Squash Mad

Ali Farag master-class sinks James Willstrop in Sweden

Ali Farag (right) in action against James Willstrop

Egyptian ace meets Paul Coll in semi-final
By NATHAN CLARKE

 

An absolute masterclass performance from Ali Farag saw the Egyptian World No.3 dispatch former World No.1 James Willstrop with ease to secure his place in the semi-finals of the 2018 UCS Swedish Open and underline his credentials as title favourite.

Farag was sublime as he moved with an effortless grace and hit with devastating precision to twist and turn Willstrop at every opportunity, leaving the tall Englishman unable to find a way to stop the onslaught as Farag wrapped the match up 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 in just 30 minutes.

“Players like James are the guys who I grew up watching and dreaming of playing against, so it is an honour to play against him here today,” said Farag.

“I am really happy with how I played. Everything unfolded the way I wanted. I was in control of the T for most of the match and whenever I went for a shot it came off as well – so I couldn’t ask for any more than that.”

Farag will face New Zealand’s Paul Coll for a place in the final after he defeated Omar Mosaad 3-0, while Egypt’s Tarek Momen showed impressive grit and desire to back up his first round, 97-minute victory over Mathieu Castagnet with a 54-minute defeat of Australian Cameron Pilley.

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Momen was far from his usual explosive self during the first, losing it 11-8 as Pilley controlled the court. But the World No.7 cut an altogether different figure in the second as he began to impose his speed and agility on play and make life difficult for the tall Australian.

After levelling Momen then showed off his soft hands in the third to take it 11-2 before keeping his composure to take the match in four games.

“I’m happy that I managed to recover and regroup from yesterday and just play as good as I can,” said Momen.

“I think today’s match was really good and I’m happy that it didn’t go to five (games), as that will allow me to have some more recovery for tomorrow.”

Momen will face Germany’s Simon Rösner in the semi-finals after he defeated England’s Daryl Selby 3-0 courtesy of a polished and crisp performance.

“I had a really tough match yesterday but today I found my rhythm and found my length and found my short game as well – everything seemed to be working well,” said Rösner. His meeting with Momen is a repeat of the Tournament of Champions final in New York, where Rosner lifted the biggest triumph of his career.

PSA M70 Men’s UCS Swedish Open 2018, Linköping Sporthall, Linköping, Sweden.

Quarter-finals:
[2] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8 (54m)
[4] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [6] Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (40m)
[3] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-4 , 12-10, 11-5 (44m)
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-4, 11-5 (30m)

Draw – Semi-finals:
[2] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [4] Simon Rösner (GER)
[3] Paul Coll (NZL) v [1] Ali Farag (EGY)  

Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of Swedish Open and PSA

 

Posted on February 10, 2018

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