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Karim Abdel Gawad (right) takes on Saurav Ghosal (left) in the Channel VAS Championships quarter-finals

Channel VAS Champs: Semi-Finals: As It Happens

Peruvian Diego Elias will aim to quell the Egyptian domination at the Channel VAS Championships as semi-final fever grips St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

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

Elias will meet World No.4 Tarek Momen for a place in the title decider in what will be their sixth meeting on the PSA Tour.

Momen leads the head-to-head record by four wins to Elias’s one, but the World No.13 did defeat the Egyptian in the quarter-finals of this tournament last year and hope to replicate that form today,

Egyptian duo Karim Abdel Gawad and Ali Farag were in red-hot form during yesterday's quarter-finals and they will contest their 11th PSA Tour meeting today.

Gawad, the former World Champion, has beaten Farag in six of their meetings, although he has lost his last two matches against the World No.2.

Momen Downs Elias to Reach Final

Egypt’s World No.4 Tarek Momen will appear in the final of this tournament for the second time after he defeated Peru’s Diego Elias 3-0 at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

Momen was sublime in his quarter-final match with New Zealand’s World No.8 Paul Coll as he avenged his defeat to the Kiwi in the 2016 Channel VAS Championships final.

And the 30-year-old picked up where he left off against Coll with an emphatic victory in straight games against World No.13 Elias.

The first game between the two was a real battle as Elias – whose only win against Momen came in the last eight of this tournament last year – saved three game balls and even held a game ball opportunity of his own.

But Momen was too accurate for the Peruvian as he converted on the fourth attempt and he was immaculate for the remainder of the match as he dragged Elias into all four corners of the court.

The Egyptian put some serious work into the 21-year-old’s legs and dispatched his shots clinically to wrap up the win by an 15-13, 11-8, 11-4 scoreline.

“He’s a very tough opponent and if you give him an inch he has so many varieties of shots, he can make me move a lot,” said Momen afterwards.

“I did quite a bit of running today, so I’m going to need some recovery work done. The quality of the game was so high and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. I’m also very happy for the audience to be entertained the way they have been this week.

“I’ve been in so many finals before where I’ve had extremely tough 3-2 matches back-to-back, they’ve affected the way I was playing in the final and they hindered my performance.

“I was very cautious of that and I knew that if I wanted to well in the final then I would have to make the matches as short as possible.

“Against such great players, it’s so hard to to control that, but you have to kill yourself on court and try to make the most out of it. If it works in your favour then that’s great, if not then you have to deal with the conditions somehow.”

Momen will now contest his 19th PSA Tour final and will look to add to his tally of four titles.

He will take on either World No.2 Ali Farag or World No.10 Karim Abdel Gawad in the title decider as he aims to capture his first trophy since 2014.

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [6] Diego Elias (6) 3-0: 15-13, 11-8, 11-4 (47m)

Farag Axes Gawad to Reach Title Decider

Ali Farag (left) v Karim Abdel Gawad (right)

World No.2 Ali Farag overcame former World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in four games to reach his second PSA Tour final of the season.

Farag lifted the Oracle NetSuite Open trophy two weeks ago and he will battle with compatriot Tarek Momen for yet another title after he came back from a game behind to beat Gawad 7-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-9.

Both players were sublime in the quarter-finals as Farag axed home favourite Tom Richards, while Gawad dismantled India’s Saurav Ghosal.

And after a tight start, it was the latter who ran away with the opening game as the deft touches and outrageous winners that helped him beat Ghosal made a reappearance.

But Farag took control in the next two games after capitalising on a 6-1 lead in the second and an 8-1 lead in game three to build up a 2-1 advantage.

Gawad came into the match more in the fourth as he slowed the pace down and showed glimpses of his substantial skills to go 9-8 up. However, a simple tin from the 27-year-old handed momentum back to Farag, who closed out the win to ensure that he will compete for the 13th PSA Tour title of his career.

“I watched his match yesterday and that was by far the best that any player has performed this season,” said Farag.

“I could see Saurav was playing really well, but Gawad was on fire and I was prepared for this. I knew that I would have to do a lot of running and would need to stay as tight as possible to stop his attacks.

“I needed to attack myself whenever I had an opportunity, but it was really physically tiring and demanding. I had a game with Bassim [Haidar, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Channel IT Group], the official sponsor, yesterday and he made me ready for that one and sharpened me up.”

During his on-court interview with tournament promoter Danny Lee, Farag also touched on his role as PSA Men’s President, a post he took up in December of last year.

“I’ve always loved the sport of squash and I grew up watching it,” Farag said.

“If you look at any die-hard fan here, no matter how much they love squash, I’m a bigger fan than they are.

“I’ve always been a big fan, I still am, and I would like to do whatever I can to help the sport. When I was approached by Alex Gough [PSA Chief Executive] and Lee Beachill [PSA Chief Operating Officer] this year and the players pushed me to do it, I decided to do it.

“It’s a bit of work, I have to do stuff, but I think that the PSA calendar is looking healthier than ever and I hope we keep progressing in the right direction.

“The great thing is that I’m not alone, Jenny Duncalf is taking care of the women’s tour and we have an athlete’s commission which is formed of eight different players, four men and four women to promote each gender.

“All four of us are in different ranking groups and we’re in different places geographically, so whenever you have a problem you would go to the player either in your ranking group or geographical area for help.

“We have a group on WhatsApp and we always discuss things. Whenever Jenny and I have a board meeting we convey those messages and we always try to help.”

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-5, 11-2, 11-9 (63m)

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