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Shorbagy and Welily in double Egyptian ToC triumph

Mohamed Elshorbagy and Raneem El Welily made it a double success for Egypt as they captured the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions World Series titles at Grand Central …

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JP Morgan Tournament of Champions 2015, FINALS:

[3] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1 [5] Alison Waters (Eng) 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-4 (48m)

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 3-1 [3] Nick Matthew (Eng) 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 12-10 (83m)

Elshorbagy Is 2015 ToC Champion

SH1316024-year-old World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy reinforced his position at the top of the squash ladder with an impressive performance in the final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions to see off England’s Nick Matthew 3-1 and claim his fourth major PSA World Series title.

Under the chandeliers in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall the duo, who have developed a testy-rivalry on the tour in the last two years, produced a thrilling spectacle in front of a sold-out crowd with Elshorbagy eventually out-powering the man ten years his elder.

“I told Nick at the end of the match that he is an inspirational player,” said Elshorbagy.

SH13161“He’s the king when it comes to playing tough matches because he seems to come back fresh every day but I’m really pleased with how I played and to get my first title here.

“I wanted to win so badly and I’m proud to see my name join the illustrious list of previous Tournament of Champions winners.”

Matthew started the match in the ascendency and used his wealth of court-craft to take the opening game but Elshorbagy’s ferocious pace and power saw him claw his way back into the match and turn the tide, to establish a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth game Matthew looked en route to levelling the scores once again but saw the opportunity slip from his hands after an unforced error when 9-7 ahead, followed by an unlucky bounce at 9-8, saw Elshorbagy rally and from then on the Bristol-based-Egyptian refused to give in.

SH13165Despite saving one match ball Matthew couldn’t find enough in his locker to hold on as Elshorbagy romped home to complete a memorable night for Egyptian squash in the Big Apple, with Raneem El Welily also taking the women’s title with victory over Alison Waters.

“This has been a very tough week for me mentally,” added Elshorbagy.

“When I saw Raneem win in the women’s final it really inspired me because we both recently lost in World Championship finals even though we both had match balls.

“She showed me that you can rebound and I’m really proud of how I played and that I proved I can come back stronger than before.”

34-year-old Matthew said: “I really enjoyed the match tonight. You get to a stage in your career when you just have to enjoy the experience because you might not have many more of them.”

El Welily Takes ToC Title

SH13162Raneem El Welily became the first Egyptian winner of the Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title she defeated England’s Alison Waters in the final of the WSA International 100 squash event at Grand Central Terminal in New York.

“Relaxed and happy and grateful,” said the third seed from Cairo when asked how she felt after winning the title on only her second appearance in the prestigious WSA World Tour event.

Just under an hour earlier, El Welily was not quite so relaxed. The Egyptian and her fifth-seeded opponent were exchanging the lead almost every other point in the first game, until Waters took the lead after winning the opener at 11-9.

SH13163“I was thinking too much, putting too much pressure on my shoulders,” said Welily of her state of mind in the opening game. In the second game, the world No.2 focused on getting better length on her shots and started pushing her opponent into the back of the court. As in the first, Waters went toe-to-toe with her opponent. Down 5-8, Waters tied the score at eight-all, then nine-all – then 10-all, at which point El Welily played two decisive points to win the second game 12-10.

The sharp-shooting Egyptian entered the third game determined to attack even more and be quicker getting to the ball. “Against a player like Alison, you have to keep the pressure on all the time,” she said. After dropping behind 1-3, Welily found her rhythm, and at four-all reeled off the next seven points to win the game and take the lead.

SH13164In the fourth, the 30-year-old Londoner Waters was visibly tired and made several errors as Welily closed out the match by winning the game 11-4.

“Every tournament is meaningful in its own way,” said El Welily after claiming the eighth – and biggest by far – WSA Tour title of her career.

Just under a month ago, the 25-year-old had been on the verge of winning her first World Championship, but lost all four match-balls that she held. “Winning the first tournament after losing that World Championship means a lot,” Welily observed. “Back home, everyone is really happy!”

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