Mohamed Elshorbagy Win Channel VAS Championships

Mohamed ElShorbagy defeated compatriot Ali Farag in the final of the 2017 Channel VAS Championships to avenge his loss to his fellow Egyptian in the title decider of last week’s U.S. Open.
 
The previous chapter of their enthralling rivalry saw Farag get the better of the former World No.1 in Philadelphia eight days previous and despite a gruelling 85-minute semi-final against Diego Elias of Peru in the previous round, the 25-year-old Harvard-graduate looked fresh and full of inspiration as he dropped just six points in the opening game.
 
But ElShorbagy, who suffered a shock first round defeat at this tournament last year, responded in empathic style by varying the height and pace of his shots to move his fellow countryman around the court and take a deserved 2-1 lead.
 
Farag dug in though in the fourth, amassing two game balls but a fight back from ElShorbagy saw him restore parity to set up a nail-biting tie-break. 
 
There was a touch of fortune about the point that saw him move to match-ball, with a straight drive hitting the join between the right-hand wall and the front wall and wrong-footing Farag, but he made no mistake in converting the next point to capture his second PSA World Tour title of the season and the 27th of his career.
 
"I didn’t have a good time here last year and I really wanted to come back and play well and I’m really glad that things went my way," said ElShorbagy.
 
"I would like to pay my respects to Ali, this is our third tournament this year and both of us have made it to three finals now and he’s had a great start to the season. The way he played at the U.S. Open last week when he beat me was unbelievable and he did great to come out here and play well every day.
 
"At the end I told him that we’ll have to play these matches until we retire because we’re going to play forever. There’s a new rivalry happening between both of us and there’s a lot of respect."
 
After period of summer training with Australia’s former World No.1 David Palmer which has already begun to reap its rewards, Elshorbagy will surely return for England's next high-profile event, the AJ Bell PSA World Championships in December, as favourite to land a first world title having twice been beaten by Ramy Ashour in the sport's global showpiece.
 
2017 Channel VAS Championships Final:
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [2] Ali Farag (EGY) 6-11 11-9 11-5 12-10

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