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Ali Farag

CIB Squash Open Black Ball Men's Semi-Finals - Player Reaction

It’s semi-finals day at the CIB Squash Open Black Ball as the battle reaches near boiling point for a place in the final of the PSA World Tour Gold event.

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

World No.1 Ali Farag and the ‘Raging Bull’ Mostafa Asal will go head-to-head, before Marwan ElShorbagy and Paul Coll do battle for a place in the final.

You can watch every moment LIVE on SQUASHTV (worldwide) and multiple broadcasters around the world.

Keep up with the live scores from the event here.

Order Of Play
(All times local GMT+2)

Farag Overcomes Asal In Instant Classic

World No.1 Ali Farag is through to the final of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball after an absolute epic in the last four, as he got the better of Mostafa Asal in a 97-minute, five-game battle in Cairo.

This was the pair’s tenth meeting on Tour with Farag having won eight of the previous nine, and he started the stronger of the two, holding a 10-5 lead in the first game. However, Asal came back to send it into a tie-break, eventually saving a total of eight game balls before taking it 16-14 after 34 minutes to lead the match.

Farag took the second with ease, before then battling through the third to hold the lead in the contest for the first time. However, it was not over yet, as the ‘Raging Bull’ battled back to win the fourth 11-6 and send the match into a decider.

The drama didn’t stop there, as both players held narrow leads in the final game. Eventually, after 97 minutes of action, it was the World No.1 that took the win, to book his place in the final in Cairo once again.

“[That was] very enjoyable, very enjoyable! I think I started off really well, and it was one of those days where you don’t feel good all day, but then once you step on court, you feel good all of a sudden. It is very weird, and I can’t pinpoint on something that makes me feel good, I try to prepare the same way every time, but I didn’t feel off court before stepping on,” Farag said.

“I felt good all the way to 10-5, a few stoppages here and there and I lost my rhythm. All credit to him, he is such a warrior, he kept digging and digging. I think I had eight game balls in that one and I couldn’t convert, but I am extremely proud of how I didn’t let that get into my head. It was a big blow psychologically, but I took the positives from the first and carried it on into the second and then the third, I played well again. In the fourth, a lot of stoppages again, the ball softened up a bit and I couldn’t get it to the back and I didn’t really have a plan, and the fifth was a flip of a coin man!

“We can’t thank the Black Ball Sporting Club enough for hosting so many tournaments during the pandemic. We are very grateful, and to CIB for always being a support.

“It is 15 minutes away from where I live, so I have a lot of friends, my mum, my brother, everyone is around! I fed off of them! When I am tense, this is where I get my energy from! I look at them and they give me a fist pump and it gets me going! I am extremely grateful to all of them!

“Paul [Coll] has obviously been in terrific form recently and he is cementing himself at the top of the game. Marwan [ElShorbagy] was in top form at the beginning of the year and then he had a dip, but yesterday he played extremely well. It is going to be a mouthwatering affair. Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch because I need a massage, and to do a lot to recover for tomorrow!”

[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-2: 14-16, 11-1, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8 (97m)

Coll Dominates ElShorbagy To Reach Final

Paul Coll

New Zealand’s World No.2 Paul Coll produced a dominating performance to make it through to the final of the CIB Squash Open Black Ball, as he lost just twelve points in his contest with Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy.

The pair came in with a 4-4 record from their previous eight meetings, but the Kiwi was in control of the match from the off. He took the first game 11-5, before then also securing the second by the same scoreline.

After a short delay at the start of he third, in which ElShorbagy required some medical attention to a cut finger, Coll continued exactly where he left off, and the Egyptian could only manage two points in the third. The Kiwi will now face Ali Farag in the final on Monday.

“It’s never easy playing someone like Marwan. I had to stay on my toes the whole time because he is probably one of the best players at winning quick points in a row, so I had to stay on my game,” Coll said.

“I didn’t really feel like I was clicking in the first two round, but I stopped taking ice baths during the day, and I felt a lot better today, so I won’t be doing that again tomorrow.

“I am just going to come out and play my game again, I won’t be tweaking anything, just need to get my gameplan down, ready for Ali [Farag]. Try and stick to that from the word go, and make its as tough as I possibly can tomorrow. He had a big one tonight, it was an amazing match, him and Mostafa [Asal]. I just gonna be on my mettle tomorrow, have my gameplan sorted from the first rally and just go hard.

“Winning on the big stages against the big guys like Ali, it gives you a lot of confidence in your game, and the gameplan. You know it works and it is really reassuring that you know what you’re doing and you’re on the right way. A massive confidence boost the two wins, and it would be nice to finish the year with a third.”

[2] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 (50m)

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