SF:  Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0  Joel Makin (Wal) 17-15, 11-9, 11-8 (69m)
Well, let me put it this way: I wouldn’t have put my money on a three love to anybody on this one. All credit to Marwan who tonight again, letting his squash do the talking, proved once again he doesn’t need nasty/childish mind tricks or bad attitude to win matches.
But Marwan didn’t show much signs of fatigue – maybe just at the end of the third – to be honest. And so few errors from Shorbagy Jnr: 3 in the 35m first game, one in the second game, one in the last game. About the same impeccable display from Joel, 2 in the first, then 2 and 1. In a 69m match…
Marwan took the lead in the opener from 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 8/4, 9/6. Needless to say how incredible mobile they were both, how many times they kept pushing each other to the four corners. Joel claws back 8/9, then saves two game balls to force a tie break, 10/10. He’ll have four chances on his own, that he just cannot transform, and it’s finally Marwan, on his 5th game ball, 17/15.
Like I mentioned, first game was 35m, and to be honest, who would have bet on Marwan being able to back up a 96m match last night and a 35m opener?
Well, he did. Beautifully. Up 4/1, he looks much fresher at that point than the Welsh, but a bit of a contact there, Marwan unhappy with Joel’s movement, and he seems to get out of the match for a while. 5 points in a row for Joel, and we are back level. 7/7, 8/8. But a tired error from the Welsh gives Marwan the realisation his opponent is actually tired, and he picks the pace up, 10/8, 11/9 in 16m.
The third is the shortest of the match, 14m. 2/0, 3/1, for the Egyptian, close again, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. At that point, Marwan goes for the towel, and as he comes back, serves very quickly, short rally, stroke, then forced Joel to attack from too far, his only error of that game, and within seconds, the match is over, Marwan is in the final, 11/8.
Joel: I knew what he was going to do and it didn’t bother me. Yes I was arguing a bit, but I was just stating my piece. He is just very good at shutting his winning shots and making them look like no lets.
I think in the first game I’m spot on, 35m game, and if I can take that one, I think I can take him in the third, he is tired
I think I should have initialising more, but he is so clinical with the big points. He might not be the most physical player out there but he is so clever with his movement, he is very street wise. Once again I knew what to expect, and I thought I handled the situation pretty well.
But it was a good match, good spirit, I gave it all.
Marwan: “I’m very happy with how I backed up yesterday’s match. When I woke up this morning, I just said to myself that today is more important than yesterday because it was all about backing up and it was all in the mind. Of course, yesterday was tough, but today, is more important and tomorrow will be more important than today.
I’ve always been against the best-of-three but right now, I think it is time for the best-of-three. Or maybe, one day off in the latter stages would work, just for the quality of the matches, but I am not against the best-of-three, that’s for sure!
“It was important to win the first, but I worked on all the scenarios before the match. If I lose the first game, if I lost the second game, you have to sort all the scenarios, but I was mentally ready. I would have said it was a challenge to come from one game down. The same as yesterday, being one game down against Paul [Coll] is tough, but it’s a challenge, it’s a challenge!
“I wanted my brother to win, but to be honest I wasn’t thinking about it. I will play him at some point and we will have a good match. Of course, I wish I could play my brother because it is always something, you know, but I hate that match. I didn’t want him to lose, of course I wanted him to win, and I wanted to play him because, he is one of the best to ever play the sport. To be honest, I would have wanted to beat the World No.2 in the semis and the World No.1 in the final, this is the way I would have wanted it, the hard way, but it is still hard. It is a tough sport. I can’t even stand!
“Fares is playing like he is the best player in the world right now. He has been fearless, relentless, the way he is playing. He has that thing (puffs chest out) and I like that about him. I admire him as a player, but I am going to try and win tomorrow. That is my aim and we both deserve to be in the final!”
🗣 "He's playing like the best player in the world at the moment, so am I, and I think we both deserve to be in the final."@maelshorbagy looks ahead to tomorrow's @BlackBallSquash final clash with @FaresDessouky 🏆 pic.twitter.com/OYBauE5a1h
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 24, 2021