Momen topples top seed Simon Rosner as Gawad sinks Daryl Selby in straight games
By JESPER PERSSON in Linköping
The final of the UCS Swedish Open will be an all-Egyptian affair as Tarek Momen toppled top seed Simon Rösner in a 91-minute battle and Karim Abdel Gawad overcame England’s Daryl Selby in straight games.
What a first match we got to see here in Linköping this afternoon. The semi-final between Tarek Momen and Simon Rösner lasted for 91 minutes and Momen emerged the winner after a match full of superb squash.
Entering todays semi-finals, both the players and the crowd expected a tight match between the German Rösner and Momen, from Egypt, and that was exactly what they got.
There where some amazing rallies and the two players deservedly received several standing ovations from the sold-out crowd.
Momen afterwards described how he enjoyed a shorter match yesterday and felt that he had an advantage on Rösner, who played a long quarter-final against Cameron Pilley.
“He had a really tough match yesterday and I kept fighting to get an early lead. I knew that would be difficult for him,” said Momen.
On the question regarding how much longer Momen could have played he answered: ”Lets say minus 15 minutes! I was really running out of fuel in the end, and I really don’t know what happened in the end but I’m really happy that I won.”
Tournament Director Fredrik Johnson said that this was one of the best matches he had ever seen here in the Swedish Open and was pleased by the thriller he got to see today.
Momen’s clash with Rösner saw the lead change hands multiple times throughout a frenetic 91-minute encounter with both players battling back from deficits on numerous occasions.
With the match poised at 2-2, Momen managed to come out on top in an energy-sapping fifth game to record a 5-11, 14-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 victory to reach his first PSA M70 final.
Momen added: “It’s a great feeling to get through to the final. I fought for every point and it was close all the way, point-by-point, until the very end. When it’s 2-2 and 9-9 it can be decided by the flip of a coin. It went my way this time and I’m very happy about that.
“The journey’s not over yet, I want to do well tomorrow and win my first M70 title.”
Gawad has also reached his maiden PSA M70 final after coming through in straight games against Selby.
Both players went head-to-head in an extremely tight opening game with only two points in it as Gawad crept to the win. Some superb shots from Gawad enabled the man from Alexandria to build up a strong lead in the second and he doubled his advantage after Selby appeared to be struggling with his movement.
A run of unforced errors from Gawad let Selby back into the match in the third game but the 24-year-old did just enough to close the match out with an 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 margin of victory.
“Tomorrow will be a tough match,” said Gawad. “During the second game I felt that he wasn’t going for many balls. I thought that the third would be the same but he started to move better so I found myself 6-4 down. I had to refocus and try to play as if he wasn’t suffering from anything.”
Gawad and Momen are great friends and Gawad pointed that out after the match, adding: “Tarek is a good friend both on and off tour. We have been playing at the same club for seven years so tomorrow will be a good match. I don’t think it will make much difference that Tarek played a long match today. Yesterday it was the other way round so I think we will be physically equal tomorrow.”
$70,000 Men’s UCS Swedish Open 2016, Linköping Sporthall, Linköping, Sweden
 Tarek Momen (EGY) beat  Simon Rösner (GER) 5-11, 14-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9 (91 mins)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) beat  Daryl Selby (ENG) 11-9, 11-4, 11-8 (42 mins)
Final: 3pm Sunday February 7th.
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)