Squash: Bloodied Elshorgaby edges bitter rival to make semis

Mohamed Elshorbagy made a remarkable double recovery, reviving hopes of keeping both the world number one ranking and the British Open title after recovering to reach the semi-finals on Friday.

The top-seeded titleholder from Alexandria was within two points of defeat against Ali Farag, one of his fiercest compatriot rivals, at 5-9 in the fourth game of a contentious encounter.

But despite suffering a cut eye, a bout of rage, and a stern warning from the referee, Elshorbagy struggled his way to a 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-5 win.

Farag had beaten Elshorbagy in an another controversial encounter in front of the Giza pyramids six months ago, and again moved brilliantly, dropping the ball in short with great accuracy, and using his tactical subtlety to deny his formmidable opponent chances to attack.

But the crucial last two points kept receding from him.

"At 5-9 I thought I was going down and I looked at my mother," said Elshorbagy. "And when I saw her it was like 'don't go down like this.' So I just fought."

He also retrieved diligently, contained Farag's front court threat better, and began to attack more effectively once he got into the fifth game.

He was warned twice by the referee during the many pauses for let decisions.

"Speak to me, Elshorbagy, don't shout at me," he was instructed, and later was told "I'm watching you - be very careful."

Though it never quite deteriorted into nasty match Farag once got an elbow in the stomach and rolled over in pain, while Elshorbagy ended looking like a beaten boxer after a racket rim made contact just under his left eyebrow.

At the end though the bad blood between them from their previous tussle -- there had been allegations of cheating -- seemed to have been purged by the drama and excellence of the encounter.

The two men embraced, left the court talking and were later seen deep in conversation.

The result means Elshorbagy can still become the first man in two decades to win the British Open three times in a row, and can still be world number one for a 29th month.

His ranking reprieve has been made possible by world champion Karim Gawad's startling defeat the previous evening.

Elshorbagy claims however that neither of these two accolades mean anything to him right now.

"I felt like I was having a bad period this season, but maybe this is one of the best periods of my life, testing my character," Elshorbagy concluded.

"Sometimes you just need to respond. That is the most important thing."

Earlier the progress of the other top-seeded titleholder, Nour El Sherbini, could not have been more different.

The 21-year-old Egyptian won 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 against the surprise survivor from England, Emily Whitlock, taking a mere 23 minutes.

El Sherbini will next play Laura Massaro, the 2013 British Open champion from England, who produced an intelligent and disciplined performance to overcome Raneem El Welily, the third-seeded former world number one from Egypt, 11-3, 13-15, 11-6, 11-6.