El Shorbagy crowned champion
04 Nov 2017 - 0:00
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
World No.3 Mohamed El Shorbagy experienced a few hiccups in the all–Egyptian clash to pick up his third Qatar Classic title here yesterday in Doha as he steam rolled over first-time finalist Tarek Momen in three games to one.
At the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, El Shorbagy took a little over an hour to set aside the challenge of the World No. 7 winning 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7 in the PSA World Series event.
The final, the sixth all-Egyptian Qatar Classic final since 2008, started with both the players matching each other, but El Shorbagy broke free at a crucial moment and when it mattered the most taking the first game.
In the second, Momen stretched his higher ranked opponent to the limit and managed to win after a close fight.
Thereafter, 26-year-old El Shorbagy restored order in the third to take a decisive lead and wrapped up the title by pocketing the fourth to clinch the title and add to his wins in 2013 and 2015.
The win extended El Shorbagy’s head-to-head record against Momen to 8-3 and made him richer by $24,225 while Momen had to contend with the cheque of $14,820.
“I’m extremely proud of how I performed this week at this event,” said El Shorbagy.
“When I saw the draw pre-event I knew it would be tough. I had to play the World No.9, the No.5, the No.1 and the No.7 to win, but playing tough opponents is the challenge that I live for. To be the best you have to beat these players.
“At the end of the day you want to challenge yourself against the best. Backing it up mentally each day was not easy - but I’m really happy. Last season I didn’t play like a winner - this week I feel like I played at my best level and that was my focus coming here.”
After dropping the second game El Shorbagy looked to be up against it in the third as Momen, utilising his speed and agility, attacked in the mid-stages to string together a series of punishing rallies.
But the Bristol-based player showed just why he has won 28 PSA World Tour titles - 14 of which have come at World Series level - as he dug in with dogged determination to come through a crucial stage of the match and complete the win.
“This week I got it right and I felt I played the big points well,” said El Shorbagy.
“What made the difference today was my experience. I have been in so many finals. But it was his first. I knew the emotions he was going through.
“I was trying to contain him but at times he was like a train - I just couldn’t stop him. When he took the second game it was a big blow for me. He really pushed me and I feel this is just the beginning for him. If he can keep that momentum, he’ll be hard to stop.
“But today it didn’t matter how tired I was - it was about how much I wanted to win. I just killed myself on every shot and I’m so happy to have won.”
After the match Momen said: “It’s been an incredible week for me. I didn’t know what to expect coming here and making my first ever World Series tournament final was very special. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose but think it was a good match.”
Nasser Ghanem Al Khelaifi, President of Qatar Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation (QTSBF) gave away the trophies and the prize money in the presence of Tareq Darwish Zainal, Tournament Director and other officials from PSA.