By Sports Reporter/Doha
Mohamed El Shorbagy won the all-Egyptian f4inal to clinch his third Qatar Classic title at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex yesterday.
In the final, which lasted 64 minutes, the former world champion overcame world No.7 Tarek Momen 3-1 to become first player to win the PSA World Series tournament thrice after appearing in his sixth consecutive finals in Qatar.
“I’m extremely proud of how I performed this week,” said El Shorbagy.
It was El Shorbagy who took the opening game as Momen, competing on the biggest stage of his career, showed signs of nerves. The 29-year-old showed his mettle to take the second game, but he was ultimately found short of El Shorbagy in the end as the former world No.1 prevailed over him 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7.
“What made the difference today was my experience. I have been in so many finals. But it was his first. I knew the emotions he was going through. I was trying to contain him but at times he was like a train – I just couldn’t stop him. When he took the second game it was a big blow for me. He really pushed me and I feel this is just the beginning for him. If he can keep that momentum, he’ll be hard to stop,” said El Shorbagy, who showed his calibre throughout the event as he swept past World No 8 Fares Dessouky, World No 4 Ali Farag and World No 1 Gregory Gaultier to reach the title-decider.
“When I saw the draw pre-event I knew it would be tough. I had to play the World No 9, the No 5, the No 1 and the No 7 to win, but playing tough opponents is the challenge that I live for. To be the best you have to beat these players.
“At the end of the day you want to challenge yourself against the best. Backing it up mentally each day was not easy – but I’m really happy. Last season I didn’t play like a winner – this week I feel like I played at my best level and that was my focus coming here.”
After dropping the second game to Momen, El Shorbagy looked to be up against it in the third as Momen, utilising his speed and agility, attacked in the mid-stages to string together a series of punishing rallies and exhausted El Shorbagy.
But the Bristol-based player showed just why he has won 28 PSA World Tour titles – 14 of which have come at World Series level – as he dug in with dogged determination to come through a crucial stage of the match and complete the win.
“Today it didn’t matter how tired I was – it was about how much I wanted to win. I just killed myself on every shot and I’m so happy to have won,” the champion said.
After the match Momen said: “It’s been an incredible week for me. I didn’t know what to expect coming here and making my first ever World Series tournament final was very special. Obviously I’m disappointed to lose but think it was a good match.”
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7 (64m)
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