12:17 pm
14 Dec 2018

Farag Axes Asal To Make Black Ball Quarters

7 Dec 2018

Egypt's world No.2 Ali Farag ended the giant-killing run of teenager Mostafa Asal to join world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the quarter-finals of the CIB Black Ball Open, the final PSA World Tour Platinum tournament of the year in Cairo.

Farag continued the impressive form that has seen the 26-year-old from Cairo claim two titles so far this season by overcoming World Junior Champion Asal in straight games.

17-year-old Asal pulled off a big upset in round two after downing England's world No.19 Declan James in a five-game thriller to set up the Farag clash. However, the young Egyptian was unable to compete with the experience of his idol, who comfortably prevailed by an 11-4, 13-11, 11-3 margin.

"Mostafa is such a great prospect for Egyptian squash," said 26-year-old Farag. "He's playing really well, and he showed in the first two matches that he can challenge all of the top players.

"In the second he started off firing and he took the game to me. I am just happy that I didn't give this one up and I got the reward in the end and I think that gave me a psychological advantage to go on and get the win."

Farag will now face world No.12 Saurav Ghosal after the Indian took out Egypt's former world No.3 Omar Mosaad to reach his first quarter-final at a PSA Platinum event this season.

"I'm happy to win that and beating him 3/0 in Egypt. It's my first quarter-final in the new Platinum structure. I felt like I put a lot of work in over the summer and maybe didn't have as much to show for it in the way of results, so it's very satisfying to have that small breakthrough into the quarters."

Elshorbagy was in formidable form to comfortably dispatch rising Malaysian star Eain Yow Ng in straight games to progress.

Ng has been playing some incredible squash this week which has seen him knock out the likes of experienced Australian Cameron Pilley and New Zealand's Campbell Grayson. However, the challenge of the reigning World Champion proved to be a step too far as Elshorbagy powered to victory.

The world No.1 will now face compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the semi-finals after the former world No.1 overcame Peru's world No.11 Diego Elias by a 14-12, 3-11, 11-9, 11-7 scoreline in 63 minutes.

"He's 20-years-old and has potential to be a world No.1 one day and a World Champion," said the 27-year-old Egyptian afterwards. "This is the first time we've played, but I told him we are going to play many times in the future."

"I'm one of Gawad's fans, I absolutely love his squash," continued Elshorbagy. "The last few times we have played we have always had tough matches. Last season he had a little bit of a lack of motivation but this season he is back playing at his best again and it is a pleasure to watch."

Meanwhile at the Black Ball Sporting Club, world No.3 Simon Rösner survived a scare to reach the quarter-finals.

The German found himself staring down the barrel of defeat against Gregoire Marche after the Frenchman built up a two-game lead.

However, Rösner's class was able to shine through as he mounted an impressive comeback in the third to win 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 and secure his quarter-final berth. He will now face Paul Coll for a place in the semi-finals after the New Zealander comfortably dispatched England's Chris Simpson in straight games.

"I felt a bit flat in the first two games," said Rösner afterwards. "I was struggling but I just didn't want to go down 3/0 and wanted to give it my best shot in the last tournament of the year.

"I'm very happy with how I dealt with the situation and played my way out of it and happy to be in another quarters."

The final quarter-final fixture will see an all-Egyptian battle between world No.4 Tarek Momen and world No.10 Mohamed Abouelghar after both enjoyed successful days in Cairo.

Momen defeated Germany's world No.17 Raphael Kandra in straight games, while Abouelghar overcame a resilient George Parker of England to progress.

"It's a matter of how well he's [Abouelghar] going to hit those winners," said Momen following his win. "You have to be on your toes and it makes it tense. I have to be solid, all the matches we have played have been tough but I'm going to fight until the end and the player that plays the best will get the win."