James Willstrop & top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy produced unquestionably the match of the 2022 British National Championships staged between the 14th & 18th June at the National Squash Centre in Manchester.
ElShorbagy eventually overcame the four-time champion 11-6 11-9 1-11 14-12 in 47-minutes to progress to his first final in his maiden appearance in the British National Championships.
ElShorbagy controlled the opening two games of the encounter & used a devastating mixture of pace & control to move the tall frame of Willstrop into all four corners of the court. However, having established a commanding 2-0 lead, James relaxed & used his unrivalled skill & touch to attack the front of the court & with an almost unbelievable level of accuracy & consistency cruised to an 10-0 lead. Whilst ElShorbagy managed to avoid the dreaded ‘bagel’ it was Willstrop who secured the game.
In what proved to the final game of an enthralling encounter, which Mohamed eventually closed-out 14-12, the fourth game saw Willstrop refusing to be beaten & saving four match balls before another brutal rally saw the top seed book his place in tomorrow’s final.
James Willstrop earned his place in the semi-finals for an incredible 15th time after he produced a near perfect display to see off 2021 runner-up Adrian Waller in straight games.
The 38-year-old Englishman had beaten Waller in all three of their previous meetings, including two at the British National Championships, & closed out an impressive 32-minute 11-9 11-5 11-9 victory.
There was little to separate the two in the opening game, but Willstrop had that extra bit of control in the crucial stages to sneak a one-game lead. The former World No.1 stamped his authority on the match in the second game to quickly double his advantage, defending well & attacking when the opportunity presented itself. Waller threatened a comeback after some intelligent play in the third game saw him sit within a point of Willstrop at 10-9 down, but a critical error put paid to his chances as Willstrop booked his spot in the last four.
Prior to his mouth-watering semi-final encounter with top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy, James Willstrop said: “I played him last week & he beat me. It’s been Mohamed week & I just hope that all the talk & all the internet stuff about England has gone to his head & he is going to combust tomorrow night.
“I feel like I have a bit of speed in my game & I’m moving well, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Nick Wall tested England No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the quarter-finals before the top seed eventually prevailed with a hard-fought 41-minute 7-11 11-6 11-2 11-8 victory.
ElShorbagy was tested from the start of the match & looked surprised by the intensity & aggression that his young English rival displayed in the opening exchanges with his opponent the more dominant figure across the T to win the opening game 11-7.
The World No.3 responded in typical fashion to regain control of the middle by hitting hard to the back of the court & narrowing the angles for his opponent, to level the match & eventually close-out the match in four games.
Miles Jenkins came through two rounds of qualification to join fellow #teamunsquashable players James Willstrop & Nick Wall in the main draw of the British National Squash Championships.
In his opening match, Miles defeated Hassan Khalil 11-8 11-4 11-4 in 30 minutes before an equally impressive 26-minute 11-9 11-3 11-1 victory over Paul Broadberry to progress through to the main draw for the second consecutive time in the final qualifying match of the day.
In the 1st round of the main draw, Miles tested Greg Lobban before eventually bowing-out to the Scotland No.1 11-5 8-11 11-4 11-7 in a tough 50-minutes.
Unfortunately, George Parker was been forced to withdraw from the championships due to a knee injury whilst Will Salter was beaten in the qualification by Ben Smith.