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picture courtesy squashsite.co.uk

El Gouna Update: MRod On Form To Secure Semi Spot

After three days of blistering heat and humidity against the backdrop of the Red Sea the first quarter-final of the 2016 El Gouna International today saw home-hero Omar Mosaad and Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez lock horns in starkly varied conditions, with blistering winds engulfing the court to make life difficult for the dup who battled it out on court for 80 bruising minutes.

Up against the World No.4, a position he occupied less than nine months ago, Rodriguez produced a performance of real note as he nullified Mosaad’s hard-hitting and ruthless precision to record huge victory that sees him through to the last four of a PSA World Series tournament for the first time since the Windy City Open in February.

The match started poorly for the Colombian Cannonball however as Mosaad stormed out to an early lead, hitting with power and control to push ahead 4-0 before holding off a fightback from Rodriguez to take the opening game.

Rodriguez came out playing a different style in the second, slowing the pace of the match and extending the rallies with frequent use of height, taking advantage of the windy conditions to exploit the unpredictability of the weather, to take the impetus away from Mosaad and force the big man into playing lengthy, energy-sapping rallies. It was a tactic that paid dividends as Mosaad’s level gradually dropped off and Rodriguez profited, taking the next two games to hold a 2-1 advantage.

In the fourth the Colombian appeared to lose his way, returning to an erratic exhibition-esque style that had been his norm prior to his rise through the ranks a year ago, but he showed impressive resilience to revert to tactic and fight back to save two game balls and take the match in four, coming through 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10.

“I think the biggest opponent today was the wind – I was trying to get used to it but it was hard to control it,” said Rodriguez.

“I think I adapted to it well and hit the zone and hit the corners. I think I had a great performance tonight and I’m very happy to win and make the semi-finals here in Egypt. This is historic for me, Colombia and South America.

“I haven’t won a World Series tournament yet and this is my fourth time in the semi-finals. My goal for this year is to make the final of a World Series and win one – being in the last four here in Egypt is very special for me.

“Last time I played Omar in Hong Kong it was a real battle and he won in five but today the their opponent was the wind and I think I dealt with that better today.”

Result:
[7] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [3] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 (80m)

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