Egypt’s Mostafa Asal made it back-to-back wins over higher-ranked opposition as he claimed a fine 3-0 victory over World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez to book his place in the semi-finals of the men’s CIB Black Ball Squash Open.
Asal was coming off the back of a huge round two win over World No.4 Paul Coll in which his celebration – which saw him rip off his shirt in jubilation – had garnered a big debate on social media, with fans both for and against the celebration weighing in with their opinions.
The shirt stayed on this time around as the 19-year-old cut a more measured figure after playing some mesmerising squash to complete an 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 victory in 38 minutes.
Even after falling,— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 16, 2020
mostafasal_</a> was able to somehow play a back wall boast, before then lobbing the ball over <a href="https://twitter.com/MiguelSquash?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">MiguelSquash to keep the rally alive!
Obviously, Miguel replied by going behind-the-back#BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/7Wv4jcsu6G
Rodriguez, who fought back from three match balls down in the previous round against Zahed Salem, had an opportunity to close the gap after taking a 4-0 lead in the third.
But the powerful Asal came roaring back to take 10 points in a row, and he soon closed out the game to reach the last four with a win that rubber stamps his credentials as a true title contender at this tournament.
"If you have the variety, go for it! I am happy I have both games, the game in the back and also the short game!"
mostafasal_</a> has all the shots<br>The 19-year-old is through to the semis in Cairo<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackBallOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackBallOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/M9bqFx0LyW">pic.twitter.com/M9bqFx0LyW</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) December 16, 2020
“I was pretty okay today, I was playing well,” Asal said.
“Miguel is an unbelievable player and he gets every ball. I thought that it would go to the fourth if he took two more points [in the third] because it would be 6-0, but I’m glad to move through with this performance.
“I’m training all of the these shots so I have the variety to go for it. I’m happy that I have the game in the back and the short game, and I’m grateful for this crowd as well, they were unbelievable.”
Either World No.1 Ali Farag or World No.12 Mohamed Abouelghar will await Asal in the semi-finals but the two-time World Junior Champion said he doesn’t have a preference for who he will face.
“They are both unbelievable to play, even in practice, so I wish them all the best. They are my partners, I learn a lot from them, so I’m going to watch and no claps for this one.”
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt  Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-4, 11-9, 11-6 (38m)