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Mohamed Abouelghar (left) v Leo Au (right) on day three of the PSA Men's World Championship

Men's Worlds: Abouelghar Sneaks Through Against Au

World No.8 Mohamed Abouelghar moved through to the last 16 after two controversial stroke decisions right at the death of his match with Hong Kong’s Leo Au saw him edge an exciting 68-minute battle by an 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 12-10 margin.

The match was an intriguing tactical affair, with Abouelghar dominating the first two games against a disinterested looking Au who struggled to get to grips wth the Egyptian’s shot-making talents.

But the momentum of the match swung completely in Au’s favour after that point and he looked like a different man as he returned to court after the game break. The World No.30 adjusted his plan and put in a masterclass, taking advantage of the cold conditions on court as he lobbed the ball to the back of the court time and time again.

That took all the rhythm away from Abouelghar, and the higher ranked player looked all at sea as he completely lost his line and length, with Au coming back to take two games without reply and set up a decider.

Abouelghar finally managed to get a foothold back in the match as he went toe-to-toe once again with the man from Hong Kong, but a tenacious showing from Au saw him battle back to take the match to a tie-break.

Au then received a stroke against him after the referee adjudged him to have taken Abouelghar’s line after a drop shot, and the decision was upheld after Au requested a video review.

That lost review then proved crucial as Abouelghar was awarded with another stroke at match ball in a similar situation, meaning Au was unable to query the decision, which left him reeling at his missed opportunity to cause a massive shock.

“I couldn't be happier, I know we get tough calls, both me and the opponent, it's part of the game,” Abouelghar said afterwards.

“I’m not really sure about the decision, but I thought I had a good pickup earlier that was called not good, so it is just part of the game.

“Leo is such a tough player on this type of court. It suits him really well, it suits his game and he used the lob-drop game after the second and it worked unbelievably well.

“It put me off guard a little bit, but I'm happy with the way I kept going until the end and things went my way.

“I had an injury two months ago and I had to stop playing for a month. I'm happy I'm back, my goal is just to enjoy myself, take one match at a time and hope things go well.”

[7] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-2: 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 12-10 (68m)

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