There will be an all-Egyptian semi-final line-up in a men’s Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series event for the first time in history after four players from the country advanced to the penultimate round of the Hong Kong Open today.
Mohamed Elshorbagy, his younger brother Marwan, Karim Abdel Gawad and Ali Farag all picked up victories on quarter-finals day at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.
The Elshorbagy siblings will face each other for a place in the final after they eliminated Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar and world number one Gregory Gaultier of France respectively.
Mohamed beat Abouelghar 11-7, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, while Marwan defeated Gaultier 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6.
Tomorrow’s meeting will be the brothers' 10th on the PSA World Tour.
Marwan has won their last two matches with one of those coming in the quarter-finals of the Windy City Open in Chicago in February.
"I miss these matches - we played four times last season and I miss being on court with him somehow," he said.
"I miss going into a tournament knowing that I would play him.
"I still hate playing him, but I miss these moments.
"You remember these moments and he’s been in fine form recently.
"He was in the middle of a shaky season when I beat him before but he is playing really well this season, so I’m pleased to get the opportunity to be on court with him when he’s in fine form."
The other semi-final pits world champion Gawad against US Open winner Farag.
Gawad overcame fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen 12-10, 11-7, 12-14, 11-7, while Farag beat English qualifier Declan James 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-6.
History was also made in the women’s event as world number three Camille Serme of France finally claimed her first-ever PSA World Tour win over Malaysia’s Nicol David at the 17th attempt.
Since first meeting in 2008, Serme had never got the better of the eight-time world champion and had only previously taken more than a solitary game on one occasion prior to their latest encounter.
But Serme, who lost to 10-time Hong Kong Open champion David in the 2012 final, attacked well and kept her composure to end her unwanted streak with an 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6 win.
"It was a very tough game - it’s always a battle with her even if she’s not at the top of the rankings any more," Serme said.
"She’s still a great player and I knew it was going to be hard.
"I can’t believe I have just done it.
"I think I had to attack and make her work at the front of the court as much as I could.
"It would be amazing to reach the final, especially after losing in the second round at the US Open.
"It’s very positive to beat Nicol for the first time so I could be in the semi-finals here."
Serme will clash with Raneem El Welily in the semi-finals after the Egyptian came through a five-game cracker with New Zealand’s Joelle King to triumph 11-8, 17-15, 7-11, 8-11, 14-12.
The Frenchwoman has beaten El Welily just once in seven matches.
World champion Nour El Sherbini and world number four Laura Massaro will meet in the other last-four encounter.
Egypt’s El Sherbini defeated compatriot and defending champion Nouran Gohar 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 in just 27 minutes, while England’s Massaro was made to work hard by Welsh number one Tesni Evans before prevailing 4-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-6.