Egyptian quartet in Colombia quarter-finals
By SEAN REUTHE
Indian World No.20 Saurav Ghosal prevented a huge upset in round one of the 2016 Taeq SquashColombia PSA Open after he came through a highly-entertaining five-game battle against 19-year-old Peruvian World Junior Champion Diego Elias in Cartagena.
In a match that contained a feast of sumptuous winners, high-octane rallies and energy-sapping exchanges, Ghosal’s experience and superior fitness eventually made the difference as the 29-year-old took advantage of a tiring Elias to close out the win with an 11-9, 2-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6 margin of victory after 90 minutes of outstanding squash.
“Diego is a fantastic player,” said Ghosal. “He’s the reigning World Junior Champion and I’ve played him twice now in Colombia, both in Bogota and here today. It’s been absolutely brutal. I had to get him off the ’T’ because he is so good across the middle of the court and he has very good shots.
“It is similar to what one of my role models, Jonathon Power, used to do because he trains with him quite a bit.
“He’s an absolute handful and I’m sure that we are going to have a lot more matches together and hopefully we will entertain the people of Cartagena and everyone around the world like this every time.”
The quarter-finals will have a familiar feel, with an Egyptian featuring in each of the four matches.
Second seed Omar Mosaad secured a quarter-final berth after completing a straightforward 3-0 victory over fellow Egyptian Zahed Mohamed.
Mosaad dominated the 61-minute affair, with a number of unforced errors from Mohamed in the early stages of the match allowing the ‘Hammer of Thor’ to quickly strike up a lead.
Despite a hard-fought finish to the encounter, the 27-year-old wrapped up the win by an 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 scoreline to advance to the last eight where he will do battle with Ghosal.
“It’s really tough to play against Zahed. We usually train with each other and he is a talented player,” said Mosaad.
“Maybe I could have focused more in the third game but I think that the key was that he changed his game a little bit in the third. I tried to come back again and I’m happy to win in three.”
Egypt’s Tarek Momen (right) has also sealed his spot in the next round after battling back from a game down to defeat the tenacious Mexican Cesar Salazar.
An out of sorts Momen started the match slowly, with Salazar’s tactic of cutting the ball out early on the volley in the front of the court proving fruitful as the deceptive Mexican took an unlikely lead in game one.
World No.11 Momen soon found his range though and pulled through to complete a 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 victory.
“Today I was very focused and I knew that I was playing a very dangerous opponent,” said Momen.
“I wanted to get my revenge because last time we played, he beat me 3-0. I was tired but the only thing that kept me going towards the end was the fact that I knew that he was tired as well. I’m very glad I won today, it was a very good match and I hope I can feel better tomorrow.”
Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley advanced to the last eight after powering past South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger. Pilley was highly accurate throughout the 58-minute encounter and gradually upped his pace of attack, with his punishing drives enabling him to control the ‘T’ after moving Coppinger into the back of court. The World No.14 will meet Momen for a place in the semi-final.
$115,000 Men’s Taeq Squash Colombia Open 2016, Plaza de la Aduana, Cartagena, Colombia
First Round (Bottom Half):
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7 (69m)
 Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-3 (58m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [Q] Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-9, 2-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6 (90m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 (61m)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Tom Richards (ENG)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)v  Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Pictures courtesy of PSA