Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-1  Ali Farag 6-11, 11-9, 11-5, 12-10 (61m)
“This match was a test for both of us”, smiled Mohamed at the end of the match. And yes, it was. And today, it was the former-soon to be back-to-number-1 that passed it….
Both tired from the US Open, Mohamed having won San Francisco as well days before that, while Ali was just back from an historical win in that same US Open, with wife Nour El Tayeb, both being underdogs, plus a huge match in the semis against up and coming/arrived Diego Elias.
Ali started extremely well, it has to be said, while Mohamed was pushing just a bit too hard in the opening game: 4 errors from Mohamed in 6 points, that’s unusual. Ali took full advantage of it, 2/2 to 5/2, 8/3, 9/5, 11/6 in 14m. Ali seemed in control, fit and moving like a cat. Five winners for each, difference was in the errors, 5 for Mohamed, 1 for Ali, plus a stroke.
The second sees Mohamed play an incredible 10 winners for 2 errors, 7 winners for Ali, 1 error. It’s a superb game, truly and utterly. Mohamed stretches Ali’s body to the limit, and makes him work a tremendous amount that will pay off in the end.
3/0 for Mohamed, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5. Incredible rallies and I cannot prevent myself from thinking about those incredible matches Mohamed and Ramy had over the years. This is the same quality of variety, intensity, amazing squash. And I’m enjoying every second of it.
Mohamed is ahead once again, 8/5, Ali sticks to him like glue, 8/8. A game ball saved for Ali, but it’s Mohamed that levels it, 11/9 in 14m. That was the turning point of the match. Ali needed that game. Both mentally and physically…
The third will see Ali make 7 errors for 4 winners, while Mohamed made only one, and only 3 winners. He didn’t need more did he… From 7/5, Mohamed will zoom to 11/5, 10m. Ali looks down and out.
But like he did in the 5th yesterday against Diego, out of the blue, Ali finds his movement back, his attacks are back and his squash back. Walking all over Mohamed, he shoots 6/1, 8/4. Surely we are on for a decider.
Mohamed doesn’t think so, and gives it a big, huge push. He sends Ali in the four corners, back and forth, again and again. And stretches him again, and again, and again.
Still, Ali gets two game balls, 10/8, one of the most incredible rallies I have seen over the years, with Ali eventually clipping the tin, 9/10.
Then a quick ridiculous lucky funny what the heck was that shot from Mohamed who quickly goes “if I was you, I would be really pissed of right now”. A huge smile from Ali….
10/10, a stroke to add insult to injury – it’s an image – and a quick winner to finish, it’s 12/10 in 17m, and an superb/dramatic/magnificent finish for an incredibly high quality match between two clean and fair champions.
Boys, it’s an honour to have witnessed that match, and to know you. See you next week in Qatar Inshallah…