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Tournament of Champions SF: Momen Sees Off Farag in Five

Egypt’s World Champion Tarek Momen took out defending champion and World No.1 Ali Farag in five games to reach the final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York for the second time in his career.

The two players have become familiar rivals of late, with Farag winning the last four meetings, including this exact fixture last year. However, Momen turned those results on their head as he closed out a five-game victory to advance to his first PSA final since winning the World Championship in November.

It was a bright start from Momen as he took full advantage of a laboured looking Farag, with the 27-year-old struggling to keep up with the tempo that the ‘Viper’ was setting as he took a two-game advantage.

Farag showed exactly why he is the current World No.1 though as he fought back bravely against his compatriot with his quality coming through to level the scores and push the match to a deciding fifth, with Momen able to close out 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7 in 76 minutes.

That win for Momen means that Farag is in danger of losing the No.1 spot in the World Rankings, as if Mohamed ElShorbagy beats Karim Abdel Gawad in his semi-final clash and then goes on to win the tournament then he would reclaim top spot.

“At no point did I ever think it was over, even when I was 2-0 up,” said Momen.

“I knew I had to fight for every point. I was in the situation last April in El Gouna when I was 2-0 up and he managed to come back and win it 12-10 in the fifth. I really didn’t want that to happen again and I had a few chances in the third to close the gap or get a lead and I lost it and in the fourth I thought I was very close and then he ran away with it. I came into the fifth and I wanted to impose some character, I didn’t want to succumb to defeat and my strategy was to fight for every point.

“All credit to Ali, the way he’s come back after the tough times he has had is just unbelievable and it shows what kind of a fighter he is and it really shows why he is the World No.1 at the moment.

“I had a strategy in mind at the beginning that I shouldn’t rush things or go too short too quickly because Ali is one of the best movers on court and he can easily get to most of my shots. I wanted to play a long game and see how it goes and it worked for a while but then we kept changing our strategies but towards the end I think it was a high quality match.

“After my World Championship win, I played the World Teams, this is my first PSA tournament of the year, so it’s important for me to show that I can back it up and that I’m hungry for more.”

[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7 (76m)

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