Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0  Joel Makin (WAL) 11-8, 11-6 (48m)
If yesterday I thought that Paul was not playing at his normal level, today, I was impressed by Marwan’s poise. Yes, as usual, he is doing a bit of shabada – think football rolling on the floor – but that’s the way he likes to handle difficult matches. He confronts the ref, gets slightly on the confrontational side of his opponent while at the same time showing him respect. Difficult for the adversary to know how he is being eaten alive… Think Spider envelopping his prey in his net, slowly but surely.
On the other hand, Joel came on court full of confidence after third second victory in a row against the World Champion (Egyptian Open, World Teams, and first match here).
Today, I think he played as well as he played against Tarek. But today, Marwan was not opening the court as much as Tarek was. It was harder to find winners, and Marwan fitness/metronomic pace/length/width forced Joel to work harder, to cover more ground and to attack in not great position. Hence a lot, and I mean A LOT of gruelling rallies, mid pace, English style, and a Marwan holding his ground physically against one of the fittest players on the tour.
The first game was 28m, like I said, slow pace most of the time, the players observing each other, boxers-like, and a 7/8, it’s anybody’s game. A few decisions at that point, but it’s Marwan, 11/8.
The second game is shorter but still 18m for a 11/6 score, a few decisions as well, neither players happy with the ref – which normally means he’s doing something right! Funnily enough, Joel will make his only error of the second game at 6/9, match ball, a superb kill drive from Marwan, and it’s all over.
The Egyptian takes the match, and books his place in the semis….
“I am really happy with the way I dealt with the conditions today. It was really slippery and I had to deal with my movement.
“I watched Simon and Diego last night and I didn’t understand why Diego was not happy, but I understand that now. I wanted to deal with the conditions, maybe a bit better than Diego did yesterday, so I am happy to win in two games against a very tough opponent and, just really happy with the way I am playing. I haven’t dropped any games yet.
“I will enjoy watching tomorrow’s matches and to find out who my opponent will be in the semi-final. I will be regroup and keep doing what I am doing. I have worked really hard this summer so results like this don’t surprise me. Maybe the way I played in Manchester was disappointing, losing in the semis, so I am looking forward to improving on that here.”