All-Egyptian final is a big hit at Mumbai cricket stadium
By RAJ ARORA in Mumbai
Egyptian World No.18 Fares Dessouky lifted the second PSA World Tour title of his career after overcoming compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in an exciting five-game battle in the 2016 CCI International JSW ISC, PSA M50 tournament staged at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.
Top seed Dessouky, whose last Tour title came back in 2013, had been in fine fettle in the build-up to the final, beating Olli Tuominen, Alan Clyne and third seed Chris Simpson to set up the clash with second seed Abouelghar, who saw off Tsz Fung Yip, Mohamed Reda and Nicolas Mueller.
The largest crowd ever to have witnessed squash in Mumbai settled down to witness the two Egyptian gladiators who are great friends and competitors.
Building on his form all week Dessouky looked stronger as he led 7-3. The calm Abouelghar responded with a flurry of points to first level at 8 and then take the lead with a delicate drop. Three well contested points followed and each of them were won by Dessouky to give him the opener. Nothing to choose between the two as they played some well constructed points and engaged in some long rallies that were marked with precision.
It was Abouelghar who won the longer points as he led 8-6 before Dessouky restored parity. 9-8 for Abouelghar followed by an unforced backhand error by Dessouky to bring up game ball.
Another Abouelghar drop and it was one all. Edge of the seat stuff. Only standing room. Electric atmosphere.
With the Egyptian flag swaying in the arena, Dessouky started asserting control and stayed ahead impressively winning the crucial third. 11-6.
In the fourth, more solid squash from Dessouky had him in front at 6-3 as the crowd got behind Abouelghar. It was working as Abouelghar pulled back, winning one then two then three then four in a row. 7-6 Abouelghar. The crowd want a fifth.
Top quality from Abouelghar. Some sheer brilliance in the forecourt and he gets to 9-7 and then 10-7. Abouelghar plays another beauty and it’s two games all.
Delightful stuff. It’s been an amazing squash lesson for squash players of all ages, shapes and sizes. Gripping entertainment.
Dessouky gains the advantage early in the fifth and finds himself at 4-1 and then 5-3. At 4-6, Abouelghar pulls one back only to be surprised at the next. At 7-5 to Dessouky there is a contentious call. Abouelghar allows himself to get upset. 8-5. One that sticks to the wall, 9-5. A fine cross court kill from Dessouky and an unforced error. Dessouky is the champion.
PSA M50 2016 Men’s CCI International JSW ISC 2016, Cricket Club of India, Mumbai, India.
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt  Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5 (70m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt  Chris Simpson (ENG) 14-12, 11-5, 11-7 (45m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt  Nicolas Müller (SUI) 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (34m)
 Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt  Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-5 (51m)
 Chris Simpson (ENG) bt  Lucas Serme (FRA) 11-4, 11-6, 13-11 (58m)
 Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt  Saurav Ghosal (IND) 9-11, 12-14, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (80m)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt  Mohamed Reda (EGY) 11-6, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6 (50m)
Semi-finals: Dessouky and Abouelghar set up Mumbai final showdown
Egyptian duo Fares Dessouky and Mohamed Abouelghar, seeds one and two, respectively, will face off in the final of the 2016 CCI International JSW ISC tournament in Mumbai as both players look to win their maiden PSA M50 titles.
Dessouky, the World No.18, booked his final berth after coming through in straight games against England’s Chris Simpson. After a tentative start to the match, both players soon found their range, with Simpson holding a game ball at 12-11 up in the opener, only to see a tenacious Dessouky rattle off three straight winners to go ahead.
The 22-year-old doubled his lead after dominating in the second game, before closing out the third to wrap up a 14-12, 11-5, 11-7 victory and move to within one win of a second career PSA World Tour title.
“It was a tough match, Chris was really good,” said Dessouky. “I am sure we are going to have many upcoming battles in the future. I really enjoyed playing with him today, it was a nice game.”
Abouelghar overcame Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller in his semi-final fixture, with Mueller looking to follow up a surprise victory over Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal in the previous round.
The 80-minute battle with Ghosal looked to have had an effect on Mueller as Abouelghar started the stronger of the two and it was the Egyptian who held out to take it 11-7, 11-6, 11-9.
“I wasn’t very comfortable today because Niki is a consistent player, and if I give him any openings, he will go for it and strike,” Abouelghar said. “I had to make sure that I was sharp as much as I could.”
Dessouky and Abouelghar are set to meet for the fourth time on the PSA World Tour, with Dessouky winning their last two fixtures.
Pictures by NITESH SQUARE