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Mostafa Asal

CIB Squash Open Black Ball: Quarter Finals - Player Reaction

We have reached the quarter finals of the men's CIB Squash Open Black Ball with play beginning at 17:30 local time (GMT+2) today, at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo.

You can watch every moment LIVE on SQUASHTV (worldwide) and stay up to date with all of the reaction from the players here.

Former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and compatriot Mostafa Asal kick off the day’s action, before World No.1 Ali Farag and France’s Gregoire Marche take to the court.

Wales' Joel Makin and New Zealand's Paul Coll go to battle at 19:30 before the last match of the day sees an all-Egyptian battle between former World Champion Tarek Momen and former Black Ball Platinum winner Marwan ElShorbagy.

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

Order Of Play
(All times local: GMT+2)

Order of play for the men's quarter finals

Asal Dominant Against Gawad

Egypt’s World No.6 Mostafa Asal produced a controlled performance to down former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and book his place in the semi-finals of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball.

The 20-year-old put the controversy of yesterday’s match behind him, where he had a conduct game awarded against him in a dramatic five-game battle with Youssef Soliman, as he put in a mature display to always remain ahead of World No.10 Gawad as he triumphed 11-6, 11-7, 11-8.

He will face either World No.1 Ali Farag or France’s Gregoire Marche in the semi-finals.

“Karim is my favourite player, he’s my idol,” said Asal in his post match interview.

“When I was 12-years-old, I was always had so many emotions for him and we are both from the same city and have played so much training and practice. He’s a big brother and I have so much respect for him.

“Me and Karim read each other’s game very well, the tactics are very different. I’m happy that I made it physical and happy with my performance. Yesterday, I was so upset with the referees and to be treated like this isn’t good for a human being. I’m glad that today is much better and the refs are much better. I’m trying to be World No.1, so I’m happy to play like this and. With my performance. There weren’t many decisions today and I’m happy there’s a change today.

“Both Ali and Gregorie are tough. You saw Greg beat Mazen and Ali is playing really well, he’s World No.1 and World Champion, he’s everything so it’s a tough match between them. I’m getting to my room for some FIFA and be ready for tomorrow.”

Result:
[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt [7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-8 (51m)

Farag Reaches Semi-Finals

Egypt’s World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold event after coming from a game down against Gregoire Marche to win 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5.

The Frenchman started strongly, playing some of his best squash to date, as he put the reigning World Champion under pressure to take the first game.

In typical Farag fashion though he got back to what he does best as he responded strongly to draw level before forcing Marche into all four corners of the court in the third with the physical toll clear to see as Marche’s game plan fell away with the Egyptian taking a 2-1 lead.

The fourth never looked in doubt for Farag as he took control from the outset to comfortably close out the win in 53 minutes. He will face Mostafa Asal for a place in the final.

“I’m super proud of winning today,” said Farag afterwards.

“I don’t think I found my best performance and all credit to Greg, he didn’t let me settle. In the beginning I was too passive and my straight drives on the backhand side were too passive, they weren’t putting any pressure on him. I wasn’t winning that battle, so then I started opening up the court too much. I played to his strengths, but credit to him because he didn’t let me play to my strengths. I had to start firing myself up somehow, so I started yelling at myself and picked up the pace and I think I found my way from that point on.

“I would have loved to have played more straight to be honest, but with Greg, opening up the court too much, he is too good at this. He can run all day with you but I’m very proud to find a way to win.

“Mostafa is a top player, we saw how well he played today to get someone with Karim’s calibre in three takes a performance and a half. Mostafa has been playing at the top level for a couple of years now and he’s only 20, which is a testament to how good he is. I have to be on my metal tomorrow.

“I’m just focusing on the next match and not get too far ahead of myself. Mostafa is a huge challenge in itself and then if I win then I focus on the final, but for now I just have to focus on the task at hand.”

Result:
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (53m)

Coll Survives After Makin Retirement

New Zealand’s Paul Coll lived to fight another day after Wales’ Joel Makin was forced to retire from their clash at the Black Ball Sporting Club due to injury.

Makin had put himself in pole position to secure the semi-final spot after finding himself 2-0 up following a commanding start to the match.

However, disaster struck as the World No.8 began to suffer with a muscle injury to his leg but after a timeout forced himself back on court for the third. Despite clearing struggling with his movement, Makin threw everything he had at Coll, hitting some impressive winners and almost nicking the third after Coll struggled with which way to take his game plan.

The Kiwi did manage to get back into the match though, taking the third 11-9 before Makin decided he could no longer continue and conceded the match. Coll will face the winner of Tarek Momen v Marwan ElShorbagy in the semi-finals.

“It’s horrible, he was playing really well,” said Coll.

“Super aggressive, he had a 2-0 lead and then you could see he wasn’t moving properly in the third. I was struggling to find my game on court today and he was sharp. I felt a bit unlucky in the second but it’s just horrible to see him go off like that. I know how much work he puts into his training and to see him not finish a match is horrible.

“He pulled the third away from me, which I couldn’t believe. He was hitting some of the best shots he’s ever hit. It must be tough, especially when you’re playing well, it’s a horrible thing to happen to any athlete. I count my lucky starts today and turn up tomorrow ready to go.

“I hope the next match is 3-2, 18-16 in the fifth and two hours long. They are both very strong, Tarek is very consistent at this level, Marwan won this event last time. It’s going to be a good match, I’m not sure who will win but I’m sure it will be a good one.”

Result:
[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [6] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 8-11, 10-12, 11-9 retired (75m)

ElShorbagy on Fire Against Momen

Egypt’s World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy broke his losing streak to compatriot Tarek Momen to book his place in the semi-finals of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball in Cairo.

ElShorbagy had been without a win in his last seven meetings with the former World Champion but turned that around today with a formidable performance on the Black Ball Sporting Club court where he won the Platinum version of this tournament nine months ago.

The 28-year-old came storming out of the blocks with his aggressive style of play to overturn a 6-2 deficit in the first to take the first game 11-6.

That laid the foundations for ElShorbagy to find his positivity against Momen as he took control of the middle of the court to double his lead.

Momen responded in the third but the 79-minute battle he had last night against Youssef Ibrahim looked to have taken a bit out of him as ElShorbagy romped home in the fourth to set up a semi-final showdown with Paul Coll.

“I don’t have the best record against Tarek,” said ElShorbagy to the SquashTV cameras.

“The first thing I told him when I won is that ‘I finally beat you!’. Every time I lose to him, I go back and try to work something out. We have the same coach here in Egypt so he can give me some advice, but I worked a lot of times with tactics with Nick [Matthew] a few times and I’m glad it worked today. He messaged me this morning and said you’re a different animal than any time you’ve played him, so. It’s just that positive message gave me a lot of confidence today. I know I’ve worked hard in the last period, I’ve worked on my game a lot.

“Tarek is an incredible athlete and he has been inside the top three for a long time. Watching him last night- wow – to be able to do that. The way he plays, how fast he plays and how long he can play that for, he’s one of the fittest players on Tour and I have so much respect for him. To win today means a lot, he made me suffer a lot because every time it was a disappointment so to beat him today is a good day.

“I’ve struggled mentally a lot in the last few events and the last few events I went to, I really didn’t want to be there. I was trying to find an excuse not to go there, but I took a break after Qatar, stayed by myself and then as soon as I went back on court, I was really hungry. I was just telling my team that I’m finally wanting to go and compete again. I’m glad I won, I was positive and I’m just happy.

“We played a great match on this court in March, which I won 11-9 in the fifth but he has improved so much since then. He’s playing like a World No.1, he’s not there yet but he’s improved a lot. Everyone on Tour has so much respect for him because of where he came from and I think we had it easy compared to him.”

Result:
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3 (47m)

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