The semi-finals of the men’s event at the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open take place today, with action beginning at 20:00 (GMT+2) at the Black ball Sporting Club as the last four try to claim spots in the final of the Platinum level event.
After a monumental quarter-final session, which saw three of the top four in the World Rankings knocked out, two of those coming in sensational five-game battles which lasted more than 90 minutes, four remain in Cairo.
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 (Indian sub-continent only).
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Here’s the Order of Play
(All times are local – GMT+2)
Fares Dessouky v Tarek Momen
The first match of the evening sees the reigning Black Ball Open champion, Fares Dessouky, take on reigning World Champion Tarek Momen for a place in Thursday night’s final.
The pair have only met four times before on the PSA World Tour, but two of those have already happened this season, including at this very venue three months earlier, where ‘Fearless Fares’ downed the World Champ in the semi-finals en route to the title.
Momen started his week with a victory over Malaysian No.1 Eain Yow Ng in the second round, before then overcoming Frenchman Gregoire Marche in an open, high-quality affair. He then got the better of fellow Egyptian Zahed Salem in the quarter-finals to reach the last four.
Dessouky, on the other hand, came through his first two clashes this week with ease, dispatching India’s Ramit Tandon and compatriot Omar Mosaad in straight games. His biggest test came against World No.1 Ali Farag, the man he had defeated in December’s final, and he got the better of him again, winning in five to reach the semis the time round.
The pair are separated by five places on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, with Dessouky holding the #2 spot following his imperious form at the Black Ball Open both in December and this week. According to the SquashLevels algorithms, the World No.7 has a 60% likelihood of beating ‘the Viper’.
Can ‘Fearless Fares’ continue his unbeaten run at the Black Ball Sporting Club, and extend it to nine matches? Or will Momen find his form to deny Dessouky a second straight final?
Marwan ElShorbagy v Joel Makin
The second semi-final pits the two men who battled for more than 90 minutes in their respective quarter-finals together, as Marwan ElShorbagy takes on Joel Makin for a place in the final in Cairo.
The duo have only met twice before on the PSA World Tour, with ‘the Jackal’ holding the 100% advantage over the Welshman. In their only best-of-five contest, at the 2019 DPD Open in Eindhoven, ElShorbagy won the fifth game 11-8 in an 83-minute epic.
Both men have spent more than 200 minutes on court so far this week, averaging around the 70-minute mark for each contest. ElShorbagy took out a pair of Egyptians in Karim El Hammamy Youssef Ibrahim to reach the last eight, before then spending almost 100 minutes on court against New Zealand’s Paul Coll.
Joel Makin also spent 90+ minutes on court during his last eight encounter, as he got the better of the older ElShorbagy. He defeated the World No.2 in a fifth-game decider, having already overcome challenges from Patrick Rooney and Mazen Hesham.
In an almost exact replica of the first semi-final, there is five places between the two players on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, with ElShorbagy at #4, and Makin at #9, the same as his PSA World Ranking. The Egyptian has a 61% win likelihood according to their algorithms.
Can ElShorbagy make it an all-Egyptian final in Cairo? Or can Makin cause another upset and knock out both brothers en route to a first Platinum final?