Diego Elias and Tarek Momen show why they love winning in Doha – but only one can make the semis
By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor) and JONATHAN SMITH (PSA)
France’s Victor Crouin and home hero Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi have both made it through to their first PSA World Tour Platinum quarter-final – and they will clash tomorrow in the last eight of the 2022 QTerminals Qatar Classic.
Al Tamimi delighted the crowd in Doha by becoming the first ever Qatari player to reach this stage of a Platinum event as he downed England’s George Parker in straight games at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
World No.44 Al Tamimi had already made headlines two days ago when he shocked World No.2 and 2021 runner-up Paul Coll 3-2 and made more history today with an excellent performance that balanced his best attacking instincts with canny defensive work.
The Qatar No.1 was well matched by World No.34 Parker in the first game, with the players exchanging points before Al Tamimi’s speed and firepower helped him from 7-7 to 11-8.
After taking the second game 11-8 again, Al Tamimi looked in trouble in the third when Parker responded to go 8-3 up, with the powerful Englishman battling well and finding his mark against the seemingly deflating Qatari.
The 27-year-old, though, showed great mental strength to put on a crowd-pleasing blitz of points as he rallied to 9-9 – with the volley boast that he used to great effect against Coll again proving a deadly weapon – before earning a standing ovation from his supporters by completing the fightback with an 11-9 win.
Al Tamimi said: “Normally, I don’t get this late into tournaments, especially Platinum events!
“Plus, I’m not really used to the off day. I enjoyed my day off yesterday, I spent some time with my kid at home and I was really happy with that.
“During the preparation with [coach] Rodney Martin on the court this morning, I couldn’t move and I was forced to do some fast movements which really sharpened me up and helped me for this match. I’d also like to thank everyone that came today!”
Al Tamimi plays fellow first-time Platinum quarter-finalist Crouin of France for a place in the semi-finals after the 23-year-old overcame Parker’s compatriot Patrick Rooney 3-1.
The World No.18, who reached the final of the Bronze-level CIB Zed Squash Open 10 days ago and upset No.7 seed Joel Makin in round two here in Doha, looked comfortable in attack and defence as he took the first game 11-8.
Rooney struck back well in the second, with the Englishman looking more assertive on court as he drew level with an 11-7 win.
The World No.23 was unable to maintain this momentum, however, with Crouin taking advantage of a number of errors from the Englishman and he breezed back into the lead with an 11-4 win.
Crouin continued to look solid in the fourth game and quickly saw off a frustrated Rooney with an 11-6 victory.
Afterwards, Crouin said: “I’m glad I found the balance between being aggressive, not making too many mistakes, and still defending a lot of balls. I’m really happy with my performance. My first [Platinum] quarter-final, it’s huge for me.”
Joining Al Tamimi and Crouin in the quarter-finals are defending champion Diego Elias and No.6 seed Tarek Momen after they recorded comprehensive victories over Dimitri Steinmann of Switzerland and Yahya Elnawasany of Egypt, respectively.
In a tournament that has already seen the top two seeds suffer early exits, World No.4 Elias would have been wary of the threat posed by World No.42 Steinmann.
Steinmann, another player hoping to reach his first ever Platinum quarter-final, started competitively and managed to get his body in front of Elias on a number of occasions at the beginning of the first game, before the Peruvian World No.4 settled and moved from 6-5 up to an 11-5 winner.
From here, the match was largely a procession for the 25-year-old, as Elias booked a meeting with Momen with 11-4 and 11-6 wins to reach the next round in just 35 minutes.
“I’ve played Tarek a lot and beaten him only once, it’s always a tough match. We haven’t played in a long time and I feel it’s going to be a different match,” Elias said later.
Egypt’s Momen, who has fond memories of the Doha court after winning the World Championship here in 2019, recorded an even quicker victory in the day’s final match.
In a dominant performance, he brutally swatted aside 20-year-old Elnawasany 11-5, 11-2, 11-6 in just 23 minutes, with the 34-year-old utilising the court conditions with his famously devastating shot-making skills.
Momen added: ““I was trying to be economic and very sharp from the very beginning.
“We know each other’s game pretty well because we train a lot, so I needed to stick to a game plan from the very beginning and not let go at any point during the match.”
The quarter-finals of the QTerminals Qatar Classic take place tomorrow (September 8) at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, with the four winners from today joining the victors from the top half of the draw, who played yesterday.
Play begins at 16:00 local time (GMT+3), with live streaming available on SQUASHTV.
2022 QTerminals Qatar Classic.
Third Round Three (bottom half):
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (35m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-2, 11-6 (23m)
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6 (47m)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (39m)
Quarter-Finals (September 8):
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v  Mostafa Asal (EGY)
 Diego Elias (PER) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
Victor Crouin (FRA) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour