Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Legend lives on as Amr Shabana leaps to Grasshopper title

Egyptian veteran holds on to beat Tarek Momen in Zurich final
By Squash Mad Correrspondent

Amr Shabana (blue shirt) hunts the ball down against tarek Momen
Amr Shabana (blue shirt) hunts the ball down against tarek Momen

Amr Shabana is still going strong in his mid 30s, as he demonstrated by overcoming fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen to win his latest PSA World Tour title.

Shabana outlasted young compatriot Momen in five games in the final of the Grasshopper Cup, the PSA International 50 squash event at the ezw-Unterwerk Selnau in the Swiss city of Zurich, to become became the oldest winner of a PSA World Tour title this year.

The 34-year-old third seed from Cairo went into the match, his 47th Tour final, after a straight-games semi-final victory over second-seeded Spaniard Borja Golan – while Momen, the No.6 seed, had taken his surprise place in the final after defeating favourite James Willstrop in a 93-minute marathon, his second long match in the space of 24 hours.

But four-time world champion Shabana showed his class in the final when, after squandering a two-game lead, he fought back in the decider to win 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8 after 79 minutes.

momenzurThe triumph marks Shabana’s second title of the year and the 33rd of his career – and extends his Tour title-winning run to a remarkable 16 years!

“It’s been a great week, everything fell in place together,” admitted ‘The Maestro’ later. “I know I was a bit fortunate with a couple of matches – playing my opponents who had gruelling monster matches the day before – but I still had to seize my opportunities.

“As you saw today against Tarek, I was 2/0 up and going smoothly towards the finishing line – and all of a sudden he came back with energy and focus and it took every ounce of energy, concentration and experience to be through in the end.

“The last few points could have gone either way,” added modest former world number one Shabana. “Fortunately it was me.”

Momen, ranked 12 in the world, said: “I’m happy with my performance today. Of course I’m a bit disappointed for being unlucky with my strings on match ball. But I guess this is karma because yesterday I had a lucky shot on match ball.

“But there are many positive things I can take out of this tournament. Me and Amr had an amazing match today so I’d like to congratulate him and I hope I can keep up this level of performance until the end of season!”

PSA International 50 Grasshopper Cup, Zurich, Switzerland. Final:

[3] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [6] Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8 (79m)

Grasshopper Cup images courtesy of Helen Ree


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