Egyptian pair Ramy Ashour and Mohamed Elshorbagy, the No.3 and No.4 players in the world, respectively, will contest the final of the Power Courts World Series Finals at the Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia Thursday.
Elshorbagy booked his place in the final with a 3-2 win over World No.1 Nick Matthew, his second consecutive win over the Englishman having beaten him in the 2013 Qatar Classic final, in a tense and hard-fought battle full of sublime squash action.
“I’m really happy to win today,” said Elshorbagy. “That’s the second time in a row I have beaten him 3-2 and today it was a very tough battle.
“I was really pleased with how I started in the fifth game and I think I broke him down mentally.
“There were some scrappy moments in the match but it’s an individual sport so things are bound to happen on court. We’re both hungry players but whatever happens on court stays on there and after the match we shook hands and he wished me good luck.”
Having already beaten Ashour 2-0 in the round robin best-of-three match phase earlier this week, Elshorbagy will be hoping to make it two-from-two against his elder compatriot and make amends for his defeat to Ashour in the 2012 World Championship in Qatar in what was one of the most exhilarating matches in recent years.
“Playing Ramy in the final is great and I’m really happy that we’ve been able to make it an all-Egyptian final,” he said.
“It’s the first ever all-Egyptian final in the World Series Finals history which is great for our country and I think our matches are always interesting because we’re both such attacking players.
“I will go back and recover now and see how it goes tomorrow. You train to play five tough matches in every tournament so hopefully I can come back and play even better tomorrow.”
Ashour will be looking to add a second World Series Finals title to his trophy cabinet, having won the event in 2007, and looked to be back at his sublime best as he dismantled French World No.2 Gregory Gaultier 3-0 in their semi-final.
“I think when I can beat Greg in three straight games in the form he has been in recently then I can say that I’m almost back at my full potential,” said Ashour.
“I’ve recently come back from injury and it’s still in the back of my head but I [am] happy and glad to play the way I did today.
“The most important thing for me now is to play injury free and to play without any threats and just think about only the ball without any other thoughts entering my mind.”
World Series Finals – Semi-final Results:
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 13-11, 11-8, 11-7 (47 mins)
Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 11-3 (94 mins)
World Series Finals – Final Draw:
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)