Friday, December 1, 2023

Joel Makin falls to Diego Elias as Fares Dessouky downs Paul Coll in Zurich

By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)

Wales’ world No.9 Joel Makin fell in straight games to U.S. Open champion Diego Elias and world No.2 Paul Coll was beaten in three by Fares Dessouky in the quarter-finals of the Grasshopper Cup in Zurich.

Peruvian Elias, the only non-Egyptian left in the men’s draw, meets Marwan ElShorbagy in the semi-finals of this PSA Gold tournament with Dessouky up against Mostafa Asal.

Elias got the better of Makin in straight games on the way to his title win in Philadelphia and continued that consistency in the best-of-three scoring format employed in Zurich’s Halle 622 venue resulting in an 11-7, 11-9 victory.

Makin wanted to his impose his long-game tactics on Elias but the new world No.3 moved the ball around the court at a comfortable pace and interrupted his opponent’s rhythm with some deft holds and flicks.

After losing the first game, a determined Makin threatened to take the second before Elias finished strongly to win the game and the match by a two-point margin.

Elias said: “Joel is a very tough player and in a best-of-three he was going to start at 100 per cent and keep going the whole time. I was happy I could finish the rallies and I felt good with my game today.

“That second game was very tough. I was behind for most of the game. I’m just happy I put a lot of work in his legs at the start of the game and he started to slow down a little bit and that’s when I could win some quick rallies.”

No.7 seed Marwan ElShorbagy ended home hopes as he beat Switzerland’s  Nicolas Mueller 11-6, 11-4 in 21 minutes.

It was an immaculate performance from ElShorbagy, controlling the rallies with superb length and width before attacking any loose returns from Mueller.

He picked off a succession of winners as he powered through the second game and said: “Playing Nicci here in Switzerland in front of this amazing crowd, I knew how hard this match would be.

“Nicky had beaten me twice last season, so even when I was leading in the second game, I just told myself to keep the concentration up, play the next point even better, aND just to try to stay in front of him.

“Nicci just came back from an injury, So I’m really happy to see him back playing and competing, because he’s such an important player for the tour. Everyone likes him on tour, and I’m just really glad to see him back playing well and he’s just going to keep getting better as the season goes on, I’m sure.

“With Nicci you can’t lose your concentration at all. He’s a very tricky player, he goes for a lot of shots, he’s so talented. So I had to stay very sharp. I’m just really happy with my performance and looking forward to my match tomorrow.”

Fares Dessouky savours his victory over Paul Coll

Egypt’s Fares Dessouky enjoyed the best-of-three system as he overcame New Zealand’s world No.2 Paul Coll 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 in 45 minutes.

He was on the verge of winning in straight games as he built up an 8-3 lead in the second, but Coll produced a stunning fightback to win it 11-9 to send the match into a decider.

The Kiwi maintained that momentum to lead 4-2 in the third, but this time Dessouky showed his battling qualities back to hit back and book his spot in the semi-finals.

Dessouky said: “I’m very happy to beat Paul today. He did his best but I’m proud of myself to be able to come through this one as it was very tough, especially after the second game. I needed to show some toughness to come back and win.

“I don’t know what happened (in the second), but I was thinking about winning the match and I think this is the bad thing I did today. I’m happy I regrouped and I kept pushing. I didn’t give up so it’s a good step for me.”

Mostafa Asal celebrates his win over Tarek Momen to reach the semi-finals

Dessouky will now face off against world No.5 Mostafa Asal in an all-Egyptian contest. Asal made his way into the last four after beating compatriot Tarek Momen in a feisty battle, winning 11-6, 11-3 in just 22 minutes.

Momen began strongly to build a 4-1 lead but Asal soon levelled at 4-4 before winning seven of the next nine points.

Asal continued to dominate in the second game, winning 11-3 to set up a semi-final with Dessouky, who beat him in the final of the Gillen Markets Canary Wharf Classic in March.

Asal played Mr Nice Guy as he thanked the crowd and the referee, saying: “I’m really proud of myself. I want to thank the ref – it’s one of the best refs I have ever come across. He’s done really well, it’s my first time meeting him and it’s nice to see referees like this who analyse the game really well.”

Addressing the crowd, he added: “It’s really amazing, thanks for coming guys. It’s 11pm (on a Friday night) and you guys don’t have work tomorrow, but thanks for coming and cheering. Our sport needs you to grow.”

The semi-finals of the Grasshopper Cup will take today (Saturday, October 22) with all the action from Halle 622 being streamed live on SQUASHTV from 16:45 local time (GMT+2).

Tesni Evans powers through to Grasshopper semi-finals as Gina Kennedy is halted by Hania El Hammamy

PSA Gold 2022 Grasshopper Cup, Halle 622, Zurich, Switzerland.

Men’s Quarter Finals:
[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 2-0: 11-6, 11-4 (21m)
[4] Diego Elias (PER) bt [6] Joel Makin (WAL) 2-0: 11-7, 11-9 (39m)
[3] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-3 (22m)
[8] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [2] Paul Coll (NZL) 2-1: 11-7, 9-11, 11-7 (45m)

Men’s Semi-Finals (Saturday, October 22):
[7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [4] Diego Elias (PER)
[3] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [8] Fares Dessouky (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour 


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