Momen Revenge Sees Makin Make Maiden Canary Wharf Classic Semi
16 Mar 2023
Welshman Joel Makin avenged his defeat to world No.7 Tarek Momen at last week's Black Ball Open when the world No.11 beat the Egyptian at East Wintergarden in London to reach the semi-finals of the PSA World Tour Gold GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic.
It was just nine days earlier that the former World Champion came from two games down to secure victory in the last four at the Black Ball Sporting Club - but Makin made sure that there would be no repeat in their 12th meeting on Tour.
The best-of-three format helped Makin on this occasion, as he started quickly and was able to carry that throughout the tie. Errors from the racket of the Egyptian allowed Makin to build up a big lead in the opening game, and although he fired in some quality winners late on, the world No.11 took the first game once again.
It looked like Momen would force the match into a third game decider, with a run of four points in the middle of the second taking him comfortably into a lead. However, the Welshman fought back, injecting pace towards the end, and a couple of errors from Momen gave Makin the straight games victory - and a place in the event's semi-finals for the first time.
"Last week was ridiculously hard. The situation I was in that match, considering what had happened in that match I thought I played quite well. Physically it just hurt but this match, I went about it in a completely different way because I had... less going into my legs," Makin said.
"You know what Tarek is going to do, I mean you don't have to analyse the game at a high level to know he's so dangerous through the middle, especially on that backhand mid-court area. I was having a look at a couple of stats and it looks like, 40% of his winners have come from that area on its own.
"I've played great, free flowing squash all week and it's not gonna be like that tomorrow. So I'm going to have to take control of the middle and hit him physically where I can. If my squash is good and I'm playing physically... I've shown over the last couple of days, beating these guys all ranked above me five in a row now, basically one loss to Tarek and then [a win] today. I'm more than capable of winning these. I look forward to it!"
In the bottom half of the draw, world No.4 Ali Farag continued his return from injury with a victory against good friend and old rival Mohamed ElShorbagy, with the Englishman struggling through injury.
With the scores close at the end of the first game, 'the Beast' seemed to tweak an adductor muscle, and was seen stretching out throughout the rest of the contest. Farag would go on to win in a deciding third game, to reach a first semi-final since his four-month layoff through injury.
"Well, it was very enjoyable, as always. Last week at Black Ball, Mohamed came with an onslaught of attacking, firing shots, quick boasts, quick kills. I was aware of it. I knew that was going to happen, but I wasn't up to pace for it," Farag admitted.
"Maybe I haven't been playing at that pace for so long. Today, it was all about containing that. I think I did that well until the back end of the first game until this grimacing and his little injury that started happening."
Farag's semi-final opponent will be New Zealand's Paul Coll. They will meet in another battle between two former world No.1s after the Kiwi overcame the challenge of Egypt's Mazen Hesham in the night's last match.