Elshorbagy and Laura march ahead in style

Published: Wed 25 May 2016, 9:50 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 May 2016, 11:51 PM

Mohamed Elshorbagy showed fans here why he is considered the 'Pharaoh of Squash' while demolishing the 'Colombian Cannonball', Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 11-8, 11-9 at the Burj Park, Wednesday night.
Playing in the men's feature match in the second round of the PSA Dubai World Series Finals, the six-time champion, romped home after a short period of inconsistency midway in the second set.
Earlier on Day 2, Simon Rosner (Germany) beat Omar Mossad (Egypt) 11-3, 11-7; Raneem El Welily (Egypt) defeated Camille Serme (France) 9-11, 12-10, 11-9 to virtually book a semis berth; and Nour El Sherbini (Egypt) kept her hopes alive after ousting teammate Omneya Abdel Kawy 11-4, 11-8.
All Elshorbagy was required to do in the 12-minute first outing was to keep Rodriguez pinned down to the middle and on the forehand corner with his blinding low tin high shots from the back. There was a glimpse of what the Colombian world number five is capable of when he brought the packed indoor crowd to their feet with a blistering disguised half volley hardly two feet away from the front wall, off a bullet like delivery when the Pharaoh was ahead 4-2.
Elshorbagy trailed 3-5 in the second set but he not only came back in his typical quiet yet dominating style to outwit the South American whose heroics including dives for front court retrievals, was just not enough for the night against a vastly superior opponent. "Miguel (Rodriguez) played at a high level and the match was full of short but high intensity rallies. If it was an old format five-setter, he might have been the stronger to handle the duration," said Elshorbagy.
 In the crucial and much awaited women's Group A clash, Laura Massaro won 11-7, 8-11, 11-7 against the third seed, Malaysia's Nicol David. English superstar Laura led 2-0, 6-4 and 7-6 in the first set and she was a shade faster with superb down the corner volleys and half volleys. 
The pace slowed down considerably in set two, as the players tried hard to get their lengths better, during which time Nicol managed a narrow 4-3 advantage. But Laura jumped back into contention again immediately after for 6-4, before Nicol, with bigger crowd support, cut the deficit. Nicol did not look back from there to surge ahead by narrow margins with solid deeper returns to Laura's backhand for a 11-8 workout in her favour.
Laura fought back with sheer grit from 3-6 down to 6all and then went ahead 7-6, 9-6 as the disguised shot making of Nicol on the backhand and on the drop shot did not work smoothly. "I was in the game right through but the dept dropped a bit in the third set which against a consistent returner Laura is dangerous," said Nicol, who has the record of having ruled women's squash for the longest period.Laura said: "We both wanted the points badly. I know I have two wins here but whatever it is I will be going all out for a 3-0 record in the group tomorrow (Thursday)." - moni@khaleejtimes.com

By Moni Mathews

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