2024 Reports Round Two

R2: Miguel Rodriguez 3-2 [5] Tarek Momen

Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2 [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 6-11, 11-5 (81m)

Fram thoughts

One of those matches you see like observing a Master Spider preparing the net then rolling slowly his prey into a lethal cocoon.

Miguel has to be saluted today. Playing with the same outfit he borrowed from Mohamed ElSherbini, with a new pair of shoes/socks he just bought – if you read my report yesterday, you’ll have the full story – the Colombian played an exquisite streetwise squash, advised by one of the masters at it, Mr Wael El Hindi.

Wael gave the perfect game plan to Miguel: get under Tarek’s skin. Push all the buttons. Then counter drop every attack – that bounces like a basketball today – take the pace off completely, lift the ball, and frustrate the man til victory! As I said, it was extraordinary to watch the British Open former champion, who hadn’t beaten Tarek since 2017, getting more inventive with every shot, rolling back the years, moving extraordinarily well, and, to be honest, playing some SUBLIME squash.

Should we talk about the refereeing? I lost the plot. Overuled several times – when he probably shouldn’t have been – and then upheld when it shouldn’t have – I felt the terms “Russian Roulette” would probably be a proper way to describe it. But like I said, that was a bit part of the “let’s push all the buttons” game plan… It doesn’t have that much importance.

Tarek was not a happy bunny at the end, but was able to analyse it as a weird ball that he asked Miguel to change at the start of the match, a ball that seemed to be ok for the Colombian finally got to the 3rd, and when he could have changed it, Tarek had worked so hard to break it down, he was afraid to get another flyer! Knowing Tarek, I quite see what he means. I remember a match in Qatar where he forbade the ball cleaner to use anything other than water to clean the ball as the spray was making the ball too heavy. He won that match from 2/0 down.

How can Miguel play at such a level, playing probably a better squash he used to play at his best? At 38? Whatever he is on, people, I want some.

PSA Report

Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez upset home favourite and No.5 seed Tarek Momen in a highly entertaining five-game duel to progress to the Black Ball Squash Open quarter-finals.

Rodriguez, who was still without most of his equipment which he lost while flying to Cairo, didn’t seem to be worried by these changes, racing out of the blocks and taking the first game 11-9. Soon after, the 38-year-old doubled his advantage in a second game that was filled with some vintage entertainment, with Rodriguez losing, picking up, and carrying one of his shoes for the entirety of one particular rally.

After receiving a conduct stroke in the latter stages of the second, Momen noticeably calmed down his demeanour on court, letting his racket do the talking as he came roaring back into the contest. The Cairo-born 36-year-old took a one-sided third game 11-4, before sending the match to a decider after 64 minutes of play. Momen, in particular, dominated exchanges down the backhand wing, pinning Rodriguez deep and looking to volley whenever presented with the opportunity.

However, the match took yet another twist as Rodriguez raced into an early 4-0 lead in the fifth game. Traffic in the middle of the court continued as the match entered the latter phases, with Rodriguez sealing his first victory over the Egyptian since 2017 with a stroke.


I feel that, forget the ref or anything I am not happy with, the problem was the ball from the start. I couldn’t change it as Miguel was happy with it. But I’m proud of the way I stuck in today, down from 2/0, coming back, and fighting til the end. I got tired in the 5th, but I gave it everything I had, and that I’m very proud of. I never gave up.


“I came with no expectations. I was not supposed to be in this tournament, I had many issues before coming here. But I was feeling great, I was confident yesterday after my match. I knew it was going to be a battle but I had nothing to lose with Tarek.

“I want to thank Wael because he was with me, trying to push me especially in the fifth game because he shouted to me, I like that. I was losing, maybe not motivation but maybe pace and focus. I had the energy and the fitness, it was a fantastic performance from me, a terrific result, that was my main goal in this tournament and a great day for me!

“Mohamed ElSherbini lent me some clothes and this is the same outfit as yesterday so something is working! I have to go back to the hotel and wash it and play in it again in the quarter-finals. But when you have more difficult challenges, and when you have to fight, maybe that’s when you have more surprises.

“I don’t know what happened when I lost a shoe mid-rally – I was about to hit the ball with the shoe! It was slippery but when Tarek put the ball in the middle I was very smart to stop the rally and win the point.”