R3: Marwan himself against a dangerous Mahesh

[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0 Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 11-6, 11-6, 11-7 (30m)

If you follow my reports, you couldn’t have not seen how unhappy I was with the way Marwan was behaving on court, both his attitude to the ref and to his opponents. Then he had his first ‘bad season’ since he started on the Tour, and I’m happy to report that he is back being the tough but fair controller he was. So proud when one player I particularly care about for many, many years, plays how he was meant to play.

Mahesh didn’t put a racquet wrong today: he took his chances when he could, managed to create some good opportunities, but Marwan was calm, relaxed, and although playing much faster than normally feels comfortable playing at, never felt threatened I felt.

The brain well connected – no more hitting the tin, looking for his opponent or have silly confrontations with the ref – and he played a clinical  performance where Mahesh was given very little hope of victory.

Marwan

“I was much sharper than the first round, of course. My concentration was better, mentally I was better and I’m trying to focus on that. I think I was relaxed today. I kept my focus up even when I was winning, I didn’t give a lot of cheap points, I wanted to make it hard even if he was going to beat me in one rally.

“All credit for Mahesh for a very good tournament. We played a few times in the juniors and we’re in the same generation, so I know how dangerous he is, how he likes to take the ball short, his attacking game was always brilliant, so I needed to stop him from being comfortable with taking me short.

“I was happy overall with my performance, it was more about the performance than the win, that’s why I’m pleased.

“Hopefully this is the last time ever we will be using this glass court. I’ve won this tournament before, I have a lot of great memories here and my first time to win a major was here in El Gouna, so this place will always be so special for me. Whether I’m playing Ali or Raphi, they are both playing amazing.

“Ali is a three-time World Champion and beat me last week, he’s been playing so well. Rapha as well had a great win against Ibrahim, he beat me in Qatar as well. The only positive thing is that I lost last time to both of them, so maybe I will get revenge. Hopefully they will have a good match and I’ll enjoy my day off tomorrow.”