World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy has sent defending champion and World No.1 Ali Farag out of the 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family after coming from behind to win their quarter final fixture at the University Club of Chicago earlier today.
Farag was on an 18-match unbeaten run in Chicago following his triumph at the 2020 Windy City Open as well as the 2018-19 and 2020-21 PSA World Championships held in the city, but his recent form against ElShorbagy has been mixed, with ElShorbagy winning their last three matches.
After a closely-contested first and second game which left the match poised at 1-1, Farag surrendered three games balls in the third to hand ElShorbagy a crucial lead after a trio of uncharacteristic mistakes from the No.1 seed. It was a lead ElShorbagy wouldn’t relinquish as he hit his targets at the front of the court to record a 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 victory.
“Just to get another win over Ali means a lot to me,” said Marwan.
“Ali is a great player, he’s the World No.1, he sets his standards very high and he makes everyone on the tour work very hard and he’s improving our own games. I’m just very happy to get the win today. When I woke up this morning I just had a good feeling today.
“It’s always tough playing Ali, it’s always tense, but I just tried to keep my composure, we were both arguing but I think it’s part of the game, we’re in such a small space, interference will always happen but Ali is such a great player and I respect him a lot. He’s a two-time World Champion and has been World No.1 for many months, and I know he’s losing it to Paul [Coll], but he’ll be determined to get it back.”
ElShorbagy was a runner-up at the Windy City Open in both 2017 and 2018 and he will look to reach a third final when he takes on compatriot Youssef Ibrahim in the last four.
Ibrahim will line up in his first Platinum semi final after beating Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu in straight games. The World No.17 came into the match following a stunning comeback from two games down against two-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy in round three, but it was a more comfortable fixture against Pajares – who was appearing in his maiden Platinum quarter final – as he won 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 in 34 minutes.
“I remember in my first Platinum quarter final I was way too excited,” Ibrahim said afterwards.
“I prepared so well for this match and just wanted to get a good start. From then on, I stuck to my tactics. It wasn’t his best day and Iker has a lot better to offer than this, but I think I held it together better. I didn’t give him a chance to get into the match and I’m happy with that.”
In the women’s event, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World No.3 Hania El Hammamy will contest one of the semi finals after they achieved respective wins against fellow Egyptians Rowan Elaraby and Salma Hany.
El Sherbini struggled to a tight 3-2 win over Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in the previous round, but the reigning champion was firing on all cylinders today as she dispatched Elaraby by an 11-7, 11-3, 11-2 margin in just 29 minutes.
“I’m really happy with my performance, I think I really needed this win for my confidence after my last match,” admitted El Sherbini.
“It’s always a tough battle against Hania and I think she proved herself this season. She’s been challenging all the players and I always like this kind of challenge, she beat me in Philadelphia and I won at Black Ball, so I’ll do my best to be ready for this one again.”
Meanwhile, El Hammamy also recorded a comfortable victory, with an 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 victory seeing her move into the semi finals of this tournament for the first time.
“I’m really happy to beat Salma in three, she’s such a dangerous opponent and is very hard to play, very tricky,” said El Hammamy.
“I’m very positive with the way I’m approaching each tournament, knowing that I have to beat one or two [of El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar] at least. I’ve been able to beat one of them in each tournament, and my next goal is to beat one of them in both tournament. I’m gaining confidence, and I hope to do it very soon.”
The Windy City Open quarter finals continue tomorrow (February 28) and play begins at 17:00 (GMT-6). All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.
Results – Men’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 (61m)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (33m)
Draw – Men’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played February 28th
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Joel Makin (WAL) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Draw – Men’s Semi Finals (Top Half): To Be Played March 1st
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
Results – Women’s Quarter Finals (Top Half): 2022 Windy City Open Presented by the Walter Family
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-2 (29m)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt  Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (37m)
Draw – Women’s Quarter Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played February 28th
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v  Joelle King (NZL)
Georgina Kennedy (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Draw – Women’s Semi Finals (Top Half): To Be Played March 1st
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)