The Egyptian now plays Gregory Gaultier of France for a spot in the final

Mohammed El Shorbagy of Egypt did not let respect for his mentor come in the way as he overwhelmed the former World No.1 Karim Darwish 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3 in the quarterfinals of the PSA Masters squash tournament at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Friday.

In an intense battle that was often spectacular for the furious pace of rallies, the two-time world junior champion, El Shorbagy revealed a compact game with a nice blend of power, precision and a fine touch, to pull through from one-game all and 5-5 in the third game.

The 20-year-old El Shorbagy reeled off 15 points on the trot, helped as much by uncharacteristic unforced errors from the 30-year-old Darwish as by his own skill, to clinch the third game and take a 9-0 lead in the fourth.

It was an anti-climax for the anxious spectators glued to their seats. El Shorbagy did not have much time to worry about the prospective victory as he then wrapped up that fourth game in just five minutes.

Having lost to the second-seeded Darwish in all of their four previous meetings, including a 13-15 defeat in the fourth game recently, Shorbagy was at a loss for words after the match.

“Once I finished the last point, I couldn't believe that I had won. I am so happy, and I have so much respect for him, for helping me raise my game before I won the world junior title.

“I will always be thankful to him,” said El Shorbagy.

He was pretty sharp through the match, and won as many as four of six video reviews, one of which denied Darwish a game-point in the first game.

Showing class

Darwish, the finalist in the last two tournaments, was a class act in winning that second game as he cut the pace and relied more on deception, but could not sustain the good work for long against the hungry young man looking for that first breakthrough against him.

The five-time British junior champion, who has a base in Bristol and rarely visits his home in Alexandria, El Shorbagy will face another former No.1, Gregory Gaultier of France in the semifinals.

Easy outing

Gaultier did not have to sweat much, outplaying Laurens Jan Anjema of the Netherlands.

Having scraped through in five games, after trailing 0-2 the last time against the Dutchman, Gaultier ran up 6-0 and 5-0 leads in the first two games.

An aspirant for the No.1 rank, James Willstrop of England got past compatriot Daryl Selby, to be ready for a dream date against another former world No.1, Ramy Ashour of Egypt. 

It was not to be, as Ashour faded away after an energetic start.

After leading 7-5 in the second game, he was not the same player, as he limped around at times, possibly with a right hamstring pull.

The results (quarterfinals):

Gregory Gaultier(Fra) bt Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) 11-5, 11-2, 11-5; Mohammed El Shorbagy(Egy) bt Karim Darwish (Egy) 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3; James Willstrop (Eng) bt Daryl Selby (Eng) 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5; Peter Barker (Eng) bt Ramy Ashour (Egy) 11-13, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1.

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