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Tarek Momen

Channel VAS Champs: Quarter-Finals: As It Happens

The Channel VAS Championships reaches the quarter-finals stage today as four mouthwatering matches take place at St George's Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

World No.33 Joel Makin will look to follow up a stunning second round upset of World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy with victory over No.6 seed Diego Elias.

They will get play under way at 17:30 (BST), while New Zealand's World No.8 Paul Coll and Egypt's World No.3 Tarek Momen will contest a repeat of the 2016 final an hour later.

Former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad clashes with India's Saurav Ghosal at 20:00, and World No.2 Ali Farag brings tonight's action to a close with a fixture against home favourite Tom Richards at 21:00.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player or follow our live scoring page.

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local BST)

Elias Survives Makin Test to Reach Semis

Diego Elias lunges for the ball against Joel Makin

Peru’s Diego Elias booked his place in the semi-finals of the Channel VAS Championships for the second year running after he came through a stern test against World No.33 Joel Makin at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

Makin caused one of the biggest shocks in this tournament’s history when he defeated World No.1 and defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the previous round.

And the 23-year-old picked up where he left off against the reigning World Champion with a tenacious display in the opening game, fighting back back from two game balls down to go a game ahead.

He continued to play above his World Ranking in the second and third games, but Elias, the World No.13, put him under a lot of duress with some intelligent shots into the front corners.

The Peruvian claimed 11-7 wins in games two and three and took a 6-2 lead in the fourth, but Makin refused to go away and scampered around the court to repel most of what Elias through at him.

The latter stages of the fourth were quite scrappy – with a number of decisions being made by the referee due to some traffic issues – and Makin profited off some lose shots from the 21-year-old as he pushed him all the way.

But Elias held him off to complete an 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 victory after 79 minutes of intense squash.

“I knew it was going to be really tough, he beat ElShorbagy, the World No.1, so I knew he was playing really well,” said Elias.

“I had a really good strategy against him. It didn’t work in the first game, but then it started working and he got a bit tired, so I’m happy with the way I played.

“I knew it was going to be a very long match, so the first thing for me was to be patient.”

Elias will take on either close friend Paul Coll or World No.3 Tarek Momen in the next round, with the pair set to go head-to-head later today.

“Both of them are really good players,” Elias continued.

“I’m staying with Paul, so it would be weird playing him tomorrow. He’s been making me breakfast every day! I want him to win, but it would be weird playing him.

“They’re both really good players, so I’ll be ready for everything.”

[6] Diego Elias (PER) bt Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (79m)

Momen Masterclass Halts Coll

Tarek Momen (right) v Paul Coll (left)

World No.3 Tarek Momen avenged his defeat to World No.8 Paul Coll in the 2016 final at St George’s Hill with a sublime performance today that saw him blow the New Zealander away in straight games.

Coll’s momentous victory over the Egyptian here two years ago was one of the key reasons behind his eventual ascent into the top 10, and he also overcame Momen in a brutal 96-minute clash at the U.S. Open last week.

But Momen was irrepressible today as he controlled his shots to perfection and proved very difficult for Coll to read.

Momen showed a brief moment of fallibility when he squandered three game balls in the second, but he steadied the ship to emerge from the match with a 3-0 victory which will see him play Diego Elias in the next round.

“I used the same game plan that I put together for the U.S. Open, it just worked a little bit better this time,” Momen said afterwards.

“In the U.S. Open, I thought I played the first three games really well, and I was unlucky to lose the second.

“If it had gone the way I had planned it, it could have been 3-0, but he played amazingly well and stepped it up.

“I just tried as much as could not to give him that chance today. I'm very happy with how I dealt with these conditions and was able to play my game.

“I'm looking forward to playing tomorrow.”

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [5] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-5 (43m)

Gawad On Form to Dispatch Ghosal

Karim Abdel Gawad (right) v Saurav Ghosal (left)

Former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad looked back to his best after a stunning display from the World No.10 saw him dispatch Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal 3-0.

A loss of form from Gawad over the past 18 months has seen the former World No.1 tumble down the World Rankings, but his display against Ghosal today evoked memories of the form he displayed in the early part of 2017 as he hit a feast of winners.

Gawad is a traditional slow starter – as evidenced by his poor start against Scotland’s Greg Lobban in the previous round – but he was on his game right from the off as he found the nick with regularity and displayed some sensational touches.

There was little that Ghosal could do to knock the Baby-Faced Assassin out of his rhythm as he stormed to an 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 victory in 39 minutes to set up a semi-final fixture against either England’s Tom Richards or World No.2 Ali Farag.

“Squash is beautiful when everything goes the way you want,” Gawad said.

“Unfortunately it doesn’t happen a lot, so you have to enjoy the day everything goes into the nick and you can play a tight, basic game. Saurav is one of the best shot-makers on tour, and in order to play him today I had to make sure that I didn’t give him a lot of chances because he was going to kill me in the front corners.

“I had a pretty good pre-season, and I knew that my physical level was down last season, my body was getting injured a lot, so I had to work a lot on the physical side.

“Luckily, things have worked out pretty well at the beginning of this season.

“You have to work a lot to do good things with your talent. You have to practice a lot, if you’re very talented but not working, you will never be good. Both having talent and working hard will help you achieve many things.”

[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [7] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (39m)

Farag Ends Richards’ Run

Ali Farag (right) v Tom Richards (left)

World No.2 Ali Farag ended the run of home favourite Tom Richards as he claimed a 3-0 victory to set up a mouthwatering semi-final fixture with fellow Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad.

Richards, who overcame Borja Golan and Omar Mosaad to reach the last eight, was backed to the hilt by his home crowd at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club as he went toe-to-toe with last year’s runner-up.

But Farag had too much in the tank for the Englishman today as he played the basics to perfection and put in a clinical display at the front of the court to wrap up the win by an 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 margin.

“Karim and I grew up playing in the same age group and we’ve played around 40 or 50 times, plus the hundreds of times we’ve played during practice,” said Farag.

“We know each other’s games quite well. It’s always fair and clean when you play with Gawad.

“It’s always fun when you go on court and someone is going to play their heart out, but at the same time they’re going to be very fair and clean.

“From a squash perspective, Karim showed us today that he’s back in the kind of top form that took him to World Champion. He was very sharp today, played really well and I will have to try as much as possible to stop those attacks and to attack myself.

“I’m really looking forward to that one.”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (28m)

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