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Zahed Salem in action against Mathieu Castagnet

CIB Black Ball Open: Day Four Morning - Player Reaction

Stay tuned as we bring you reaction from the players who are in action this morning on day four of the men’s CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open Platinum event.

Here’s the schedule for this morning
(All times are local GMT+2)
11:00 Zahed Salem (EGY) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
11:45 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
13:15 [8] Joel Makin (WAL) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
14:00 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [7] Fares Dessouky (EGY)

You can catch all the action live from the Black Ball Sporting Club on SquashTV, and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).

You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Salem Advances to Quarters

Egypt’s World No.18 Zahed Salem is through to the quarter finals of a PSA Platinum event for the first time in his career after defeating France’s Mathieu Castagnet, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 at the CIB Black Ball Squash Open.

The Egyptian, who defeated 2018 champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the last round after the latter was forced to retire due to injury, came from a game down to prevail and will face either World Champion Tarek Momen or France’s Gregoire Marche in the next round.

“I haven’t done that celebration for long, so I’m happy to be through today,” said Salem to SquashTV following his win.

“Castagnet is a very tough player, he’s a former World No.6 and he always had very tough games. It’s my first time to beat him, I think he’s beaten me four times – I’m happy to get the win today.

“Today is the first time I have played this well in Egypt especially. I always lose in the first round or maybe second round, I’ve never had a good performance in Egypt, but I’m proud to win and get through and play tomorrow in the quarters.”

Castagnet said:

“I was up 1-0 and 5-2 and we had a huge rally and I just couldn't breathe anymore. It's very hot today, I would say it's about 5° more than my first two rounds it's incredible.

“But he just never let me catch my breath back, he was relentless from the middle of the second game, all credit to him. Only time he relaxed a bit was when he had a big lead at the end of games.”

Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6 (59m)

ElShorbagy Triumphs over Ibrahim

Egypt’s World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy prevailed 12-10, 11-7, 11-4 in a tough match with compatriot Youssef Ibrahim to reach the quarter finals of the CIB Black Ball Squash Open.

A tense first game which saw a lot of interruptions and discussions with the referee saw Ibrahim lose his focus as ElShorbagy snuck it on the tie-break.

From then on, the higher-ranked player kept his composure well to take the match against Ibrahim, who looked to feel the effects on his previous five-game battles towards the end.

ElShorbagy will face either New Zealand’s Paul Coll or France’s Gregory Gaultier for a place in the semi-finals.

“I watched my brother playing last night and I thought that if I’m going to have a chance in this event then I need to be stepping up every single match and every single point,” said the 27-year-old.

“I saw it in his eyes and he’s actually the reason I was from the first point into it. I’m happy with my performance and more my personality and character, that was the most important thing today to find myself on court. I have a great team with me, I spoke to Danny [Massaro] yesterday for an hour and he got me mentally ready for today.

“It’s going to be a good match [between Paul Coll and Gregory Gaultier]. It’s the first time they’ve played in a while, I’ll just watch. We all play with each other every single event, we know each other’s game, we add things each event and try to learn from our mistakes. I’ll just watch the match, there’s nothing I’ll be looking for, I know their game, they know mine as well. I hope they play a long match, five games, for now I’m happy with today.”

Ibrahim said:

“Mind games. I am angry with myself today because my coach told me he was going to play mind games, and I knew he was going to play mind games and talk with the ref and still, I let it get to me and affect my performance.

“I have no problems with his game, I can read it pretty well, and that’s why I was expecting a good result today. Gutted that I let the mental side of things get the better of my performance.

“But that’s a new experience, if I want to beat all the players, I have to accept different behaviours from them, and learn to focus on my game, and my game only. Disappointed to lose but learned a new lesson today.”

[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-4 (47m)

Makin Axes Hesham in Three

Wales’ World No.9 Joel Makin is through to the CIB Black Ball Squash Open quarter finals after defeating Egypt’s Mazen Hesham, 11-7, 12-10, 11-5.

The 26-year-old was consistent and played an accurate game to reach his second successive quarter final at the Black Ball Sporting Club. He will face either World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy or India’s Saurav Ghosal in the next round.

“I thought that was a lot better today,” said Makin.

“I got a much better weight of line and got across the middle a little bit more, so that was a lot better. You have to be careful against Mazen, I knew that if I wasn’t playing well or I wasn’t sharp or a bit negative then he would hit winners from everywhere, so I had to step up and I thought it made a big difference.

“That’s the fifth quarter final now, I’ve made one semi-final. The quality of my squash just needs to improve, I’m getting there at times and I’m beating higher ranked players but it needs to consistent. I need be confident taking it in and initiating from the start, not doing what I did yesterday – we haven’t played for a long time, but it needs to be better than that. I’m happy with today and that’s the sort of quality I want to play.

“I’m going to sit in the room for another 24 hours. Get some mobility, some food and protein and a stretch and that’s about it for the rest of the day.”

[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-5 (42m)

Dessouky Powers On

Fares Dessouky

Defending CIB Black Ball Squash Open champion, Fares Dessouky, continued his impressive run as he dispatched compatriot Omar Mosaad in straight games to reach the last eight.

The World No.8 was in full flow in the opening game, taking a 1-0 lead for the loss of just two points before Mosaad began to hit back in the following two. However, Dessouky did enough and stepped up his game to close out in 36 minutes.

Next up for Dessouky will either be World No.1 Ali Farag – in a repeat of December's final – or rising talent Mostafa Asal.

“Today it was a bit dodgy with how I felt on court,” said Dessouky.

“The first game I was playing very well, he wasn’t in the game yet but starting from the second I was trying to reach every ball and get back as many balls as I could and he’s a very tough player. A good striker, so it’s always tough to play Omar.

“It’s a very hard feeling on court if you are playing a good friend, especially because we train a lot together so we know each other’s games very well. I just played with Omar two weeks before the tournament, so it was always a tough match. Today, I’m really happy to win in three.

“The first match I was feeling a bit of pressure, today I started enjoying it a little bit. The court is not as the tournament before, it’s live, so I think it’s going to be a different tournament.”

Mossad said:

“I think I got a bit too excited at the start, I was trying to put pressure on him, that’s what you have to do against those top guys if you want to have any say on the match. So I was taking all the opportunities I could, and probably push too much.

“It is taking time to get back to my best level but I am doing it my way, I am now training with Hesham Attar and Islam Hany, plus a mental coach.

“Thing is I was starting to play well in 2020, Windy City and Canary Wharf but then we stopped, and we started again, it was fine and then we stopped again. I find it hard to keep my consistency. But I’m injury free, and happy to get back competing again at that level and I think that with the Nationals and Manchester coming up, I’m going to get better.”

[7] Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-9, 11-6 (36m)

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