Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1  Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-6, 12-10, 11-13, 13-11 (66m)
Saurav won’t be happy with his first game. He didn’t put enough work into his opponent’s leg – nor head. 11/6 in 11m, Marwan never in doubt.
Hard work started in the middle of the second game, whereas we thought that Marwan would close the game/match rather comfortably. 6/6, 7/7, a couple of errors from Saurav, 10/7 game ball for Marwan. Some superbly well fought rallies and Saurav forces a tie-break, 10/10. A stroke and an misshit later, and it’s 12/10 in 18 long minutes for the Egyptian.
Again, like in the second, a huge lead for Marwan, 7/1, doing what he does best, control. But a great grinding for Saurav, and he claws back to 7/8. A few lets, decisions as Marwan starts to clear a bit less his shots – tiredness? – but still, 10/8 match ball 10/8.
Our PSA President still fighting, and we are back to 10/10, with the Egyptian clinching the game 13/11 on his second attempt, 13/11.
And that fourth, Jzzzzz, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, a bit of lead for Marwan, 6/3, 7/4. Saurav, supported by the French loud crowd who wants more, claws back once again! 7/7, 8/8, 9/9.!!
Another game ball for Saurav, 10/9, saved by a superb accuracy from Marwan, another chance for the Indian, 11/10, crowd is going wild, but a tin ends that streak, 11/11.
And this time, Marwan won’t let his second match ball slip away from him: it’s 13/11 in 13m for the Egyptian, who was shaking his head at the end, as in to say not too happy about my performance today…
After the CWGames, I tried to put some work in but I didn’t put as much as I would have wanted, but it is what it is, and we have to play. I did a good performance in Qatar against Diego, although I didn’t win. I have tried to work as much as I could to be able to put on performances like today.
This week, through the days, the conditions were pretty tough [very hot] and quite draining on the body and the legs. My legs were a bit depleted, even if through the week, I did what I had to do to recover, and a rest day yesterday, and I’m very proud of how much I was able to recover the legs.
Tonight, not as energetic as I would have liked at the start, but as the match went on, the body warmed up a little more, I started to hit my targets a little bit more, getting into the match a bit more.
But that’s not to take any credit away from Marwan, and the way he played the first game and a half. He made it very difficult for me, he was very accurate, better than I was, and that’s something I’m disapointed about.
Still, proud of the way I fought, I tried to come back, maybe had I taken the second game, 1/1, or the 4th… Two years back the match would have been over in 25m! But tonight, small margins, but at that level I don’t expect anything else. I hope that I can convert some of the performances but I’ll just keep putting the work in and hopefully it will get better.
“First I want to thank the crowd for giving us this atmosphere – this is the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in! I’ve played in the PSA for ten years, I’m loving this experience and I’m really happy me and Saurav put on a great show. It was a great match, very tough mentally and physically, he’s a great player and I think this is the first time I’ve beaten him on the PSA World Tour. He’s a top player and a player I really admire a lot, and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.
“Saurav is a very skilful player, very fast to the front and he’s good with the hands. He took me out of my comfort zone and I found it a little bit tough to come back mentally from that, but I’m really happy with the way I came back in the fourth game. I almost screwed up another lead, but I’m just really happy with my performance.
“I think overall there are still a few bits I can improve. It’s not the first time that it’s happened where I almost messed up a lead, but overall I’m happy with the way I’m hitting the ball and the way I’m moving. I’m looking forward to the final tomorrow.”