• MCO final: Darwish injury hands Shabana the title

    Calf pull sidelines Darwish; Shabana captures second win of 2013

    Shabana and Darwish battle.

    Shabana and Darwish battle before Karim’s game-ending injury (Motor City Open photo).

    Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — In an anticlimactic end to a thrilling 2013 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection, Egypt’s Amr Shabana engraved his name on the coveted MCO trophy after fellow Egyptian Karim Darwish retired midway through the second game of Tuesday’s final.

    After beating World #21 Nicolas Mueller in the first round, World #25 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the quarterfinals, and top-seeded World #5 Mohamed El Shorbagy in the semis, World #8 Shabana appeared set for his toughest challenge: World #6 and 2010 MCO winner Darwish in a championship match of two former World #1s.

    Shabana holds up the MCO trophy.

    Shabana holds up the MCO trophy given by tourney title sponsor David Fisher of the Suburban Collection (Motor City Open photo).

    But Shabana, who had dropped only one game in his first three matches at the host Birmingham Athletic Club, jumped out to an early 6-2 lead. After cutting the deficit to 4-6, Darwish tinned three of his next four shots as Shabana closed out Game One, 11-4, in just nine minutes. Darwish came out firing in Game Two, nabbing a quick 6-1 lead. But in the ensuing rally, he grabbed his calf in apparent discomfort. “It was very sore before the match. I thought when I warmed up it was going to get better, but after lunging a few times in the second game I think I pulled a calf muscle,” 31-year-old Darwish said afterwards.

    After trying to stretch it out, Darwish decided not to risk further injury. He retired 25 minutes into the match, handing Shabana his first MCO title, 11-4, 2-6 ret.

    Darwish surged ahead in Game Two before the injury came.

    Darwish surged ahead in Game Two before the injury took its toll (Motor City Open photo).

    “I knew he had a tough, physical game yesterday against Omar Mosaad. And I knew if I had a good start it would help me a lot,” Shabana said. “More credit to him because he came back and managed to get ahead. I think he pushed himself on a lunge and it’s a shame, but it’s part of the sport.” Yet, the standing-room-only crowd didn’t go home disappointed. Good-sport Shabana beckoned local BAC pro Julian Wellings, a former World #46, to suit up for a friendly two-out-of-three. Like every match in the tournament, Shabana won the exhibition, too: 12-10, 11-4.

    For his week’s work, Shabana walked away with a check for $13,300 and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer watch worth $6,000 – courtesy of Greenstone’s Jewelers.

    “I love coming here,” 33-year-old Shabana said. “Unfortunately the last two times I came here, I pulled out. But I was just dying to get my name on that championship banner with all those great names.”

    Shabana and BAC pro Wellings entertained.

    Shabana and BAC pro Wellings entertained after Darwish retired (Motor City Open photo).

    The title was Shabana’s second PSA World Tour victory of the month and 31st of his career.

    “I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. After a few years with injuries and motivational problems, to be able to win two out of three tournaments, I’m very happy,” he said.

    Darwish, who was looking to win his second MCO crown, took home the runners-up check of $11,200.“This tournament is one of the best events in the United States and I always enjoy playing here. I wanted to play a good match today but unfortunately couldn’t,” he said. “Hopefully I can come back next year and win it.”

    Tuesday’s final:

    • [4] Amr Shabana def. [2] Karim Darwish 11-4, 2-6 ret. (25m)



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