Egypt’s World No.17 Youssef Ibrahim got the better of World No.2, and the tournament’s top seed, Mohamed ElShorbagy for the second year in succession to reach the third round of the 2021 Qatar QTerminals Classic.
The pair faced off in last year’s third round at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, with Ibrahim saving match balls en route to a come-from-behind victory over the ‘Beast of Alexandria’.
This time round, it was in the last 32, and it was a much more comfortable victory for the left-hander. He took the first two games with ease, allowing ElShorbagy to rack up just eight points across them, putting a small injury break for a cut on his hand right to the back of his mind.
The World No.2, and three-time Qatar QTerminals Classic champion, fought back to take the third 11-7, but it was Ibrahim who took the victory after 47 minutes of action, condemning ElShorbagy to his first round two loss since October 2018.
More amazingly, it is the first time since this very event twelve years ago that Mohamed ElShorbagy has lost his opening match of a major tournament on the PSA World Tour. Meanwhile, Ibrahim will now face compatriot Mazen Hesham in the third round on Tuesday.
“I expected myself to play really well,” the World No.17 said after his victory.
“Mohamed is known as ‘The Beast’ and his mentality is so strong, he probably has the strongest mentality of any squash player. I knew my win against him last year would rile him up and he would come at me today and I didn’t want to be a victim. I’m also the kind of player who plays better when I’m angry, so I tried to give myself a reason to be angry today.
“I knew he would come at me strongly, so I was very prepared from the start. He tried to push the pace so hard at the beginning and I equalled him. I didn’t want anyone to say it was a lucky win and I’m happy to be competing with the top 10 guys and beating them consistently. I think my tactics worked out well and I held my nerves well throughout the match.”
Mohamed Abouelghar also took out a seeded opponent on the second day of the Qatar QTerminals Classic, with the Egyptian defeating compatriot, and World No.6 Karim Abdel Gawad in four games.
The pair were both fresh after first round byes and Gawad held an 8-5 advantage over ‘the Bullet’, however they were meeting on Tour for the first time in over two years.
Gawad started the stronger of the two and took the first 11-4 but from then on, it was Abouelghar who reigned supreme and the World No.16 was in control for the rest of the contest, taking the win in 45 minutes to move through to the third round.
“I cannot put into words how much I needed this win. I’ve been losing a lot of 3-2s recently and it just got into my head too much. I managed to stay focused, put my head down and just keep working. I’m very happy with the performance tonight, I just kept it together until the end and without going for too much flashy stuff. I’m very, very happy,” the Egyptian said.
“The draw has been brutal to me everywhere, not just in Qatar. I’ve been playing these [top] guys in first rounds a lot in the last two seasons. It’s good to do it the hard way. I always say to myself ‘If you want to reach the finals and semi-finals, you have to beat one of these guys,’ so playing them early doesn’t change how I approach the tournament. Hopefully I can carry on from the performance I had tonight and keep going forward.”
He will now face Adrian Waller in the last 16 after the Englishman received a walkover, as his second round opponent, Mohamed ElSherbini, had to withdraw from the tournament with a fractured rib.
The third round of the Qatar QTerminals Classic begins tomorrow with play starting at 15:00 (GMT+3) at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. Glass court action will be shown live on SquashTV.
Results – Second Round: Qatar QTerminals Classic 2021
- Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 (47m)
- Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (25m)
- Patrick Rooney (ENG) bt Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-1: 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6 (37m)
-  Joel Makin (WAL) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 11-8 (55m)
-  Diego Elias (PER) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-0, 11-8 (67m)
- Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (47m)
- Raphael Kandra (GER) bt Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-2: 11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4 (59m)
-  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-2: 11-9, 10-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-6 (65m)
-  Tarek Momen (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (38m)
- Tom Richards (ENG) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-1: 12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9 (54m)
- Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-2: 11-2, 6-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8 (66m)
-  Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 7-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-6 (69m)
- Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 4-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 (45m)
- Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY): Walkover
- Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-0: 11-2, 14-12, 11-1 (26m)
-  Paul Coll (NZL) bt Rui Soares (POR) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-5 (26m)
Third Round Draw (Top Half): To Be Played October 19th
- Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
- Patrick Rooney (ENG) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
-  Diego Elias (PER) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
- Raphael Kandra (GER) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Third Round Draw (Bottom Half): To Be Played October 20th
-  Tarek Momen (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
- Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Mostafa Asal (EGY)
- Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
- Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)