Golan lets 2-0 lead slip as Mosaad wins 98-minute marathon
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Top seed Omar Mosaad fought back from two games down to win a bruising semi-final against Spain’s Borja Golan. He meets French No.3 seed Mathieu Castagnet, who won a tumultuous battle against Australia’s Cameron Pilley.
The 6ft 4in tall Mosaad, known as the Hammer of Thor, finally won 8-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 after 98 minutes of brutal combat on court.
In a match with more than 50 decisions from referee John Massarella, Mosaad finished the stronger of the two players, despite a punishing recent schedule that has included finishing runner-up in Colombia and reaching the semi-finals in Chicago.
With the temperature inside the East Wintergarden slightly cooler than in previous evenings this week, Mosaad struggled to find his normal length.
Golan played inspired squash, was faster around the front of the court, but ultimately caused his own undoing by losing his focus and spending too much time in debates with the referee.
He was warned about delaying the serve, received a conduct warning, and finally a conduct stroke as Massarella lost patience with the endless stoppages.
Mosaad made a number of errors early in the match, some caused by Golan’s tight play and others totally unforced.
Golan closed out the first game from 8-8, and held his nerve to win the second 13-11.
From 5-5 in the third, Mosaad strung together a dominant phase to win it 11-6.
Picture Gallery by PATRICK LAUSON (www.patricklausonphotography.com)
The tables were turning but in the fourth Mosaad let slip an 8-5 lead and Golan was two points away from winning the match at 9-9. This time Mosaad finished the game with purpose and precision to take it 11-9.
In the fifth, Mosaad moved ahead from 4-4 as Golan’s outbursts grew more frequent and the tall Egyptian closed out the match with a six-point cushion.
After the match Mosaad admitted he was feeling tired after his recent international travels but was sure he would be able to rise to the occasion in the final.
He said: “I’m feeling tired right now – when I lost the first two games I thought I had lost the match and I was already thinking about a flight home tomorrow.
“But then I managed to get back into it and force it to 2-2 and I’m very happy that I managed to push through and reach my first Canary Wharf final.
“I lost my concentration when I was up in the first game so I tried to push myself concentration wise in the third and fourth. The important thing now is to rest and prepare as best as I can for the final tomorrow.”
Picture Gallery by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)
Castagnet looked fresh throughout his duel with Pilley and finished strongly to win the deciding fourth game after Pilley had led 8-5 and held game ball at 10-8.
Earlier, Castagnet had dominated the opening game before Pilley responded positively in the second, scraping it 13-11 after holding game ball at 10-8.
Pilley loves to play with enormous pace, but perhaps Castagnet’s speed around the court was the more significant factor.
He ripped through the third game 11-1 as Pilley took a breather and refused to give up in the fourth when the Australian must have thought he had done enough to take the match to five.
After 87 minutes, Castagnet clinched victory without needing to dive once. He must be saving it up for the final.
Castagnet said: “I am feeling so good right now. He’s such a great player and it was very stressful tonight.
“I was pushing so hard in that fourth to get to every ball because I knew going to a fifth game would be a nightmare.
“I was tiring and he’s so skilled with the racket that the fifth game would have been very difficult. I stayed focused and tried to replicate what I did in the second game to save that one.
“I have been working so hard for 15 years and to reach the Canary Wharf Classic final is a great achievement – so many strong players have won the title here and I will be pushing so hard to join them tomorrow.
“Tomorrow I know Omar will be a tough match. He has so much experience and I remember a match in Hong Kong last year when he was 2-0 down and saved five or six match balls to win so I will be preparing to play him at 100 per cent and hopefully I can play well.”
PSA M70 Canary Wharf Squash Classic, East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London
(1) Omar Mosaad (Egypt) beat (8) Borja Golan (Spain) 8-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (98 mins)
(3) Mathieu Castagnet (France) beat (6) Cameron Pilley (Australia) 11-9, 11-13, 11-1, 13-11 (87 mins)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)
and PATRICK LAUSON (www.patricklausonphotography.com)