The semi-finals of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball men’s event take place today, with action beginning at 20:00 (GMT+2) at the Black Ball Sporting Club as the last four do battle for places in tomorrow’s finale.
World No.1 Ali Farag gets the day’s action underway, and he will take on the ‘Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal for a place in the final. They will be followed by World No.2 Paul Coll, who takes on Marwan ElShorbagy in the second semi-final
You can also keep up with the live scores from the event here.
Tonight’s Order of Play
(All times are local – GMT+2)
The first match of semi-finals night will see World No.1 Ali Farag take on 20-year-old Mostafa Asal in an all-Egyptian contest in Cairo.
The pair have played nine times on the PSA World Tour, with their first meeting being three years ago at the same venue as tonight’s clash. Farag has won eight of their previous contests, with Asal’s only win coming in the CIB PSA World Tour Finals earlier this year.
The two have had differing weeks so far, after both receiving byes through to the second round. Farag then got the better of Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu in just half an hour, before overcoming Frenchman Gregoire Marche, coming back from losing the first game 11-9 to win the match 3-1.
On the other hand, Asal has spent more than double the amount of time on court across his two matches, starting with a controversial 118-minute victory over compatriot Youssef Soliman in the second round. The ‘Raging Bull’ then got the better of Karim Abdel Gawad in straight games in the quarter finals.
Farag currently occupies the #1 spot on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, and their algorithms suggest that he will defeat Asal, the #4 ranked male player, in a five-game battle, with the World No.1 having a win likelihood of 71%.
Can Asal get just a second win over Farag and book his place in another major final? Or will the World No.1 continue his great run over the ‘Raging Bull’?
The second semi-final sees Marwan ElShorbagy and Paul Coll go head-to-head, with the lone non-Egyptian left in the field taking on ‘the Jackal’.
This will be the ninth meeting between the two players on Tour, and they come in to this contest with a 4-4 record. Coll has won their last two meetings, which have both come at the start of this season, at the Pyramids and in San Francisco. However, ElShorbagy took the win in the quarter finals at this venue nine months ago, en route to winning the title.
Coll comes into this match having already spent nearly 150 minutes on court in Cairo. He started with a 71-minute battle against Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez, before then spending a further 75 minutes on court agains Welshman Joel Makin in the quarter finals. He was two games down, but an injury to the Welshman’s adductor saw Coll take the third, before Makin was forced to retire with the score at 2-1, giving Coll a 3-2 win.
ElShorbagy has come through both of his contests with a 3-1 scoreline against fellow Egyptians. After receiving a bye through to the second round of the tournament, he then took on Mohamed ElSherbini, and fought back after losing the first game to win the match. He then caused the only upset of the semi-finals, as he took out World No.4, and No.3 seed, Tarek Momen, also in four games.
With Coll sitting at the #2 spot on the SquashLevels Power Ratings, the Kiwi is well fancied to win the contest, with an 89% win likelihood according to their algorithms.
Can ElShorbagy continue his winning run at the Black Ball Sporting Club and reach another final? Or will Coll make it to another final in 2021?