QF :  Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0  Joel Makin (Wal) 11-7,11-2, 16-14 (52m)
It’s no secret. Tarek doesn’t enjoy playing Joel. Well, when you are an attacker and you get to see all your sublime shots coming back again and again, no wonder you don’t enjoy the ride that much. Plus, Tarek always says he struggles with Joel’s movement, while Joel has got to cover the four corners of court endless times with every rally. And as the Welsh had 70m more squash in the legs than his opponent, including a very hard 5 setter against James last night, emotionally charged, it was going to be interesting to see how the Tiger would recover…
To be honest, the first two games were one sided, with Tarek in the zone, and when he is that calm, clairvoyant, clean, sharp and accurate, he is basically impossible to beat. And as expected, Joel a bit slow off the blocks.
But Joel knows how to push Tarek where he doesn’t want to go. He beat the Egyptian at home, not once, but twice, plus once in the US for the Worlds Teams. The body finally warm, loosened up, Joel not only picked up all of Tarek’s winners in that third, but found some delicate counterdrops, counterattacks, forcing errors out of Tarek – but only at the start of the game, but enough to get mentally back in the match.
From 3/0 4/17/4 down, back to 7/7. 8/8. 9/9. The rallies were extraordinary. The accuracy of both, their movement, the dives from Joel, the feathery short game coming from the Egyptian racquet… A festival of intelligent and flamboyant squash. Joel had his chances, 4 game balls. Still, Tarek was not to be denied today, and he takes the third 16/14 on his 2nd match ball….
Ah, one last thing. Joel made 4 errors the whole match. At the speed those two were playing, with what Tarek was throwing at him, that’s something he’s got to be happy about. Chapeau would the Egyptians say.
WOW! 😳@JoelMakin's energy levels are almost spent and the Golden Tiger is still giving it everything in Cairo! 👊#BlackBallOpen pic.twitter.com/3Fbu6Jp0lU
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) December 16, 2020
I’m disappointed with my squash this week. I made myself hard to beat but that wasn’t good enough today.
I was a bit stiffened out at the start of the match, but that accessory, he was playing so incredibly well. My body sort of loosened up in the third, my movement got better as we went along.
That said, when Tarek plays at that level, error free, he is hard to beat, leaving it so short. And I thought the court was pretty dead tonight, maybe it was him able to make it that short.
Maybe if I had taken the third, I might have been able to ask a few questions, make him doubt a bit, but I would have had to arrive to that stage to start worry about it….
I honestly thought I was going to get away with an easy win today. I played some of the best squash I have played this season for the whole match. At 7-4 up in the third, I knew he had the potential and the ability to come back and I was really trying to close it out. He just turned on a second engine and started picking up everything I was throwing at him.
I made a few errors but not too many. Today was one of the few matches that I have made very few errors in the whole match. In the end, he forced me to make a few mistakes with all the pick-ups and the shots he was making. I am very pleased to win that third game 16-14. I really didn’t want to play another game. I want to be a bit economic with my energy spend and yeah, I am pleased!
That game probably served me well. Sometimes, you are flying on court and you have a really good day and everything works your way. You might then show up the next day a bit flat so I am happy that this happened and I had to push myself so that I can, at least mentally, be as sharp as I can tomorrow and I think it worked for the best for me today.