2021 Platinum Reports REPORTS

R2: Elshorbagy withstands Basotti barrage

R2: [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Baptiste Masotti (Fra) 14-12, 11-7, 11-9 (43m)

A bit like Patrick Rooney took the game to Joel Makin, tonight, Frenchman Baptiste Masotti had zeiltch respect for what Mohamed represents. Yes, he knew darn well who is was, and what he could do on there. But did he go on there to make Mohamed look good. The hell he did.

And Mohamed took him pretty seriously. Very focused in his preparation, he was all respect for the young Frenchman who had nothing to lose.

On the other hand, pressure was high for Mohamed. He didn’t play much high competitive squash for about a year, and he hadn’t played in Egypt for a while as well, not to mention in front of his parents. Yes, pressure was on for the 30 years old…

And Baptiste took full advantage of it, attacking every single shot he could put his racquet on, finding his targets to the front, and to the back, defending with lovely lobs when needed. To be honest, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had the former World number 1 lost the opener.

Down 4/0, 5/1, Mohamed calmed his nerves down to level 5/5 but there was not stopping the storm, and down again he went 8/5, 9/5, leading to 4 game balls, none of which the French could close down. And the experience made the talking 14/12, on his first attempt, thanks to an error from the French.
17m game, 2 errors for Mohamed, 9 winners, 4 errors for BP, 10 winners though…

A quicker second game, Baptiste is a bit flat – wonder why really – 3/0, 6/2, 7/4, 9/5 Mohamed, a little come back at the end, but too little too late, 11/7 in 9m….

The third is pretty close again, with the French finding his second winds, and his appetite. 3/0, 4/1. Like in the first game, Mohamed feels the danger, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. A stroke for BP, 9/8, two errors, 10/9 match ball, and a sublime backhand drive that literally gets stuck on the wall… 11/9; 14m…

Good questions asked by Baptiste, excellent answers, and Mohamed impressed with the attacking spirit of his opponent…


My game plan was to hammer him on the backhand, and to go for it systematically as soon as I had the opportunity on the forehand. I wanted to avoid his forehand, not that he is not good on the backhand mind, but maybe less lethal…

I made a few errors, but then again, I play a high percentage game, it’s part of the package really.
He puts so much weight down on the ball if you let the ball a bit short at the front, then he takes his space and his ball is of such quality, you get a no let every time, and you’re dead…

But then again, I had 4 chances to close the first game, 10/8, 10/9, then 11/10, 12/11, but he took it still. It’s not the first time it happens to me against the top guys, against Fares last time, then against Mathieu in the semis of our Nationals. It’s something I need to work on, with a top 30, top 20, you might get away leading 10/8, but with them, the last two points are even harder to score than the previous ones!

But tonight no inferiority complex against him, I thought I was going to beat him, I believe it so much I changed my flights, I was supposed to leave tonight; But that’s part of the learning process.

I’m not too far off, maybe a few more matches of that calibre to get used to handling that kind of pressure…


“I really enjoyed being back playing and competing again, it has been a long time. Since March last year, I have only played two events and in one of those, I lost in the second round.

“I haven’t really played for a long time, but at the same time, I was really looking forward to be back on the glass. I am a competitor so I enjoy playing, I enjoy winning. I am really happy to be back.

“You can always improve every day. All credit to Baptiste, he played incredibly well. He went for it, he was fearless and he fought hard. I respect that. He tried to win from the first point, I saw it in his eyes. I watched him play before and I knew he wouldn’t fear that it was me. I respected that but at the same time, I had to be on my toes. He forced me to play at my best. That’s what I wanted and I needed for the tournament. This will only work well from here.

“Saurav [Ghosal] and myself go way back. We have played many times the last two being best-of-three, where I beat him in a tie-break in the third. Since then, I wanted to play with him in a best-of-five, I think I can do that, but I have so much respect for him and what he brings to the sport. He is a unique player, a unique character, we get along really well, but at the same time, I will be trying to beat him, and he will be trying to beat me too.

“My parents have done everything for me since I was a kid and they haven’t watched me play live in ages. I missed that, that is one of the biggest things I missed about playing, having my mum and dad there in the front row. To have them there watching me, it is everything, but I hope I can go all the way and make them proud.”