World No.1 Narrowly Avoids First Round
Exit In Chicago
24-year-old Egyptian World No.1 Mohamed
Elshorbagy came within a whisker of suffering a shock first
round exit during the opening day of action at the 2015 Windy
City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life
Insurance Company in Chicago earlier today.
Elshorbagy has been in phenomenal form
since August 2014, winning three World Series events and
reaching the World Championship final, but 20-year-old
compatriot Fares Dessouki, the World No.23, tore up the form
book in a compelling battle of attrition as he took the
tournament-favourite to the brink - coming within one point of
what would have been a famous victory.
But after failing to capitalise on a
match-point opportunity, Dessouki allowed 24-time-finalist
Elshorbagy back in and he made no mistakes, eventually sealing
an 11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11 victory after 101 punishing
"Being World No.1 one is about being able
to win when you are not at your best and that's what I was able
to do today,"
"It was a tough match today but I'm just
really happy to be coming back for another day."
The duo both started the match strongly
with Dessouki in particular racing out of the blocks and looking
composed as he opened up a 7-4 lead. Elshorbagy showed why he is
atop the world rankings however as he responded to take the
opening game 11-9 and set the scene for what promised to be an
The younger man from Alexandria upped his
level in the second and brought the scores even and he continued
to attack during the third, holding his nerve during some tense
exchanges, mixing up his approach with great effect to take the
lead for the first time.
But it was short-lived as Elshorbagy
restored parity after just edging the fourth.
High drama accompanied almost every shot
in the deciding game, with both players fighting tooth and nail
for the upper hand and when he survived match ball to gain one
of his own, Dessouki looked on the brink of glory. But a simple
error into the tin allowed Elshorbagy back in to seal the match.
"I've known Fares for a long time, since
we came through the same club, and he's already competing with
the top players and he's only 20,"
"It was experience that made the
difference at the end but it's only a matter of time until he's
competing in the finals of major events."
Earlier in the day four-time World
Champion Amr Shabana, the 35-year-old Egyptian who paved the way
for the current plethora of top class Egyptian stars, moved into
the second round with an assured victory over Chris Simpson.
Shabana never looked troubled as he saw
off the Englishman 3-0 to set up a second round match-up with
World No.14 Marwan Elshorbagy, the younger brother of World No.1
There was further joy for Egyptian squash
with victories for World No.7 Tarek Momen and World No.20 Karim
Abdel Gawad while Indian Saurav Ghosal, Swiss star Nicolas
Mueller and Colombian live-wire Miguel Angel Rodriguez rounded
out the top half of action with victories.
Results: 2015 Guggenheim Windy City Open -
Round One, Top Half:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Fares
Dessouki (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11 (101m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 11-5, 4-11, 11-8,
11-13, 13-11 (76m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-1: 9-11,
11-3, 11-5, 11-9 (37m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 11-5, 11-6,
7-11, 11-9 (51m)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-1:
11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4 (61m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 11-5,
11-1, 8-11, 11-5 (46m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 6-11,
12-10, 11-7, 11-5 (54m)
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6,
Draw: Round One, Bottom Half:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [WC] Chris Hanson (USA)
James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Alister Walker (BOT) v [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)