World number one Mohamed Elshorbagy helped ensure Egypt will have three men in the semi-finals of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) British Open for the first time in the modern era after beating Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez at the Airco Arena in Hull today.
Rodriguez put in a valiant display against the reigning champion but, despite some excellent retrieval skills and a trademark dive wowing the crowd, Elshorbagy’s class shone through as he powered to an 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 victory.
"Trying to defend this title is going to mean so much to me and my team," said Elshorbagy.
"Winning it the first time is always the toughest but, now I have won, I’m relaxed.
"You deal with each match differently.
"Today was very tough because it was very hot and they are the perfect conditions for him and the worst conditions for me.
"I had to deal with it and I was glad I was able to slow down the pace and keep it as tight as I can.
"He played really well but this is the British Open and I am playing my best squash here."
Compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad awaits in the last four after he dispatched Elshorbagy's younger brother, Marwan, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10.
World champion Grégory Gaultier of France beat Germany’s Simon Rösner 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 to set up a semi-final showdown with Egypt’s Ramy Ashour, the 2013 champion.
Ashour downed compatriot Ali Farag 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 in a scintillating 56-minute encounter.
Defending women’s champion Camille Serme of France took a step closer to retaining her crown after a stunning win against world number one Laura Massaro in a repeat of last year’s final.
Serme played at a high tempo throughout, with a plethora of attacking volleys paying dividends as her English opponent struggled to find any fluency in her game.
The 26-year-old took the match 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 to complete a victory that dashed any hopes of home success after Nick Matthew and James Willstrop bowed out of the men’s competition in the previous round.
"I felt good on court today - a bit nervous at the beginning, but I got more and more confident with my game," said Serme.
"Last year I was really focused on what to do and I’m really happy.
"I wanted to play a lot of volleys and try to attack as soon as I could without rushing it.
"I was trying to find the balance between rushing and not rushing."
Serme now faces a semi-final against Nouran Gohar, who caused the day’s big upset in the women’s draw with a fine 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9 victory over compatriot and Egyptian number one Raneem El Welily.
Five-time winner Nicol David required four games to see off Egypt’s Omneya Abdel Kawy 11-4, 12-14, 12-10, 11-2.
Next up for the Malaysian is Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini, the day’s other victor with a 11-4, 11-7, 14-12 dismantling of American number one Amanda Sobhy.
The semi-finals are scheduled to take place tomorrow.