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CIB Black Ball Open SF: Farag Downs Asal to Reach Final

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the CIB Black Ball Open final after beating World No.14 Mostafa Asal 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 at the PSA World Tour Gold event.

The last meeting between the pair came just two months ago where Farag took the victory in four games and the World No.1 was on his metal once again to dispatch his compatriot, who had already recorded two upsets against World No.4 Paul Coll and World No.10 Miguel Rodriguez earlier in the week.

19-year-old Asal started well, displaying his explosive style of play as he hit a number of winners, but Farag remained patient and applied his game plan well to not trade blows and was rewarded with a high number of unforced errors from Asal.

That tactic continued to work for Farag as he pushed ahead in games two and three to take control of the match and with Asal complaining on an injury to his hand at the end of the second was able to comfortably advance in 39 minutes and reach his third successive final following victories at the CIB Egyptian Open and Qatar Classic.

He will face either Fares Dessouky or Tarek Momen in tomorrow’s final.

“It felt very good,” said Farag to the TV cameras afterwards.

“I had a game plan in mind, but you never know if you’re going to be able to execute it in three or four games and even when he came out with outright winners I still knew I was going with the right game plan. It’s this balance of being aggressive without getting too explosive because that’s how he likes to play. I had to have an aggressive ‘T’ position without speeding things up unnecessarily. Whatever is hindering him with his hand, I hope it goes away soon. I’m very pleased with the way I played.

“I think the unforced errors were partly down to pressure and to hypnotising him rather than getting into his rhythm, which I think frustrated him a little but again the grip issue he had with the blister probably hindered the way he would have liked to play – but I’m not going to take anything away from myself there.

“When you’re at No.1, finals is what you try to achieve consistently. As I said in an interview with PSA before I came here, I’ve never won three titles back-to-back. I’ve won at the Pyramids and then in Qatar, so it would be amazing if I can add another one here.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [11] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 (39m)

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