Finally, Mohamed El Shorbagy has conquered the demon in his mind. The World No 8 from Egypt pulled off the biggest upset of the day, beating compatriot and tournament favourite Karim Darwish in a thrilling quarterfinal.The crowd at Siri Fort sports complex cheered every point the underdog won against his idol as he went on to pocket the match 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3.
"I had to forget that I respect him. Had to forget that he's like an elder brother, that he's an Egyptian and a top-10 player. I just had to forget all of this and stay focused on the match. I still can't believe it," said an emotional Shorbagy.
Quick as a cat on the court, Shorbagy matched his opponent point for point from the start. He just about moved ahead in the first game, with Darwish snapping at his heels - quite literally - during every rally. Shorbagy lost the second game, but he got better with every passing minute and his domination looked complete when he took a staggering 9-0 lead in the fourth game.
"I knew Darwish was getting tired. I could sense it and I used it to my advantage, "said Shorbagy. He now faces Gregory Gaultier of France in the semis on Saturday.
"I respect Darwish a lot. He has been a mentor and has helped me a lot during my junior days. He would play with me, point out my mistakes; he improved my game."
Shorbagy also recounted how he had lost to him in Qatar two weeks ago. "That loss made me realise a couple of mistakes. It gave me an idea what needs to be done to win," said Shorbagy, who lost all four previous contests against Darwish.
This victory is also his first against any of the top-10 Egyptian.
"I have played against them all at international level - Darwish, Ramy Ashour, Omar Mosaad. Prior to this, I have played 14 matches against them, I got lucky in my 15th attempt.