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Mostafa Asal in action during his quarter-final in Doha

Asal Outlasts Momen to Set Up Coll Clash in Qatar QTerminals Classic Semi-Finals

World No.9 Mostafa Asal is through to the semi-finals of the Qatar QTerminals Classic after outlasting compatriot Tarek Momen in a 114-minute battle at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha.

The pair were meeting again just 15 days after their titanic duel in the final of the U.S. Open presented by Truist, one which saw the ‘Raging Bull’ come from two games down to defeat Momen and claim his maiden Platinum level title on the PSA World Tour.

Once again it was the World No.4, the man who claimed the PSA World Championships crown on this court two years previous, who got off to the fast start, winning the first game 11-4. He then had his chances in the second game, but Asal took it 12-10 to level the contest up at one game apiece.

The match started to hot up in the third game, with more stoppages and refereeing decisions breaking play up, but the World No.9 kept his head and he took the third before holding a 10-6 lead in the fourth game.

Momen was able to save four match balls to take the fourth game into a tie-break but on the next point, a collision between the two saw both men down on the court floor. ‘The Viper’ required treatment, but after a 25-minute delay, he returned to court, aiming to send the match into a fifth.

Asal, though, was able to eventually get over the line, with the clock showing 114 minutes as the match time. He won out 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12, 11-4 to secure his semi-final spot, where he will face New Zealand’s World No.3 Paul Coll.

“I always believe if you have anything [wrong with you] you should retire,” Asal said after the match.

“That’s what I did with Ali and it was the end of the game. It’s very tricky to play like that and I’m glad to move through. I wish him a speedy recovery, but I believe if you have anything you should retire.

“I’m facing my shoulder every single tournament and every single match. I’m responsible for my decision, my physio in Egypt said not to play the tournaments. He told me to rest and not play, but I said that if there was a percentage for me to play then I will play.

“If I lose I will not say to people that I’m injured. The first time in my career, professional or junior, was with Ali [at the Oracle NetSuite Open] and it was the end of the game. There was only one point to win the match. I always love to play but if you have issues and you can’t continue then you should shake hands.

“I’m glad to move through and I’m very pleased with my performance today. At the beginning I wasn’t playing my best squash, but then I started to play the squash I played at the U.S. Open. In the matches I’m getting better and better.”

Coll also came through his quarter-final contest in five games, in an absorbing clash with Egypt’s World No.15 Mohamed Abouelghar, with the Kiwi having to win the last two games to advance to the last four in Doha.

Paul Coll

The World No.3 started strongly, winning the first game without breaking sweat, but Abouelghar fought back in the second, and showed the fluid squash that took him inside the world’s top ten a couple of years ago.

The Egyptian then held on to take the third game as well, before then leading 10-8 in the fourth. However, he was unable to get across the finishing line, with the Kiwi saving two match balls, before then taking the tie-break 12-10. Coll was able to outlast the Egyptian in the decider to take the victory after 93 minutes of encapsulating squash, and make it into the semis in Qatar once again.

“It was an enjoyable match to be a part of and it was high quality,” the Kiwi said.

“I was a little bit disappointed with some of the leads I had throughout the match, especially the third, when I didn’t close it out. Things kept going the wrong way for me, so it was a real mental battle for me. At the start of the fourth, I went down 6-1, I thought I was playing good squash but not winning rallies.

“I had to really stick to it mentally, dig deep and push through. I felt like it was close to me playing well and running away with it, there were a few leads here and there and a few shots that didn’t go my way. But I’m very happy to close it out and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

“It’s a lot more enjoyable when it comes down to good, quality squash. I know he’s a fair player and it was a really enjoyable match, it’s what I play squash for. I’ve got a little one-second rule where I take time, slow everything down, slow my heart rate and my thoughts down because it could easily have run away from me there. It was all about calming down and not panicking.”

The other semi-final will see Peru’s World No.8 Diego Elias and Welshman Joel Makin go head-to-head for a spot in the final, after they got the better of Germany’s Raphael Kandra and Egypt’s Mazen Hesham, respectively.

The semi-finals of the Qatar QTerminals Classic take place tomorrow with play starting at 16:00 (GMT+3) at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. Glass court action will be shown live on SQUASHTV.

For more information on the 2021 Qatar QTerminals Classic, visit the tournament’s official website, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Results – Quarter-Finals: Qatar QTerminals Classic 2021
[8] Joel Makin (WAL) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-3 (29m)
[6] Diego Elias (PER) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 11-1 (63m)
[7] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 12-14, 11-4 (114m)
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8 (93m)

Semi-Finals Draw: To Be Played October 22nd
[8] Joel Makin (WAL) v [6] Diego Elias (PER)
[7] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [2] Paul Coll (NZL)

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