Shocks in Grasshopper Cup
By NATHAN CLARKE in Zurich
Egyptian World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy – the man who topped the PSA World Rankings for 28 months up to March 2017 – crashed out of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup during a dramatic day of quarter-finals action inside Zurich’s Puls5 venue.
Gawad, 2016 World Champion, succumbed to another Egyptian, World No.10 Tarek Momen, in a highly entertaining five-game battle that saw the pair put together rally after rally of the highest calibre – hitting all four corners of the court in an exhibition of free flowing, attacking squash.
After taking the opening game 11-7, 29-year-old Momen managed to keep his composure and produce one of his best performances in recent years to fend off a huge charge from Gawad and see out the match in five, winning 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6. He will now face Frenchman Gregory Gaultier – who hasn’t lost on his last 21 outings on the PSA World Tour – for a place in the final.
“That was a big match for me today because I know I’ve been playing well and been in some of my best form of late – but I’ve been coming up short by narrow margins time and time again,” said Momen.
“It was very tough for me mentally – I tried very hard to keep believing in myself and not fall into the trap of doubting myself after making errors. I’m very happy that I managed to come through because I feel like I was due one big win before the end of the season.
“There was some scrappy play at times today but to beat the World No.1 is amazing and I’m going to enjoy the semi-final tomorrow. I’ve played some big matches with Greg this season and I’m looking forward to another one tomorrow.”
Gaultier was in commanding form as he dispatched Germany’s Simon Rösner in a routine 3-0 while it was World No.8 Ali Farag who toppled tournament top seed ElShorbagy in a back and forth 81 minute battle.
ElShorbagy, whose recent performances on court have seem him battle internal demons more than his opponents, put in a Jekyll and Hyde performance while Farag fought through physical barriers in the decisive fifth game to complete a come-from-behind win.
“There was a crucial point in the middle of the fifth game where I gave him some cheap points,” said Farag.
“But I dug in, told myself not to give up on it and thankfully it worked because it was a flip of a coin at the end. I was trying to loosen up and go for my shots because I was maybe playing too conservative before then and I was starting to cramp up physically.
“I’m really excited to be in the semi-finals now.”
Farag will go up against England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew for a place in the finals after the 36-year-old from Sheffield recorded a straight-games win against the imposing figure of Omar Mosaad.
PSA M100 2017 Grasshopper Cup, Puls 5, Zurich, Switzerland.
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9 (81m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (52m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 (74m)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (46m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Pictures courtesy of PSA