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Top seeds Momen and Rosner meet in final

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Momen’s front court variety and Rosner’s power and precision sets up a tasty Alberta showdown
By TOM BEDORE – Squash Mad Reporter

Tarek Momen gets in front of Adrian Waller
Tarek Momen gets in front of Adrian Waller

A rematch of the top two seeds in the 2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open was set tonight in Edmonton, Canada before a packed crowd at the Royal Glenora Club. Tarek Momen and Simon Rosner proved they deserved their top billing with domination over both their opponents.

Tarek Momen defeats Adrian Waller 3-0
Tarek Momen’s display of perfect drop shots, length shots and well-disguised half-court boasts was more than enough to keep the big Englishman, Adrian Waller, off balance throughout most of the match. Momen started the first game with an early lead at 3-1. Then a couple of uncharacteristic unforced errors from Momen gave the Englishman his first lead at 5-4.

Whenever Waller looked like he might jump out to a two-point lead, Momen would prevent it with another great combination of boasts and drops. After an unforced error by Waller to get his first game ball, Waller hit one into the middle, Momen asked for a let and to the frustration of Waller, he was awarded a stroke & the game 11-8.

It’s so very difficult to get Momen into a position where he looks uncomfortable. Waller pressed him at the start of the second game with some dying length on his rail shots and some high lobs that Momen had to go to the back of the court to retrieve.

Momen weathered the storm of Waller’s early onslaught and then turned up the heat to go up 6-1. Momen forced his opponent to do too much and the errors starting coming . As this game wore on, Momen seemed to capitalize on anything remotely loose from Waller and easily won this game 11-3.

In game three, Momen put the pressure on Waller and he hit a number of unforced errors giving Momen a 7-2 lead. It looked like it was going to be over quickly when Momen got his first match ball at 10-3 but with the crowd cheering him on, Waller put together a string of five consecutive points. It wasn’t enough, and Momen won the third game 11-8 & the match in just 34 minutes.

The #1 seed in the ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open did not lose a game after his opening round in the tournament. After the match, Momen said: “I felt lucky tonight as I’ve played Waller a number of times. Tonight, he made more errors than I would expect from him.”

Simon Rosner (in red) and Nic Mueller battle it out at the Royal Glenora Club
Simon Rosner (in red) and Nic Mueller battle it out at the Royal Glenora Club

Simon Rosner defeats Nicolas Mueller 3-1
Rosner and Mueller are training partners and best of friends but on court it’s all business. Both players move with incredible speed, but it’s Rosner who hits with formidable pace never giving his opponent time to prepare for the next shot.

It didn’t take Rosner long to jump out to a 7-2 lead. Despite being training partners, Mueller seemed to be finding it difficult to read what Rosner had coming next and before long a few unforced errors starting showing up in Mueller’s game which is all Rosner needed to win the first game 11-3.

Rosner is explosive in nearly every aspect of his game…..his movement, his shots. It seems impossible to get the ball by him. He only took about 4 shots off the back wall. Finally at 1-5, Mueller was able to move him enough to get a winner off a perfect drop shot into the front corner. But then once again, the big German turned up the pressure & steamrolled to a 11-6 victory in game two.
Game 3 was a bit more unpredictable. Rosner turned up the heat with incredible pace but Mueller was able to read him better. He finally beat him on a length shot to tie it up at 2-2 and the crowd came to their feet. Mueller won the next rally on a stroke against Rosner and Mueller had his first lead of the game.

He followed that up with a winning rail shot up the backhand wall that Rosner couldn’t remove from the wall. Then a couple of perfect drops and another stroke against Rosner, and Mueller finally was controlling the game. After hitting the tin 3 times in a row, Rosner conceded & hit the serve directly into the tin to give Mueller the game 11-2.

In game 4, with the Edmonton crowd behind him, Mueller came out strong, weathering the onslaught of Rosner’s renewed focus.

After trading called strokes against each other , Mueller clipped the top of the tin to allow Rosner to tie the game at 2-2. A stroke against Rosner followed up by an unforced error gave Mueller the lead again at 4-2.

After a stroke called against Mueller that the crowd thought was incorrect, Mueller hit the tin on the next ball and the game was tied at 4-4. Then another tin and a stroke against Mueller and Rosner had the first lead of the game. Mueller hit another tin and Rosner was in control.

After a stroke was called against Rosner, Mueller started controlling the play moving Rosner around and looking much more relaxed. Rosner was given a no let and Mueller had tied it up at 7-7. Rosner again turned up the pace obviously not wanting it to go to five games and was able to win the fourth 11-7 and the match in four.

After the match both players paid tribute to the capacity crowd at the Royal Glenora. Rosner commented: “It was great to play in front of so many squash fans, even though you seemed to be cheering more for my opponent.”

When asked if he was ready for his battle with the #1 seed Tarek Momen after losing to him in Hong Kong, Rosner replied: “I lost 11-8 in the fifth. It was close. I will be ready for tomorrow.”

The stage is set for a rematch between Tarek Momen and Simon Rosner. Going into that quarter-final match in August at the Hong Kong Open, both players knew the winner would move into the top 10 in the world. These two have been close all year. Momen is ranked #9 in the world, Rosner #10. It will be a dramatic final.

2014 ReidBuilt Homes Edmonton Open Semi-Finals:

[1] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [4] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 11-8 [34 m]
[2] Simon Rosner (GER) bt (6) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-3, 11-6, 2-11, 11-7 [50 m]

Final (Sunday, November 30, 3pm)
[1] Tarok Momen (EGY) vs [2] Simon Rosner (GER)

Pictures by  JOESEPH MANN

 

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