By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Two-time champion Ali Farag got his U.S. Open title challenge off to a winning start with a clinical display against Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng.
The World No.2 won 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 in 35 minutes to set up a third round fixture with Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez in this PSA World Tour Platinum tournament at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center.
Top seed Farag, who recently suffered a shock defeat to Rodriguez in the Qatar Classic third round, said: “These are different conditions (to his match against Rodriguez in Qatar) but it’s always exciting to play someone after you lose to them.
“There is some nervous energy going into it, but you try and live up to these challenges. We know each other’s game inside out, but hopefully I come out on top this time.”
On his performance against Yow, he added: “I did well in the first, and in the second he came back more strongly. But I’m glad I got away with the second and finished it off in three.”
Rodriguez ended home hopes in the men’s event as he took out world No.39 Todd Harrity in straight games full of entertaining squash.
World No.1 Paul Coll began his tournament with a 3-0 win over France’s Sebastien Bonmalais, while Peru’s Diego Elias and England’s three-time champion Mohamed ElShorbagy also opened up with wins, beating Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann and Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu, respectively.
No.7 seed Joel Makin returned to action with a typically hard-fought win over France’s Gregoire Marche, winning 11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-4 in 52 minutes.
The Welshman has been struggling with an injury recently but showed no signs of that as he pinned Marche in the back corners with great length and covered all areas of the court to frustrate his opponent.
ElShorbagy is England’s only representative left in the men’s competition after defeats for James Willstrop, Patrick Rooney and George Parker.
Willstrop, despite a close third game, lost 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 to Egypt’s Mazen Hesham in just 23 minutes. The Egyptian was firing the ball into the front two corners with ease and Willstrop struggled to contain the relentless attacks.
Marwan ElShorbagy beat Rooney 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 and will be waiting to hear if his third round opponent, France’s Lucas Serme, will be able to play tonight after being diagnosed with concussion and a perforated eardrum after being struck with the ball by Mostafa Asal, resulting in Serme being awarded the match. Separate report here
Parker lost in four to Egypt’s Moustafa El Sirty in a match lasting almost an hour and Scotland’s Greg Lobban went down to France’s Baptiste Masotti 7-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 in a tough encounter lasting 71 minutes.
The keenly awaited match between Tarek Momen and Victor Crouin ended in a 3-1 win for Egypt’s former world champion (4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 in 61 minutes).
Momen was keen to seek his revenge over Crouin after the Frenchman won the recent Qatar Classic quarter final encounter between the two. Crouin looked solid and strong in the opening exchanges of the match and worked the ball straight and tight to squeeze Momen on the side walls.
After losing the first game, Momen stuck to his game plan and continued to take the ball short both on the bounce and on the volley. Crouin’s movement started to slow down slightly, which Momen took full advantage of. After securing a 2-1 lead, Momen then managed to keep restricting Crouin’s attacking opportunities and closed out a tight fourth game 11-9 to move into the last 16.
Momen said: “Losing last time helped, because it made me look forward to having a rematch so I was looking forward to this match today. I wanted to see how both of us would adapt.
“It didn’t disappoint. He played really well today and I’m glad I overturned the deficit. I was feeling it physically but I knew I could push for longer so I’m just really glad that I could get through it and get the win.
“I think experience plays a big part and I’m happy that I’m still able to push the top guys on tour at 34 years old and I’ll keep doing it until I can’t physically do it any more.”
Momen now meets Saurav Ghosal, who is one year older! The Indian No.1 produced a solid, composed display to beat Mexico’s Cesar Salazar in four games. Ghosal dropped just three points in the opening two games before Salazar fought back to take the third. The Mexican battled hard throughout the fourth before Ghosal won the tiebreak 14-12.
The men’s third round will now be split over the next two days, with four matches tonight and another four tomorrow.
PSA Platinum 2022 U.S. Open, Arlen Specter National Squash Center, Philadelphia, USA.
Men’s Second Round:
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (35m)
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 14-12, 11-5, 11-4 (39m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 11-2, 11-1, 5-11, 14-12 (49m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Victor Crouin (FRA) 3-1: 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (61m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 12-10 (23m)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-8, 11-2, 11-6 (39m)
Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1: 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (48m)
Lucas Serme (FRA) bt  Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 7-11, 4-6 retired (64m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-1: 2-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4 (53m)
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 7-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (71m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Leonel Cardenas (MEX) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (34m)
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 11-5, 4-11, 11-2, 11-4 (52m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-4 (29m)
Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (59m)
Ramit Tandon (IND) bt Henry Leung (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 (28m)
 Paul Coll (NZL) bt Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) 3-0: 11-3, 11-2, 11-7 (31m)
Men’s Third Round (Top Half, October 10):
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Youssef Soliman (EGY)
Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
Men’s Third Round (Bottom Half, October 11):
 Diego Elias (PER) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Joel Makin (WAL)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
Ramit Tandon (IND) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour