Mohamed El Shorbagy defeated his brother Marwan 11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 in the final of the 2017 PSA Men’s Squash World Championship held in Manchester. The 2017 event was Mohamed’s third appearance in a World Championship final but his first triumph having previously lost in 2012 and 2014. Meanwhile, this was Marwan’s first appearance in the final.
The match started with heavy favourite Mohamed on top. The older brother raced away to a 6-1 lead, but a few down shots allowed Marwan back in, and the score reached 7-4. The resurgence was short-lived though, as Mohamed took the first game 11-5.
Despite being an outsider, Marwan was showing no signs of it and started strongly in the second game. His intensity brought a few tetchy moments between him and Welsh referee Roy Gingell as they argued over let/stroke calls. The brief loss of composure allowed Mohamed to build a lead in the second game but the older brother was also clashing with the referee. First asking for a let call and then for the court to be cleaned, a request Marwan had been denied minutes earlier.
The game pushed towards the 11 mark with both players picking up points. After wresting the game back to 9-9, Marwan went on to win 11-9 and tie the games in the match. The high-intensity tempo sparked new life into an already energetic Manchester crowd.
The players return for the third game and it was again a case of let/stoke calls taking the headlines. A video review gifted a stroke call to Mohamed which allowed him a 4-1 lead. Marwan did pull closer, but after some sloppy play, he sacrificed the game to his brother giving Mohamed a 2-1 lead in the match.
The crowds’ hopes of a five-game thriller were looking ever more likely as Marwan raced away in the opening of the fourth game. Gaining a 6-2 lead, a controversial down call allowed Mohamed a route back into the game but despite clawing it back to 8-7, Mohamed could not overtake his brother and Marwan took the fourth game 11-9.
With fatigue beginning to set in, Marwan looked tired compared to his older sibling. He wasn’t reaching some of the shots he had been earlier in the match and Mohamed took a 3-1 lead in the opening. Marwan rallied to tie the game at 6-6 but Mohamed showed his class to win the game 11-6, and the championship.
An emotional Mohamed hugged his brother as he finally secured the trophy that had eluded him throughout his career. In his post-match speech, he praised his brother and said it was a special experience for the pair of them.
Earlier in the day, it was another all Egyptian affair, as Nour El Sherbini and Raheem El Welily contested the women’s final. El Welily came from a game down to win the final 3-1 to secure her first World Championship.
The number one ranked player in the world El Sherbini started the match in dominating form. Making short work of her opponent she quickly raced to an 11-3 scoreline. A combination of smart movement and pinpoint low shots made it looked like the final would over very quickly, however, El Welily rallied.
She started the second game well and found herself 6-2 ahead. El Sherbini did manage to bring it back to 9-8 but El Welily held firm to win the game 12-10 and tie the match at 1-1.
El Welily proceeded to race through the gears and quickly put to bed the third game of the tie. El Sherbini was making plenty of mistakes and her opponent capitalised to win the game 11-1.
The momentum was with El Welily now and El Sherbini seemed powerless to stop her. After initially going 2-2 in the final game, El Welily stepped it up and won 11-5 to seal the championship.
An emotional El Welily was in tears after the match as she thanked friends and family, saying, “it was a great week for me. I hope to carry this form into the rest of the season.”
The two winners posed together with their respective trophies as the Manchester crowd applauded. For those fans, they could have hardly asked for a better final day.