Mohamed El Shorbagy prevailed in the first all-Egyptian final of the Suburban Collection Motor City Open to become the youngest winner of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its 12th year at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills in the US state of Michigan.
The 20-year-old world No9 beat Cairo compatriot Omar Mosaad, ranked six places lower, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 to claim the second Tour title of his brief career to date.
El Shorbagy had a testing route to the final, beating Spain’s 2009 champion Borja Golan in the opening round before going on to overcome hero David Palmer, the 2000 champion and former world number one from Australia, in the semi-finals. With the title, El Shorbagy collected the top prize of an $8,200 cheque and a Rolex watch from Greenstone Jewelers.
“I’m just over the moon at the moment, just so happy right now,” said the jubilant UK-based Egyptian. “This is a very, very special tournament to win. I won my last tournament in last April. This time I’m getting a Rolex watch, and it’s like: ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m really wearing a Rolex watch!’
“I had quite possibly one of the toughest roads of the tournament,” added the champion. “I was really unlucky to get Golan in the first round. He runs a lot and that took me a lot of energy to beat him. Tarek (Momen) was another tough match for me mentally because he’s another Egyptian player.
“And then the semi-final against Palmer,” continued El Shorbagy. “That was a very tough match for me mentally because it was the very first time I played him. So, I think to win this tournament, when you have such a tough road as this, it’s just something to give you really big confidence.
“Today’s match was very, very tough. I wasn’t too sad when I lost the first game because I knew it was a long game, and it took lots of energy out of him. He’s a big guy, and I’m just trying to make the rallies long, long, long. And once I felt he’s tired, I started taking him short. I could see he was tired and couldn’t concentrate that much.”
Tournament spokesman AJ Hakim added: “The pace of game one was indeed torrid, with both players firing hard rails mixed with daring drops. But Shorbagy’s speed, fitness, and exquisite racquet control began to take its toll. By game four, the personable Egyptian was joking with the referee, his confidence swelling as the finish line loomed.”
Runner-up Mosaad explained: “This match today is different because I played against an Egyptian. I play with him all the time in training, so he knows all my strong points and weak points.”
With the event featuring not only an all-Egyptian final, but five players from the troubled country in the field, title sponsor and Suburban Collection CEO David Fisher praised the players for their concentration in the trophy ceremony.
Pointing to the Birmingham Athletic Club banner, featuring the event’s previous winners, El Shorbagy concluded: “I’m just happy to be with all these names up there. They are all really big names: Gaultier, Palmer, Power, White, Darwish.
“So, just to win a tournament like that is something to make me proud.” Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5