CAIRO: World champion Amr Shabana was close to losing his world title to his best friend before reaching the quarter-finals in front of the Pyramids here on Saturday. The local hero was 2-8 down in the third game and had to save three game balls before surviving 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-10 against Mohammed Abbas. It wasn t any easier than the previous night, admitted Shabana, referring to his struggle to come from behind in the fourth game against England s Peter Barker. In fact, it was more difficult. Shabana not only had the pressure of immense home expectations but was also playing an opponent against whom it was more difficult to rouse any killer instinct and who knew every aspect of his style inside out. We have been playing together for 10 years and we do everything together, said Shabana. We practice together, go to the gym together, play together, go for a drink together and travel together. We are practically brothers. It s hard mentally and I can t surprise him with anything. I felt trapped out there. I was lucky not to lose. Shabana next plays another compatriot, Wael El Hindi, who upset the seedings for the second night in a row to reach the last eight. After beating his ninth-seeded fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish in the first round, El Hindi followed it by saving a match point to beat Nick Matthew, the seventh seeded Englishman 11-8, 4-11, 11-4, 2-11, 12-10. Earlier Thierry Lincou, the former world champion, survived a scare before battling into the quarter-finals. The French ace was twice game point down in the first game of a grueling battle with Olli Tuominen, but recovered to win 11-10, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8. It ensured that Lincou will progress to the stage of the tournament which is played entirely at the Giza pyramids, but in his second hard match in two days the 30-year-old was made to work for an hour and a quarter. Lincou now faces Peter Nicol in the last eight. Nicol, the former world champion from Britain, beat Lincou at the same stage of the World Open last year in Hong Kong. Nicol came through with his second escape in two days. He was match point down against Graham Ryding of Canada on Friday and had to save three points to avoid going two games down against Stewart Boswell of Australia. Nicol eventually survived 7-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-2 and ensured he will play his last match before the tomb of the pharaohs where he won the World Open seven years ago. Earlier, a possible successor to Shabana emerged when Ramy Ashour, the 18-year-old local hope, upset the seedings. He also made a fine recovery from two games to one down against Lee Beachill of England to win 11-4, 10-12, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5.