Saturday, May 18, 2024

Top seeds downed as Tarek Momen meets Amr Shabana in all-Egyptian final in Zurich

Top seed James Willstrop ousted in 93-minute Grasshopper Cup semi-final
By Squash Mad Correspondent

Tarek Momen celebrates as he beats James Willstrop
Tarek Momen celebrates as he beats James Willstrop

After despatching the top two seeds in contrasting semi-finals, Amr Shabana and Tarek Momen will contest the first all-Egyptian final of the Grasshopper Cup, the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at the ezw-Unterwerk Selnau in the Swiss city of Zurich.

Third seed Shabana, the rejuvenated 34-year-old four-time world champion from Cairo, was at his awesome best as he defeated No2 seed Borja Golan, the World No.5 from Spain, 11-3, 13-11, 12-10 in 43 minutes.

“I really felt going into this match I was very sharp and very focused,” said the left-hander (pictured below) on the eve of his 47th PSA World Tour final appearance.

“In this phase of my career it’s all about gathering different aspects going into the match and I really felt I was ready to play.

“Movement-wise I felt I was moving well. Of course it helped me that he had a two-hour match yesterday that prevented him from coming out firing and I took full advantage of that. All credit to him after the first, he managed to shift the pattern of play, making it very uncomfortable for me, changing the pace.

“It all came down to winning the big points in the end. Luckily for me it came my way.”

It took almost an hour longer to resolve the second semi – a match in which the fortunes ebbed and flowed between the two players for a full 93 minutes.amrgol

Momen, the No.6 seed from Cairo, had never before beaten top seed James Willstrop in five meetings with the World No.6 from England since 2009.

Games and points were traded right up to eight-all in the decider – but underdog Momen, ranked 12 in the world, held his nerve to win 11-6, 1-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9.

“I really surprised myself with the way my game has matured,” said Momen (pictured below raising his arms in delight), now in his 10th Tour final. “I knew that recently I found a way to be more patient but I haven’t been consistent with it but so far in this tournament I kept my cool and calm and I’ve been very patient.

“Also this helped to reduce the error count and I feel playing this way will allow me to eventually progress in the rankings.”

Asked whether the vociferous crowd had played a part in his win, Momen was quick to say: “We players really appreciate the crowd coming in every day right from the first round – the attendance has been huge from the beginning.

“This is by far the best crowd in the world. It’s my first time playing in this tournament and I’m planning on coming back again and again!”

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Grasshopper Cup, Zurich, Switzerland. Semi-Finals:

[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [1] James Willstrop (ENG) 11-6, 1-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (93m)
[3] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [2] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-3, 13-11, 12-10 (43m)

Grasshopper Cup images courtesy of Helen Ree


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