‘Playing the sponsor got me ready for this’ says Farag
By SEAN REUTHE in Weybridge
Egyptian pair Ali Farag and Tarek Momen will line up against each other in the final of the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill after respective wins over Karim Abdel Gawad and Diego Elias earlier today in Weybridge.
World No.2 Farag, who won the Oracle NetSuite Open two weeks ago, advanced to his second PSA Tour final of the season after he overcame former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad by a 3-1 margin.
Gawad ran away with the opening game as he displayed some deft touches and outrageous winners to prevent Farag from finding his rhythm. But Farag took control in the second and third games and he closed out a 7-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-9 victory after edging Gawad in the fourth.
“I watched his match yesterday (against Saurav Ghosal) and that was by far the best that any player has performed this season,” said Farag.
“I could see Saurav was playing really well, but Gawad was on fire and I was prepared for this. I knew that I would have to do a lot of running and would need to stay as tight as possible to stop his attacks.
“I needed to attack whenever I had an opportunity, but it was really physically tiring and demanding. I had a game with Bassim (Haidar, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Channel IT Group), the official sponsor, yesterday and he made me ready for that one and sharpened me up.”
World No.4 Momen will appear in the final of the PSA World Tour Gold event for the second time after he claimed an emphatic straight games victory against Peru’s World No.13 Diego Elias.
Momen avenged his 2016 final defeat to World No.8 Paul Coll in the previous round, with a sublime display seeing him eliminate the Kiwi without dropping a game.
And the 30-year-old looks like the man to beat in Weybridge this year after an imperious display saw him dispatch Elias by a 15-13, 11-8, 11-4 scoreline.
“He’s a very tough opponent, and if you give him an inch, he has so many varieties of shots, he can make me move a lot,” said Momen afterwards.
“I did quite a bit of running today, so I’m going to need some recovery work done. The quality of the game was so high, and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. I’m also very happy for the audience to be entertained the way they have been this week.
“I’ve been in so many finals before where I’ve had extremely tough 3-2 matches back-to-back. They’ve affected the way I was playing in the final and they hindered my performance. I was very cautious of that, and I knew that if I wanted to do well in the final then I would have to make the matches as short as possible.”
Momen will look to win his first PSA Tour title since 2014 tomorrow and will meet Farag for the fifth time on the PSA Tour. The head-to-head record currently stands at two wins apiece, but Farag won the last time they played, which was in April’s El Gouna International.
The duo will contest the Channel VAS Championships final at 17:00 local time (BST) on Sunday October 21. The match will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
Men’s $106,000 2018 Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, England.
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Diego Elias (6) 3-0: 15-13, 11-8, 11-4 (47m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-9 (63m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Article by Sean Reuthe (PSA PR and Media Manager). Edited by Alan Thatcher.
Pictures courtesy of PSA