It’s England v Egypt x2 in Qatar semis

Qatar PSA World Championship 2012, Quarter-Finals:

[1] James Willstrop (Eng) 3-0 [15] Borja Golan (Esp) 11/7, 11/7, 11/5 (65m)

[8] Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [4] Karim Darwish (Egy) 11/9, 12/10, 11/9 (50m)

[5] Ramy Ashour (Egy) 3-2 [3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 12/10, 10/12, 11/6, 9/11, 11/3 (92m)

[2] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-1 [7] Amr Shabana (Egy) 11/5, 9/11, 11/5, 11/5 (64m)

Two England v Egypt semis set up in Doha

Quarter-finals day of the Qatar PSA World Championship got under way at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash complex with top seed James Willstrop taking on Spain’s Borja Golan, at 15 the lowest seed left in the competition.

The English world number one came through a fiercely contested three games 11/7, 11/7, 11/5, with the referees getting plenty of decisions to make, in just over the hour to reach a third successive world semi-final.

“Clearly not the best match of my life,” said a pleased and relieved Willstrop, “that’s the way it goes sometimes, it’s not pretty. Borja is a quality player, he had a horrendous injury and the rise since his injury has been phenomenal.”

In that semi-final the tall Yorkshireman will again face the lowest seed left in the draw after Mohamed El Shorbagy won his all-Egyptian duel with fourth seed Karim Darwish, also in three close games 11/9, 12/10, 11/9, gaining revenge for a couple of recent five-game losses to today’s opponent.

“I’m out of words right now, I’m in the semis of the Worlds!!!, “said a delighted Shorbagy. “I have so much respect for Karim, when I was a junior, he helped me, he got on court with me, all the generation, Karim, Shabana, they mean a lot to me, and to beat such a player, and 3/0 as well, is just unbelievable.”

A second Egyptian went through to the semi-finals as Ramy Ashour won the latest in a recent series of quarter-final duels with Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the third seed in a seesaw five game thriller.

Gaultier took what looked like a commanding 9/2 lead in the first only to hit the tin too many times as Ashour took the lead 12/10.

The favour was returned in the second with the Egyptian failing to capitalise on five game balls as Gaultier levelled 12/10. The third and fourth were shared before Ashour ran away with the decider to win 12/10, 10/12, 11/6, 9/11, 11/3 in 92 minutes.

“I have got a bit left in the tank, thank you,” said Ashour, “hopefully I can play some good squash tomorrow!”

The final match of the round saw two-time defending champion Nick Matthew face four-time champion Amr Shabana.

The Englishman, seeded two, took the first game and although seventh seed Shabana struck back to level he couldn’t contain Matthew in the next two games as the defending champion won 11/5, 9/11, 11/5, 11/5 after just over an hour’s play.

“I’m truly happy to get through,” said Matthew, “as the top of the draw is difficult enough, but the bottom draw is just very hard. So, extremely happy to get through, and yes, tomorrow is another day.

Semi-finals are from 18.30 on Thursday

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