8:32 am
17 Jun 2024

Asal Overcomes Gawad To Reach Black Ball Final

16 Apr 2024

World No.4 Mostafa Asal progressed to the Black Ball Open final after edging out Egyptian compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in a thrilling five-game encounter in the men's PSA World Tour Gold event in Cairo.

'The Raging Bull' started in destructive style, moving effortlessly across the T and cutting off a number of Gawad's cross-court shots with some aggressive straight lines to move one game up.

In typical Gawad fashion, though, the world No.5 came battling back into the contest in the second and third games, with Asal beginning to open up the front of the court too early and 'The Baby-Faced Assassin' taking full advantage to retake the lead.

Interference in the middle of the court dominated the latter stages of the match, but it was Asal who managed to turn the match back in his favour, first forcing a deciding game and then taking a crucial early lead in the fifth.

The 22-year-old progressed to a 6-3 advantage and never let Gawad gain parity, taking the final game 11-8 and walking off court victorious after 73 minutes of action.

"Karim is a mentor to me," said Asal After the match. "To play a battle against him, I don't know how to play it. He's a friend, a big brother for me. I've played with him since I was 11 years old. He was the first PSA player I played a game with."

On how he looked to feed of the atmosphere, he added: "When I saw him [my father] for the first time in a while in the crowd, I just smiled. Great memories together and for sure the fans boosted me up. To be in the final is a credit to all of my family and all of my loyal fans."

Asal will take on Ali Farag for the Gold title after the world No.1 took down Mazen Hesham in a see-saw five-game encounter. The match will mark Farag's 10th Tour final in a row, and his fourth Black Ball climax since 2018.

The women's final will also be contested by the top two seeds, Nouran Gohar of Egypt and Olivia Weaver of USA.

World No.9 Weaver progressed to her maiden PSA World Tour Gold final after defeating Belgium's Tinne Gilis in a clinical display on the all-glass court in Cairo.

The No.2 seed played a near-perfect match against Gilis, making just two errors throughout the straight games victory which lasted just 26 minutes.

After the match, Weaver said: "I definitely played the game I wanted to today, and I had to against a player like Tinne. I'm very pleased with that performance and I'm very pleased with how I got myself back into the match after falling 5-2 behind in the first.

"In college I would watch the Black Ball event when I was procrastinating and doing my work, and now to be here and playing in the final is pretty crazy. It's an incredible atmosphere to be playing in and a brilliant place to play, so I'm really excited to be in the final and to give myself another shot at a title this season."

Meanwhile, world No.3 Gohar, a two-time champion at the Black Ball Open, ended the run of Nour El Tayeb in four games, sealing victory by a 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-6 scoreline.