2021 Platinum Reports REPORTS

QF: Fares beats Farag again in another thriller

QF: [7] Fares Dessouky (Egy) 3-2 [1] Ali Farag (Egy) 11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-4 (67m)

In a repeat of December’s final, Fares Dessouky saves match balls to beat top seed Ali Farag again

This one, the last one of the night, was a weird one to me.

First, Mr Dessouky that keeps switching on and off, playing junior squash, then making the World Number One look like a debutant, and then, Mr Farag, still hasn’t learned from their last encounter than keeping sending the ball to the front to an opponent that keeps killing it might not be the best tactic of all.

But what do I know.

Still, I think that playing Fares must be a true nightmare as he is making “la pluie et le beau temps”, “winners and losers”. He is the one that makes the game. His energy – or lack of it at times – are the Flight Control of the match. The opponent just tries to put a bit of rhythm, or not. That’s about all he can do.

Fares leads the first bit of the opener, only just, they level at 5/5, then Ali seems to be on top, 8/6, but back to 8/8 and some flamboyant winners coming from Fares, 11/8 n 12m. That’s short rallies people. Means that Ali didn’t manage to impose his style of game.

The world number one makes no errors in the second – he had made two in the opener – and is pretty comfortable, to be honest, we have Fares on and off, very very short rallies, then one very long, and back to short. 5/1, Ali. Level 5/5, then Ali again in control 10/5, 11/6 in 12m again.

Same difference in the third, Ali in control, Fares looking pretty off his game, 4/0, 5/2, 5/5 again, Ali up 9/6, 11/7, 12m again. 1 error for Ali, and 5 for Fares. Looks like the match is done.

But out of the blue, Mr Fares decides after all he can play squash, and finds winners, soft, kills, at the front, at the back, and is truly back in the match. 3/0 up, 3/3, up 6/3, 6/6. He seems tired again, and gets penalised with two strokes in 4 points, leading to Ali match ball, 10/7.

The winners that Fares finds from that point on till the end of the match are just sublime, sorry, no other way to describe them. Five winners in a row, and it’s 12/10 in the longest game of the match, 16m.

The fifth is a formality. Ali is broken mentally and physically it seems. He keeps opening the court, and Fares rushes to winners of all styles, angles and heights. 7/1, 11/4. Incredible turn of events. Like I said, weird and sublime from Fares.

report to follow

Fares: “It was a very tough match, Ali today was unbeatable,”

“I had to dig really deep and to find the turning point to win the match. So, I found it at 10-7 match ball down, I’m really glad that I found it, it’s very late, but I’m glad that I found it.

“He was getting everything back, I was a bit disappointed on court that he was getting everything and it was hard to beat him and to win a point against him. All credit to him, today I had to take advantage from this match, I was solid again and was able to grab the win.

“I was a bit heavy from the beginning of the match because I was waiting here for three hours waiting for my match, so I was a bit tired and wasn’t very fresh. I was a bit exhausted, so I’m really happy that I’m through to the semi-finals once again.

“I took my protein shake already and then I’m going to see the physio. I have to sleep and eat well and hopefully play better tomorrow.”