Darwish Celebrates KL Open Double

Egypt's Karim Darwish successfully reclaimed the CIMB KL Open Squash Championship title he first won two years ago when he beat fellow countryman Mohamed El Shorbagy in today's final of the PSA World Tour International 50 event at Berjaya Times Square in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

A close battle was inevitable: Darwish was the top seed, but second seed El Shorbagy had recently leap-frogged his older compatriot in the world rankings; Darwish led the career head-to-head tally 7-2, but it was El Shorbagy who had triumphed in the most recent encounter, in December's PSA World Championship in Qatar.

"The opening exchanges were tight, lengthy rallies followed by a couple of shorter rallies," explained tournament spokesman Andrew Cross. "At six-all, Shorbagy completely missed a return of serve to give Karim a one point lead. A couple of lets follow but in the next rally Karim punished Shorbagy with a low cross court backhand. Shorbagy responded with a forehand drop of his own and was awarded a stroke in the next rally to level at eight-all.

"Karim regained his lead but missed a forehand volley which he was slightly reaching for to tie again at nine-all. It was Karim who got to game ball first after Shorbagy missed a backhand drop and on game ball again clipped the top of the tin with a backhand drop."

Darwish, the 31-year-old world No6 from Cairo, went on to build up a two-game lead, but fell behind in the third as 22-year-old El Shorbagy took the initiative. But it was short-lived as Darwish took advantage of a series of errors by his younger opponent before moving on to take the title 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 after 54 minutes.

"I had to play extremely well - last time he beat me in three," said a relieved Darwish as he collected his trophy after his 23rd PSA Tour title success. "He is really tough to play.

"I'm happy that my wife and son are here - it's his first time watching which has obviously brought me a bit of luck so I will have to take him with me again!"

El Shorbagy added: "Karim deserved to win - all credit to him for putting me under more pressure.

"I would like to thank CIMB for their support in this event, and the referees who have done a good job. Hopefully I'll be back again."

RESULTS: PSA International 50 CIMB KL Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Final:
[1] Karim Darwish (EGY) bt [2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (54m)

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