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Ali Farag celebrates a tough win over Mohamed Abouelghar

CIB Black Ball Open QFs: Farag Survives Abouelghar Scare

World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the semi-finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open after coming through a tricky match against a man that has had his number before, compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar.

The World No.12 defeated Farag in the Grasshopper Cup in March 2019, and this match looked to be going his way from the off as well, as he came out of the blocks on fire. He won five straight points in the middle of the first, moving on to win it 11-6.

He had saw the World No.1 save a game ball of his in the second, and that proved to be a crucial point in the match. Farag went on to then take the second in a tie-break, levelling the match and taking the momentum into the third.

There was a stoppage during the third, as Abouelghar had to go off court to change his shoes, thanks to one of them splitting during a rally. Once he came back, Farag took the bull by the horns and went on to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Once again, ‘the Bullet’ started quickly in the fourth, and held a three-point lead, but Farag was able to fight his way back into the game. The World No.1 then had match ball after match ball, but Abouelghar saved four of them before the match was eventually completed, with Farag taking the fourth 16-14.

The World No.1 will now face compatriot Mostafa Asal in a semi-final for the second time in three months, having gotten the better of his fellow Egyptian in front of the Pyramids in October.

“[I was] nervy all the way through, not only early on. This is what he does to you. He hasn’t been having the best of years but if you see the way he puts in the work and you just have to admire him,” Farag said of his opponent.

“I knew it was going to click for him at some point and I was hoping it wouldn’t be against me. It was very dead, it was very hard to hit to the back corners and then I had to start to use the lob but I had to also match him with the attacking shots which was very tough in the head.

“To match his attacks is very tough but it is the way you have to play sometimes when the ball doesn’t help you. I am super pleased to be through and I can’t be more relieved really.

“I was edgy, so I became desperate and went for shots too early. Even when they were on, I went with a nervy attack and it didn’t pay off. I am super glad that he gave me that loose shot at the end which gave me the stroke. All credit to him and I hate playing him for that reason!”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 13-11, 11-8, 16-14 (59m)

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