HK SquashOpen: Men’s Final (by Andrew Wood)

Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (ENG)

The second final of The Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial HK Open 2015 event saw reigning champion, Mohamed Elshorbagy (1) from Egypt beat Cameron Pilley (unseeded) from Australia in 3 straight sets 41 mins. 

Up until the men’s final, Cameron’s had been living a fairy tale, having sent home Simon Rosner, the fifth seed, Gregory Gaultier, the third seed and Nick Matthew, the second seed, before reaching his first ever world series final.

Elshorbagy took the initiative early on leading 5-1, before Cameron clawed his way into the contest at 5-4. Another burst of accurate shots put Elshorbagy into a 7-4 lead. A couple of let calls later it was 10-7, with Elshorbagy taking it 11-8 on his second game ball, with a no let call given against his taller plucky opponent.

Cameron must have realised he needed to break Elshorbagy’s momentum and in so doing got to 4-2 up early in the second set. However, his opponent always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, anticipating Pilley’s every move, to go up 8-4 when the ball was called out. After a couple of VDO reviews, one being a stroke to the champion, Cameron succumbed 11-6 on the first game ball. Mohamed’s increasing offensive style and the fitness of the 24 year old starting to pay off.

Mohamed started with a couple of incredible pick-up’s in the third set, cruising to a 4-0 lead. Cameron pushed hard to get the next 2 points, before a nick swung the favour back to his opponent 5-2. Some gruelling rallies saw it at 9-5. The longest point of the match took it to 10-6 and the first championship point. But, Pilley wasn’t done, playing his best squash of the match to save three championship points, 10-8. And on the fourth championship point, a let and a VDO appeal was not enough to save the match, 11-8.

So, Cameron’s remarkable tournament finally came to a halt after a 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 defeat by defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt. Elshorbagy, reclaimed his world number one spot after clinching the Hong Kong Open, simply proved too strong again for everyone in the end. 

 

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