Diego Elias pushes top seed Tarek Momen all the way in Edmonton first round
By TOM BEDORE – Squash Mad Special Correspondent in Edmonton, Alberta
There were some close calls but no upsets in the first day of the main draw of the 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open. But once again, young Peruvian Diego Elias, showed his phenomenal potential by taking top seed Tarek Momen to five after leading by two games to one.
Tarek Momen (EGY) defeated Diego Elias (PER) 3-2
At the start of this match, the question on everyone’s mind was “how good is this kid?” in reference to the current World Junior Champion, Diego Elias. He took out both Schnell brothers in straight games in the qualifying, but how would he do against a top 10 player?
Momen (right) jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then 6-2. Elias seemed to struggle with Momen’s pressure but it didn’t take him long to figure it out. Diego roared back to 6-6 before Momen was able to beat him with dying length. At 8-8, Momen used his perfect length to get a game ball at 10-8. That’s when the pace went to a new level with Momen winning the final rally on a perfectly executed cross-court.
In game two, Elias soon led 3-0. It’s very difficult to send Elias the wrong way but Momen holds so effectively, he was able to do it several times to bring the game to 5-5. Momen hit the very top of the tin in three successive rallies to give Elias an 8-5 lead.
At 9-5 after winning a brilliant rally, Elias hit the top of the tin to give Momen a chance to get back into the game. But after a 30-shot rally that ended in a stroke call against Momen, Elias had his first game ball at 10-7. After an amazing exchange in the front left corner, both players executed tighter and tighter drop shots until the Peruvian was able to get one to roll-out for the winner.
In game 3, Elias came out with more confidence and used some trickery to win the first two points. As the match progressed, Elias continued to gain confidence and climbed to a 4-1 lead. But Momen, the great fighter that he is, got the first game ball.
Both players were visibly tired with sweat-drenched shirts and both were breathing heavily. After a let ball in which, Elias thought he won the point, he made no mistake on the next one and won the game in extra points 12-10. He now had a 2-1 lead on the #1 seed.
Game four started with a collision in the first rally at the T with both players falling. Elias appeared to clip the calf of Momen. Elias jumped to a 4-0 lead and it looked like the collision may have impacted Momen’s play.
Both players have such perfect drop shots, it was surprising to see shots clip the tin. Elias hit a couple more tins than the Egyptian and Momen was able to take a 7-5 lead. Momen then seemed to sense his opportunity and he made no mistake.
One game ball appeared to be won but the Elias ball called out was appealed and overruled by the three-man referee system. Momen made no mistake on the next one and won 11-5.
In game five, the experienced Egyptian turned up the pressure from the opening rally, controlling the T and putting too much pressure on Elias, and in the process gaining a 3-0 lead. But Elias fought back and won the next three points. But that was all the young Peruvian would be allowed. Momen wins game five 11-3.
Eddie Charlton (ENG) defeated Dane Sharp (CAN) 3-0
Eddie Charlton has had Dane Sharp’s number defeating the Canadian in all three of their previous meetings. Tonight was no different as Charlton jumped out to a relatively easy 4-0 lead before Sharp won his first rally. Sharp followed that up with four straight points of his own but Charlton was able to maintain his steady play to close out the first game 11-6.
Game two was closer with Sharp really working hard to solve the smooth-playing Englishman. After a punishing rally won by Charlton to move the score to 9-6, Sharp barely clipped the top of the tin with a drop shot and Charlton had game ball. He needed two to win the game 11-7.
In game three, Charlton jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead & Sharp looked tired but he kept fighting. At 7-3, a stroke against Charlton gave Sharp an opportunity to get back in but that appeared to give Charlton more incentive and he closed it out quickly from there, winning the third game 11-4 and the match in three games.
Rex Hedrick (AUS) beat Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-2
These two players are only a few ranking positions apart & it was evident throughout the match. Neither could get a significant lead in the first game. Grayson finally pulled out the win 11-9. Hedrick fought back effectively in the second game and held the lead throughout most of it to win 11-6. Grayson jumped out to 6-1 lead in the third game and closed it out with an 11-5 victory.
Grayson looked tired in the middle part of game four. Hedrick recognized his opponent’s exhaustion and really started putting pressure on him which worked as he coasted to an 11-6 win. In game five, Grayson got the first point but no one could advance past that for the first five minutes with numerous let calls. Grayson won one more to go up 2-0.
Hedrick fought back and won the next three points and then Grayson cramped up badly in his left calf. You could see the huge bulge in his calf. He took a full two-minute time out to work it . When he returned Hedrick used the opportunity to work his wounded opponent. After winning a quick first point, then a couple of lets, Hedrick went up 4-3 and eventually won game five 11-5.
Adrian Waller (ENG) defeated Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-0
Both players have huge wingspans and cover the court efficiently for big men. Gordon had his best chance in the second game when he had one game ball that he was unable to convert into a winner. Waller, seeded 4 in the tournament, made no mistake when he had his chance and won game two 12-10. Waller got the jump on Gordon in game 3 and it looked like he might walk away with it at 3-0. The American threw everything at him but it was not enough and Waller won the third 11-7 and the match in 41 minutes.
Tom Richards (ENG) defeated Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 3-1
The two Englishman were close for the first half of the game but the veteran Richards with his great anticipation took control at 6-1 and eventually won the first game 11-8. In game two, Haycocks turned up the pressure and led 2-0. Richards dealt with the heat well but it was enough to give Haycocks game two in extra points, 13-11. That was about it for Haycocks as Richards was able to win the next two games and the match in four games.
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) defeated Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 3-0
Ribadas was defeated the night before in a battle with Ireland’s Arthur Gaskin. He found himself back in the draw when he was given the “lucky loser” spot in the main draw. His opponent, Nicolas Mueller was not at his best in the match but it was good enough to defeat the fiery Spaniard in three straight games.
Henrik Mustonen (FIN) defeated Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 3-1
Other than Diego Elias, Arthur Gaskin was the only qualifier who looked to have a chance to upset their main draw opponent. The first game was close but Gaskin trailed throughout & Mustonen won it 11-6. Gaskin came out flying in the second game and won it handily. The next two games were close but early in the fourth game Gaskin jammed his foot which definitely had an impact on his play going forward and Mustonen won the match in four games.
Simon Rosner (GER) defeated Shawn Delierre (CAN)
Delierre played well in the early part of the first two games but otherwise, the match was controlled by Rosner. The hard-hitting Rosner seemed to be able to read Delierre’s variety of shots and was seldom off balance.
With the Canadian crowd urging Delierre on in game two at 4-4, he showed some gutsy play but Rosner’s powerful pace and great movement was too much for Delierre. Rosner won the match in three straight games.
ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open (First Round):
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-9, 7-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3 [75 m)
Eddie Charlton (ENG) bt [WC] Dane Sharp (CAN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-4 [37 m]
Rex Hedrick(AUS) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-2: 9-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 11-5 [93 m]
 Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Christopher Gordon (USA) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 [41 m)
 Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [LL] Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 
 Tom Richards (ENG) bt (Q) Jaymie Haycocks (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-13, 11-4, 11-2
 Henrik Mustonen (FIN) bt (Q) Arthur Gaskin (IRL) 3-1: 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7
 Simon Rosner (GER) bt (Q) Shawn Delierre (CAN) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-2
Quarter-finals, Friday, November 28:
6pm Start:  Tarek Momen (EGY) vs Eddie Charlton (ENG)
7pm Start:  Adrian Waller vs Rex Hendrick (AUS)
8pm Start:  Nicolas Mueller (SUI) vs  Tom Richards (ENG)
9pm Start:  Simon Rosner (GER) vs  Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
Picture courtesy Farley McLeod (Bluenose Classic)