Monday, April 15, 2024

Cam Pilley stunned by Mohamed Abouelghar in Grasshopper Cup

Qualifier meets Amr Shabana in all-Egyptian quarter-final in Zurich
By Squash Mad Correspondent

Mohamed Abouelghar on the attack against Cam Pilley
Mohamed Abouelghar on the attack against Cam Pilley

Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar produced the biggest win of his career when he defeated eighth-seeded Australian Cameron Pilley in the first round of the Grasshopper Cup in Switzerland.

In doing so, he became the only qualifier to make the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at the ezw-Unterwerk Selnau in Zurich.

The youngest player in the draw, 20-year-old Abouelghar battled for 62 minutes to see off World No.17 Pilley 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6 in his first appearance in the main draw of a PSA Tour event this year after four successive qualifying disappointments.

“I’m very happy – finally a losing streak has come to an end!” said the World No.57 (pictured below, in black) from Cairo. “Cameron is such great player and I never thought I could keep up with him and have a tough four-setter.

“I need to thank some people: First of all my coach Mohamed Farid, and my fitness coach Mahmoud. They’ve been doing a great job with me over the past 10 years and maybe I couldn’t play squash without them!”

amralizurAbouelghar will now take on distinguished fellow countryman Amr Shabana, the four-time World Champion also from Cairo, for the first time on the Tour.

Third seed Shabana, the left-hander making his Grasshopper debut (pictured right), ended champion Alister Walker’s reign – beating the World No.19 from Botswana who won the title last year for the first time 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 in 36 minutes.

There will be further Egyptian interest in the fourth quarter-final line-up settled on the second day of first round action. No.7 seed Omar Mosaad survived an all-Egyptian clash with Cairo club-mate and qualifier Mohd Ali Anwar Reda, winning 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 11-3.

“It’s the first time playing Reda on PSA,” explained the World No.13 after his 49-minute victory. “He’s my team mate – we play at the same club in Egypt, the Heliopolis club, so we usually train together at the club. We know how each other plays.

“Today I started really well, especially at the end of the first game – but in the second he started to change his tactics and he played more basics and I struggled a little bit and I think that worked for him. In the third game, especially in the first five points, it was a mental game because we were both trying to lead – so I think in the middle of the third I played two more good shots and I started to create a lead.

“In the fourth I started early and was able to move ahead. I’m really happy to play with Mohd Reda – he did good work in the qualifiers. Now I’m going to watch Henrik and Borja, have dinner, and enjoy Zurich!”

Spaniard Borja Golan was the victor in the final match of the day, beating Finnish qualifier Henrik Mustonen 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 in 35 minutes.

“Henrik was a really tough opponent, attacking all the time, so you have to be patient and play a good basic game,” explained the No.2 seed, but highest-ranked player in the draw.

“I think the difference today was that he made more errors at crucial times in the first and second game,” added the World No.5 from Santiago de Compostela. “Looking forward to my match tomorrow.”

For all the latest Tour news:

RESULTS: Grasshopper Cup, Zurich, Switzerlandtitle (First Round, bottom half of the draw):

[3] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 (36m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-7, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6 (62m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 11-3 (49m)
[2] Borja Golan (ESP) bt [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 (35m)

Quarter-final line-up:
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v [5] Simon Rösner (GER)
[4] Daryl Selby (ENG) v [6] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[3] Amr Shabana (EGY) v [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[2] Borja Golan (ESP) v [7] Omar Mosaad (EGY)

Grasshopper Cup images courtesy of Helen Ree


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