Friday, January 27, 2023

Simon Rosner topples Tarek Momen in Alberta

Top seed Tarek takes a tumble as Rosner wins dramatic final in five games of quality squash
By TOM BEDORE – Squash Mad Reporter at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Alberta

Simon Rosner attacks with a volley against Tarek Momen
Simon Rosner attacks with a volley against Tarek Momen

In front of a capacity crowd at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Alberta, Simon Rosner upset #1 seed Tarek Momen in a thrilling five-game final of the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open that lasted nearly 90 minutes.

Rosner took the early lead in game one but neither player could take more than a two-point lead until the mid-point of the game when Rosner pressured Momen into making an unforced error to go up 6-4. Some explosive rallies followed. The Rosner supporters in the Edmonton crowd encouraged him on when he got his first match ball at 10-8 and he made no mistake in winning the next rally and the game 11-8.

In game two, Momen came out strong and forced Rosner to every corner of the court to the gasps of the crowd. Rosner hit 3 into the tin and then missed a routine length shot to give Tarek a 6-1 lead. It was evident at 7-1 Tarek was going to win this game despite Rosner winning a couple of points to bring the score to 3-7. Momen needed two game balls to win the game 11-4 and tie the match at 1-1.

Momen picked up where he left off in game two, winning the first three points, the last one on a stunning rally where both players put on an amazing exhibition of speedy retrieval. After winning the next point, Rosner tried to relieve the pressure by hitting high lobs on the forehand side but Momens’s athletic ability to jump and smash them down to the front right corner enabled him to jump out to an 8-1 lead.

At 2-10 Rosner saved five game balls. The last one was absolutely brilliant to get to 6-10, than a no-let on Momen made the crowd believe Rosner had a chance to salvage this game. But Momen relied on a perfectly placed drop shot glued to the backhand wall to win the game 11-7.

The crowd gave both players a standing ovation at the start of game four, letting them know how they appreciated the high level of squash. At 2-2, Momen got a no-let call to give Rosner his first lead since the first game. This gave him the incentive to increase the lead to 4-2. But again Momen redoubled his efforts to tie it up at 4-4. Rosner fought bravely to take the lead again at 5-4.

Again Momen stretched him with his combination of boasts and drops to level the score at 5-5. Ever so slightly, Momen was starting to walk away with the match. At 9-6 Momen, it looked like there was no way Rosner could come back against the #1 seed. But Rosner would not give in and hit some perfect shots to go ahead 10-9. Momen then won a stroke against Rosner to tie it at 10-10.

Rosner won another game ball on a reverse boast at the front right corner. After a number of collisions, Momen complained to the refs that he should have been awarded a stroke. He felt the refs were being influenced by the crowd that was clearly favoring Rosner. On the next rally, Rosner was awarded a stroke to win the game in extra points 13-11.


Simon Rosner gives Tarek Momen a hand after a mid-court collision
Simon Rosner gives Tarek Momen a hand after a mid-court collision

The final game had all the drama that you would expect from a meeting with these two players. Momen and Rosner are so close in so many aspects of their games, neither player could orchestrate a significant lead until two tins by Mome gave Rosner a 6-3 advantage.

Momen finally was able to win the next point to bring it to 4-6 but Rosner, as he has done all week at critical junctures, increased the pressure and jumped out to a 7-4 lead. Momen showed more frustration when he was given a no-let as he ran into Rosner’s back to give the German an 8-5 lead. Again Momen forced Rosner to go for a volley that went out of court.

Both players were taking a beating as they continued to run into each other. Momen got a no let call on a great length shot by Rosner to give him the 9-6 lead. The let calls continued until Momen hit one out to give Rosner a match ball. He worked Momen into a bad position and received a stroke call to win the game 11-6 and the match in five.

Both players were appreciative of the Edmonton crowd and Rosner applauded the tournament organizers: “This was a well-run tournament with a number of innovative events including the lightning round and half-mile sprint. The weather was cold but the crowds were warm and the players appreciated it.”

ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open, Royal Glenora Club, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Final):

[2] Simon Rosner (GER) bt (1)Tarok Momen (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6 [86 mins]

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Tom Bedore and photographer Joe Mann for their excellent coverage from Edmonton. 

Pictures by JOSEPH MANN


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