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Tarek Momen takes out James Willstrop in Hong Kong

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Egyptian enjoys giant-killing act as he takes out 6ft 4in No.3 seed
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Chief Reporter

Tarek Momen gets in front of James Willstrop
Tarek Momen gets in front of James Willstrop

Egyptian ace Tarek Momen sprang the shock of the day in Hong Kong as he overcame No.3 seed James Willstrop in straight games. 

The form book was turned upside down during the opening day of action at the 2014 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open as qualifiers Fares Dessouki, Zahed Mohamed, Shaun Le Roux and Alfredo Avila joine Momen by dispatching higher ranked opponents in their first round encounters.

The biggest giant-killing of the day saw the 6ft 4in world No.6 Willstrop, the 31-year-old former World No.1 and 2011 Hong Kong Open champion, bow out in the opening round of a PSA World Tour event for the first time since the 2006 World Championship at the hands of 26-year-old Egyptian Momen.

Willstrop, a 17-time PSA World Tour event winner, showed signs that he may still be struggling with a hip problem which will be operated on in September, but Momen took no chances against the dangerous Englishman, completing an impressive 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 victory.

“I’m really pleased that I got through that match and beating James in a first round match is quite something,” said Momen.

“I think he was struggling with his movement from the start of the match and hopefully it isn’t anything too serious and he has a speedy recovery.

“Hopefully I can keep improving my game in the next round. I think I played well today and all I wish for is to build upon this and keep the momentum going.”

The World No.12 took just over 40-minutes to see off the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist and will take on Shaun Le Roux in the second round, after the South African qualifier recorded an upset of his own by taking out World No.30 Olli Tuominen 3-1.

Fresh from securing his place in the main draw at the expense of World No.32 Tom Richards in qualifying, 23-year-old World No.52 Alfredo Avila secured one of the biggest wins of his career when he beat Egyptian World No.17 Marwan Elshorbagy 3-2.

In a tough physical encounter, Mexican Avila continued his recent run of form to impress the crowd, coming through 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8 to reach the second round of a World Series event for the first time in his career where he will face German champion Simon Rösner.

“I am so happy to have won that match, it is one of the biggest wins of my career,” said Avila.

“This is the first time I have got this far in a World Series event and I’m delighted.

“Getting to the second round is amazing for me and I’m very excited. I know it will be a tough match but I’m playing well and i just want to enjoy it.”

Elseswhere 19-year-old Dessouki, who impressed by reaching the quarter-final stage of the prestigious Allam British Open in May, out battled World No.19 Mathieu Castagnet in an attritional affair while World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, World No.10 Daryl Selby and Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid came through their first round encounters unscathed. 

Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Squash Open 2014 – Round 1, Day 1, Results:

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 (30mins)
[Q] Fares Dessouki (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (76mins)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9 (71mins)
[7] Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-7 (57mins)
[8] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 (33mins)
[Q] Alfredo Avila (MEX) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8 (65mins)
[Q] Shaun Le Roux (RSA) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-1: 6-11, 11-8, 13-11, 12-10 (70mins)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [3] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 (41mins)

Round 1, Day 2, Schedule:
[4] Borja Golan (ESP) v Laurens Jan Anjema (NED)
Joe Lee (ENG) v [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [6] Karim Darwish (EGY)
[5] Peter Barker (ENG) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [WC] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [2] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)

Picture courtesy of PSA

 

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