2024 Reports Quarters

QF: [4] Mazen Hesham 3-2 Youssef Ibrahim

[4] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-2 Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)  6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 1-11, 11-8 (64m)

Let’s look at some stats: winners for Youssef: 9 in the first game, 7 in the second, 6 in the third, the fourth is void as Mazen didn’t play, and 3 in the last game.

Quality, intensity, all started well, then went pear shaped for Prince Charming.

Mazen’s now: 4 winners in the 1st game, 5 in the second, 5 in the third, void fourth, and 8 in the 5th.

Finishing strong….

This match redefines the term: ridiculous squash. I have seen a few ridiculous rallies in the 40 years I’ve been involved in squash, but I have to say, rarely as ridiculous as what those two LUNATICS produced tonight.

How could they play over an hour at a pace that would kill anybody in 2 minutes? And so few calls as well. No traffic issues whereas they were both travelling at 340m/h, using their racquet in reflex mode 70% of the rallies.

A strong start for Prince Charming, from 6/6 in the opener to 11/6, 10m game. Simple really.

The second is probably the turning point: Youssef is leading, and putting much pressure on Mazen, 5/2, 8/4. Did he suddenly think about reaching the semis and relax a split second, dropping his up to then length and width? Mazen went on to 6th gear from that point on, 5 points in a row to reach game ball, 10/8, after one of two surreal rallies, please watch it on Squash TV. And if Youssef saves a game ball, Mazen levels 1 game all, 11/9 in 18 very very long minutes.

I truly believe that had Mazen lost that game, the match would have had a different outcome…

The third sees Youssef a bit lost at sea and Mazen in control, 11/7. But it was again 13m of hard work, and Mazen just stops trying in the 4th, letting the game go completely, to keep his energy for the last game.

But that bet he took doesn’t seem to be paying off, as he quickly finds himself 5/0 in the decider! Still, second wind finally comes for the Black Falcon, while energy tank is suddenly very low for Prince Charming. They will still keep playing at their ridiculous pace, shooting at will and taking no prisoner, but slowly, point by point, Mazen grinds down his opponent, and from 6/8, will never let him score another point.

11/8, 14m game.

As Karim Darwish commented: “The New Mazen has landed”.

Karim Darwish
(Wadi Degla, club for both players)

Mazen and Youssef are the most talented players on the Tour. They played a very good match.

They played at such a pace, it was expected that one of the players would go down in the 5th, and I think it was Youssef, who was up 5/0. And all of a sudden, he made his usual mistakes.

But all credit to Mazen. The “New Mazen” has landed! Last season, Mazen was much more fragile mentally, but this year, he is showing us how tough he can be.


“First of all, congrats to Youssef on a great performance and a great tournament. I know how hard he has fought to get back to this shape after his injury. He’s so resilient to be back playing at this level.

“Secondly, I’m really glad with how I was mentally. I was nowhere close to my best in the first game, physically, mentally, I was having a headache, I was a bit dizzy.

“I’m really glad that I fought back, and that is what the mentality is for, these matches, you have to figure a way. I managed to come out on top and I’m really pleased today.

“I tried to slow down, but the more I slow down I feel I’m going to sleep! I knew it was the right tactic, but I couldn’t do it. At 5-0 down I thought, let’s do fast and furious and see who comes out on top.”