By Nathan Clarke
Egyptian qualifier Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry, the World No.35, delighted the home crowd during the first round of the 2014 El Gouna International as he pulled off a shock 3-1 win over French World No.22 Mathieu Castagnet.
Ga Sabry, whose only previous appearance in the main draw of a PSA World Series event was a first round exit in the 2013 World Championships, impressed on the Red Sea resort of El Gouna as he got the better of his more experienced opponent to come from one game down to win 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7.
The 20-year-old from Cairo, who only joined the PSA World tour in 2011, will now take on compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy in the second round after the World No.3 saw off Columbian Miguel Angel Rodriguez 3-1.
“Before the match I was not feeling well,” said Ga Sabry.
“My body was feeling tired but the second I started to play it was absolutely fine.
“This match is definitely the best PSA match I ever played.”
Victory for Elshorbagy, one of the favourites for the title, over Rodriguez completed a delightful double for his family after brother Marwan Elshorbagy upset World No.17 Cameron Pilley earlier in the day, comfortably beating the Australian 3-0 to earn his second round berth.
“I’m happy with the way I handled that first round match,” said Mohamed Elshorbagy.
“I gave him full respect going into the match as he is a top player. At the start of my season I had some poor results in the first rounds so today I’m happy that I managed to play a good match.
“I played the first three games the same way but at the end of the third my mum came and talked to me. She told me to step up and volley more and play more drop shots and she was right – it helped me a lot.”
Earlier in the day French World No.1 and number one seed Gregory Gaultier and English World No.10 Daryl Selby survived dramatic contests against India’s Saurav Ghosal and local hope Zahed Mohamed, respectively.
In a see-saw battle which also included a prolonged injury-enforced break in the 5th and deciding game, Gaultier eventually came through the 102-minute match 3-2 while Selby took 74-minutes to record his 3-2 victory.
“It’s always tough playing youngsters here in Egypt as they have so many good players and Zahed made it very tough for me,” said Selby.
“I’d never seen him before so didn’t know what to expect. I thought I had him at 2-1 but he came back strong so I’m really pleased to come through and I’m going to enjoy my day off in EL Gouna.”