PSA.

Mohamed Elshorbagy and Laura Massaro lifted the trophies in Doha. Photo: PSA.

November 7, 2015: Men’s World No. 1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and women’s World No. 3 Laura Massaro won the finals at the Qatar Classic, the second PSA World Series event of the 2015-16 season.

 

Massaro, 32, beat 20-year-old Egyptian Nour El Sherbini 3-2 (11-8, 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9) in a breathtaking 73-minute battle in Doha, two weeks after the English star won the season-opening Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia.

 

El Sherbini raced into an early lead in the decider at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex, before a succession of lets and strokes halted her rhythm and allowed Massaro to find her way back.

 

Massaro hit a delightful volley drop at championship ball to wrap up a victory that strengthened her lead at the top of the Road to Dubai Standings and cut the gap between herself and Raneem El Welily and Nicol David in the world rankings.

 

“There’s a lot of great names on that trophy so it’s a great feeling to know that my name will go along side them now. It’s amazing to win another major trophy. I’m over the moon. Physically and mentally I feel in a really good place at the moment,” Massaro said.

 

“I think that there was a little bit of a change in tactical plan in the end and then a bit of a momentum shift and it was enough to carry me over the line in that fifth game. There was only three or four points left at that point and I don’t think that there was enough time for her to adjust to that.”

 

Elshorbagy, 24, claimed a second consecutive Qatar Classic title with an assured 3-1 (11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10) triumph over World No. 3 Gregory Gaultier to avenge his semi-final defeat in the US Open, which the Frenchman went on to win.

 

Elshorbagy reached the Qatar final without dropping a single game all tournament and he capitalised on his freshness to pounce on a tired-looking Gaultier, who had flirted with elimination against Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarters, coming back from 2-0 down, and Mazen Hesham in the semis.

 

Elshorbagy is in peak form as he heads into the year’s biggest tournament, the PSA Men’s World Championship, which begins on November 15 in Bellevue, Washington.

 

“This is my fourth year in a row to make it to the final in Qatar,” said Elshorbagy, referring to the 2012 and 2014 World Championships in Doha and 2013 Qatar Classic.

 

“I’m just glad I was able to play the whole week here and I’m glad I could win the title just one week before the World Championship. It’s an important win and for sure it’s a confidence boost for me for that tournament.”

 

Source: PSA (https://psaworldtour.com/); Editing by SportAsia

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