Sunday, July 14, 2024

ToC: Amr Shabana takes out Tarek Momen to reach semi-finals

‘I spent every single bit of energy to win’ reveals Egypt’s Amr Shabana as he reaches ToC semi-final clash with Mohamed Elshorbagy

By NATHAN CLARKE – Squash Mad Correspondent in New York

Amr Shabana on the attack against fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen
Amr Shabana on the attack against fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen

Defending champion Amr Shabana kept alive his hopes of winning back-to-back J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions titles with a gutsy 3-1 win over compatriot Tarek Momen, the World No.7, in an 85-minute match-up in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal today (Jan 20).

The 34-year-old, who became the oldest PSA World Series winner with his 2014 triumph, withstood a ferocious challenge from 27-year-old Momen, currently enjoying his highest ranking on the PSA World Tour, as he dug deep and used his wealth of ability and experience to squeeze over the line in a nailbiting encounter.

“All credit to Tarek because I spent every single bit of energy I had to beat him today,” said Shabana. “It took all the experience that I have to beat him and I think the next time we play he’s going to get me.”

Shabana opened up the match with an array of spectacular winners, taking the opening game in the process, but saw his advantage eradicated after a gallant effort from Momen saw him bounce back from squandering numerous game-balls to eventually take the second game 19-17.

The duo continued to trade points in compelling fashion throughout the next two games but it was four-time world champion Shabana that emerged victorious as the match ended in bizarre circumstances, with both players seemingly disappointed following the referee’s decision to award a stroke that handed the match to the elder man.

“The last point could have been a let, but it’s a win and I’ll take it,” added Shabana. “I’ve known Tarek since he was a young junior and he’s always been a very hard worker. He’s always improving his game and he has a very good future ahead of him but I was able to stop him today and I’m happy to be through.”

That victory will see Shabana take on another Egyptian, current World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, for a place in the finale when the semi-finals get underway on Thursday (January 22). Elshorbagy booked his place in the last four with a dominant 3-0 win over World No.12 Borja Golan.

The Spanish No.1 battled hard for every point but Elshorbagy, displaying the confidence and control that goes with being the world number one, closed out each game in style.

Results: Quarter-finals (Top Half) – JP Morgan Tournament of Champions

[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) beat [6] Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 [52m]

[4] Amr Shabana (EGY) beat [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) 6-11, 19-17, 11-8, 11-9 [85m]

Quarter-finals (Bottom Half) – To Be Played Jan 21
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [8] Simon Rösner (GER)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

Picture courtesy of PSA


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