El Shorbagy, David reach British open semis

The top-seeded Egyptian mostly nullified the seventh-seeded Colombian’s speed

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Squash World number one Mohamed El Shorbagy moved nearer to a successful defense of the British Open title with a 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 win over Miguel Angel Rodriguez, which carried him to the semi-finals on Friday.

The top-seeded Egyptian mostly nullified the seventh-seeded Colombian’s speed, suggesting that he is adding more thoughtful dimensions to his hustling attacks.

El Shorbagy also responded well during the later stages of each game when Rodriguez began to threaten by gaining energy from the crowd’s enthusiastic responses to his dynamic retrieving.

Each time El Shorbagy kept to the basics of line and length and variations of pace and it usually worked well.

“I just hate losing,” he said. “I hate nothing more in life than losing. So that’s probably why I am number one.”

Karim Gawad beat Marwan El Shorbagy -- the brother of Mohamed -- 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10 in a match delayed by half an hour after a spectator collapsed in the arena.

The other semi-final contains Ramy Ashour, who showed he has revived his injury-wracked career.

The three-times former world champion from Egypt played his best match for a year and a half as he bounced and bounded around the court during a 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 win over his compatriot Ali Farag.

Ashour’s performance was all the remarkable for having come on to the court feeling “a bit stressed” because his taxi was late.

Ashour next has a mouth-watering meeting with Gregory Gaultier, the world champion from France, who moved well during an encouraging 11-1, 11-6, 11-8 win over Simon Rosner, the sixth-seeded German.

It was Gaultier’s first tournament since suffering a bad ankle injury ten weeks ago.

“When I first came here on Monday, I didn’t even know if I could win one match because I couldn’t see the ball, I had no reactions,” Gaultier said.

“When you have to work on your vision you feel like a beginner. So I’m happy to be able to play and to feel no pain.”

Earlier the record-breaking Nicol David raised her level to beat an old rival and reach the semi-finals of the women’s event, boosting hopes that the 32-year-old still has what it takes to win the title for a sixth time.

Certainly David suggested she is taking out insurance against advancing years by developing more of an all-court court game, though her 11-4, 12-14, 12-10, 11-2 win over Omneya Abdel Kawy, the sixth-seeded Egyptian, though her success hinged on her consistency during a pivotal third game.

“I was playing a good game, maybe I stepped back slightly for some of the tighter shots and, after that, I knew I had to force my game so I got tighter and deeper on the crucial points to put my game all together at the end,” said David.

“I’m definitely going in there and learning from my past experience. I am going in stronger, sharper and I am ready to fire on.”
David will seek to do that against the fourth-seeded Nour Sherbini, the 20-year-old Egyptian who won the Tournament of Champions and who won a repeat of that final against Amanda Sobhy of United States by 11-4, 11-7, 14-12.

The other semi-final is between Camille Serme, the defending champion from France, and Nouran Gohar, the 18-year-old world junior champion from Egypt.

Serme played even better than she did while beating England’s Laura Massaro in last year’s final, attacking waspishly in an 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 against her top-seeded opponent, Laura Massaro of England.

Gohar hit hard and deep while beating her friend Raneem El Welily, a recent world number one, by 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9.