Men’s Quarter-Finals day in Cairo, with six home players joined by a Welshman and a Frenchman in the quest for the final major title of 2021 …
Marwan ousts Momen
The last quarter-final witnessed the only upset as Marwan ElShorbagy returned to action after his one month disciplinary ban to beat third seeded Tarek Momen in four games.
“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.”
Heartbreak for Makin as injury puts Coll through
Wales’ Joel Makin looked on course for a fantastic upset as he took the first two games off second seed Paul Coll, and was in contr9ol in the third before injury struck …
“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 stars 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.”
Farag recovers to keep title quest on course
Top seed Ali Farag came from a game down, beating Gregoire Marche in four to keep his bid for a first Black Ball title on course.
“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.”
Asal axes Gawad
Mostafa Asal added another top scalp to his growing collection as he despatched Karim Abdel Gawad in straight games.
“Karim is my favourite player, he’s my idol! 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.”