Skip to content

Ali Farag in action.

Canary Wharf Classic Day two: player reaction

The Canary Wharf Classic continues as round two gets underway with seeded players entering the draw. You can watch all of the action LIVE on SQUASHTV.

You can stay up to date with all the latest reports and reaction from the players here.

Play begins as 18:00 (GMT) with World No.1 Ali Farag and recent US Open champion Mostafa Asal both in action.

You can catch all the action live from the East Wintergarden on SQUASHTV.

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

Order Of Play
(All times local GMT)

Order of play

Strong start from Mostafa Asal

Mostafa Asal at the Canary Wharf Classic.

Egypt’s Raging Bull Mostafa Asal impressed on his first appearance at the Canary Wharf Classic as the No.6 seed booked his quarter final place after a 2-0 win over England’s Adrian Waller.

Asal was fast out the blocks in his opening game of the tournament, taking the pace to this older opponent, dragging Waller into all areas of the court from the outset to secure the victory 11-1, 11-4 in 22 minutes.

Asal will face either France’s Baptiste Masotti or Egypt’s Tarek Momen in the quarter finals.

“First time to be here in Canary Wharf and it’s amazing for me,” said Asal.

“The crowd, they are playing with us, I love the crowd, I’m a man of the crowd. I love you guys being here.

“The other players told me you should come, it’s been amazing to see, even on SquashTV and how the fans are so close to the players. Last time my ranking didn’t get me in, but I’m very pleased to play in front of everyone here because you guys make the sport grow and grow, no seats left in the venue. Hopefully the sport can get to the Olympics, I’m going to make the sport grow for you.

“The U.S. Open was an unbelievable tournament for me, I played for 150 mins to win the tournament. It was very tough, was losing in all my matches, was 2-1 down, I had some injury in my shoulder and didn’t know if I was going to play this event or not, but the doctor said I could play. I’m very pleased to play this tournament, looking forward to every tournament, finish this tournament, hang out with friends and celebrate and look forward to the next event. I want to push more, everything I have achieved is in the past, not thinking about my age, thinking about the future. I’m playing as 28/29 and I have the confidence every tournament is a new chance for a new title.”

[6] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 2-0: 11-1, 11-4 (22m)

Momen sets up Asal rematch

Tarek Momen against Baptiste Masotti.

Tarek Momen progressed through to the Canary Wharf Classic quarter finals with a 2-1 win over France’s Baptiste Masotti. The World No.4 started sharply in his opening match of the tournament, finding his rhythm straight away and forcing Masotti into some tough movements.

Masotti responded however and showed his fighting spirit, capitalising on some loose shots from Momen to take the second game 11-9. But Momen’s class shone through as the No.3 seed recovered to dominate the third game and secure his place in the quarter finals.

Momen now plays Mostafa Asal in the next round. Asal has won both of the previous encounters between the two Egyptians in controversial style and fireworks will be expected once again for this all Egyptian clash.

“To answer your question, first time we’ve played on tour,” said Momen. “I’ve played him once in training in Egypt a few months ago.

“I knew he’s a danger as an upcoming French player and I tried to be very sharp from the beginning today. Coming into this event, I didn’t think I had the best preparation, but I felt like I was getting into it, I wanted to get into the rhythm, the past two days I’ve been spending a lot of time on court and today I tried to start well, get myself in the zone. I think I did that well in the first game, but Baptiste is a fighter and he never gives up. He came back in the second and stepped it up a level or two from then on I lost track of my game plan a little and I opened the court up much more than I should and he took his chances and built up a lead throughout the second game. I think I did pretty well to come back and thanks Roy, the decision at the end cost me the game.

“In the third game I found my rhythm again and he was a bit unlucky with some errors and I just managed to get away with it.”

“The court rewards a good shot, it rewards good drops and kills, it’s always good to have that. I felt happy on court today, moving well hitting good lines, have tomorrow to practice on it as well, hopefully after tomorrow I’ll be ready.

“Mostafa is doing very well for a 20-year-old. You don’t see many players breaking through to later stages of Platinum events. He is a great player, I wish he didn’t resort to the stuff that causes issues every time, if I play him 100 times I always think about the game plan and what I’m going to do, I try so hard to block out everything else, I take it one match at a time and see how it goes, after tomorrow it’s a new day and all I care about is playing my best, hopefully no shenanigans, hopefully it’ll be a good match.”

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 2-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-1 (32m)

Farag in impeccable form

Ali Farag against Iker Pajares Bernabeu

World No.1 Ali Farag got off to the perfect start in this year's Canary Wharf Classic. The No.1 seed was in impeccable form as he defeated a competitive Iker Pajares Bernabeu 2-0.

The Spaniard made life difficult for the reigning World Champion in the first game, forcing errors from the Egyptian, but ultimately wasn’t enough to take the opening game. Farag asserted his dominance in the second game and points quickly got away from Pajares as he lost the match 11-7, 11-2 in 25 minutes.

A quarter final match up with either England’s Declan James or Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez awaits the World No.1 as he attempts to pick up his first Canary Wharf Classic title.

“This is one of our favourite tournaments, across the year, because of the crowd,” said Farag afterwards.

“The atmosphere is unique in every sense of the word. All of this wouldn’t have happened without the great effort of Tim Garner, he does a thankless job so we all want to thank him for putting up such a great event year after year.

“I didn’t play Qatar so had a month in-between my last tournament and this one, you don’t usually get this period without tournaments during the season, so it felt like an off season again, so coming here, the first match of every season you don’t know where you stand you want to test yourself against the big guns

“Yesterday Iker put on a great show, I thought Castagnet was going to get through just because of his experience , but he was the worthy winner and I watched every bit of it, so I was very wary of that was going to happen today, I started the match with very open squash and he punished me right away. Okay I need to go back to basics again, so that’s why the first part of the game took so long cause I wanted to assert myself on the T before I open up, then I opened up a little too much but found my game in the second.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better year really, lockdown, as tough as it was with people losing their jobs and dear ones, this is obviously something nobody can be happy about. But for me the lockdown was a happy period, it gave me some time to be at home and spend time with family, which is something that I never usually get chance to do during the season. To reflect on where I want to be in my career and life, but it was a good period off and now getting back in was tough without a cold but now we’re back and I’ve had a great year having my first child and winning the world championships all within 11 days, couldn’t have asked for a better year.”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) 2-0: 11-7, 11-2 (25m)

Rodriguez sees off spirited James

Miguel Rodriguez winning against Declan James

The final match of the day was between Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez and England’s Declan James. The 22 minute first game was won by the Englishman, closing out long rallies with clinical attacks.

Rodriguez had to push the pace in the second and third games to force errors from James, which proved too costly for the Englishman. Even with the crowd cheering on James, it was Rodriguez advancing to the quarter finals.

Waiting in the next round for the Colombian is World No.1 Ali Farag. The pair last met in the British Open in August, with Farag coming out on top 3-0.

Here’s what Rodriguez had to say about his match:

“I think last time was 2015, there’s something special in this event,” said Rodriguez. “The crowd make you play well, it’s the only tournament with a full crowd from day one. Thankful to be back here again.

“He’s a very disciplined and talented player, he was very dangerous. I knew it would be tough, I had to dig very deep to get that 2nd game, he played really well in the first, getting every ball back and making it difficult so had to pick top the pace. In the third I was leading, but I had to keep my pace high and won the third. It was a very mental and physical game.

“Age is just a number, I adapt my game, squash has changed over the past few years to be very physical and fast so I’m trying to be smart to choose events and prepare differently and I’m still enjoying the game.

“It’s going to be a difficult match, we played in an exhibition match in New York not long ago and he was fantastic. I wish I could play like that, he’s going to be very challenging. That the good thing about squash, you can play the same players every few months and you have the chance to learn and adapt. But the main thing is just to be back here, in front of this full crowd.”

[7] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt Declan James (ENG) 2-1: 10-12, 11-5, 11-8 (61m)

Join SQUASHTV and get closer to the PSA World Tour