Friday, December 1, 2023

Mostafa Asal topples world champion Tarek Momen to reach Cairo final against Mohamed ElShorbagy

Hania El Hammamy faces Nouran Gohar in women’s final 
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Correspondent

The explosive 20-year-old Egyptian Mostafa Asal has reached his first major final after producing an impressive performance to dispatch world champion Tarek Momen in the semi-finals of the CIB PSA World Tour Finals at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia.

Asal, the reigning world junior champion, has had a marvellous tournament so far after topping Group A ahead of World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy, defending champion Marwan ElShorbagy and World No.1 Ali Farag.

The World No.12 continued that form into his match with World No.3 Momen, winning 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 in a 68-minute battle that was punctuated by scrappy periods of play and a number of refereeing decisions in the latter stages of the contest.

“I can’t describe my feelings right now,” Asal said. “It was a very tough game and mentally it was really, really tough. Mind games is my job, you know, that is what I am good at and I am learning from Mohamed ElShorbagy and just how mentally tough he is. I didn’t know whether the quality of squash between me and Tarek was good today but mentally and physically I was there.

“[There was] lots of interference, too much talking as well so I am happy to be through. Tarek is an unbelievable player and a world champion and all credit to him. I grew up learning from him so I am really happy to be through and I am looking forward to my next match.”

Asal will take on two-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy in the title decider after he overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll 11-5, 5-11, 11-6 to follow up his win over the World No.4 in last month’s El Gouna International.

ElShorbagy beat Asal in a 93-minute encounter in the group stage on day one and was full of praise for his young compatriot.

“It was the group of death [Group A], and I think myself and Asal were the best two players and we are the best two in the tournament,” said ElShorbagy, who will become the first Egyptian to play in the title decider of the World Tour Finals on four occasions.

“We completely deserve to be in the final. I have played against so many players, from those 10 years older than me, like Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier. Players from my own generation like Ali, my brother (Marwan), Gawad and now I am playing Asal, who is 10 years younger than me.

“I love the guy off the court. He is one of the nicest guys on Tour. For me, he is a winner and he will win so many titles.”

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Meanwhile, defending champion Hania El Hammamy has continued her attempts to become only the third woman to win two CIB PSA World Tour Finals trophies as she came back from match ball down to oust France’s Camille Serme.

The pair have contested multiple captivating matches on the PSA Tour over the past two seasons and El Hammamy came out on top after 54 minutes of high-quality squash, winning 11-6, 3-11, 14-12 to book her place in the title decider.

“The only thing I can say, I can assure you that even if I can’t find my game and I can’t find my length, I will kill myself, I will run for every point and I think that is what I did today,” El Hammamy said.

“I dug in and I will always keep digging. Every time I play Camille, it is always physical and intense, I always enjoy playing against her and I think I should be proud of how I kept fighting. I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow… hopefully I will be able to deliver a good performance.”

El Hammamy will take on World No.2 Nouran Gohar in the title decider after she beat New Zealand’s Joelle King in a scrappy 2-1 victory to reach the final of this event for the first time.

There was no love lost between the pair in the latter stages, with both players sharing a terse racket touch at the end, as Gohar capitalised on her strong start to the fixture to win 11-2, 10-12, 11-6 in 46 minutes.

“I felt I was playing well this tournament and actually the last few times we have played each other, I was not on my best form,” said Gohar, who had lost her previous three matches to King.

“It was tricky here and it is my first time through to the final here at the World Tour Finals, so I am very happy to be through. I am glad I won today, for sure, I felt very comfortable and I knew it was very important to win the first game, so I was very focused from the very beginning and I was really happy with the way I dealt with it.”

The finals take place today (June 27) and play begins at 19:30 (GMT+2). The action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (worldwide) and the channels of contracted broadcast partners.

2020-21 CIB PSA World Tour Finals, Mall of Arabia, Cairo, Egypt.

Men’s Semi-Finals:
[7] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [2] Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-1: 11-9, 6-11, 11-4 (68m)
[5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [3] Paul Coll (NZL) 2-1: 11-5, 5-11, 11-6 (50m)

Men’s Final:
[7] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Women’s Semi-Finals:
[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [7] Joelle King (NZL) 2-1: 11-2, 10-12, 11-6 (46m)
[2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) bt [6] Camille Serme (FRA) 2-1: 11-6, 3-11, 14-12 (54m)

Women’s Final:
[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [2] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)

Pictures courtesy of PSA


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1 Comment

  1. I can’t help wondering why too many of Asal’s matches are so contentious? And ultimately not good to watch! His match with Momen had FAR too much chatter and interruptions. And then my mind turns to the Olympic Games… and everyone’s desire to see squash included. Asal as a youngster – and therefore he MUST have the OG in his sights – needs to be made cognizant of this, and somehow change his ways. He can and will dominate.

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