QF:  Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Zahed Salem (Egy) 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-7 (67m)
On PSA, those two had been facing each other 3times on PSA, and although it went to 4 games twice, the scores were not that close. That’s the perception that Zahed had anyway of those matches.
Tarek was probably like we were a bit taken back by how much Zahed attacked, and how positive he was today. If the Momenator had had a good start 4/0, the rest of the game was going to be neck to neck all the way to 10/10, Tarek finally clinching the opener on his second attempt, 12/10, 17m. One error each…
The second was pretty much the same, except for the error count. Tarek, pushed around and not having as much time on the ball he enjoys having, found the tin 6 times. His opponent was about the same though, 5!
Oh and the game balls number as well: Zahed had 2, 11/10, 13/12, but it’s the world champ that again clinches the second game, 15/13, needing three game balls, 20m of pretty accurate drives, volley drop shots, long drop shots, and a lot, a forking lot of running!
The third looked pretty much Alexandrian, with Zahed ahead comfy 4/1, 7/4, 9/5. But Tarek, knowing he’ll need some energy in the tank for the semis, gave it a big push to try and close it in three. He was close though, back to 9/9 but Zahed closes it with an error from Tarek and a stroke, 13m. Better error count from both, 3 errors for Tarek, 2 for Zahed.
The fourth is more comfortable for the Newly Dad, and even if the game is close in the middle, tired errors start to mount for Zahed (5) and Tarek finally closes the match, 11/7, 12m last game, and only one error.
Zahed: “I’ve been working very hard on my game, I didn’t want to keep on relying on my fitness alone. So I have changed to try and play a much more attacking game.
I’m going for more shots, I’m more confident, and I’ll keep working on them. But I’m happy and proud that it starts showing in my game, I have played a lot with Tarek, but we never played that close games. And I had game balls in the second game, I think the match would have been different if I had taken that game.
I kept fighting till the end, but he is so good, and today, he used his experience to win, we were both tired, but he played the crucial points better.
Tarek: “I don’t know what to say to be honest, I’m just really glad to get the win today,”
“I don’t think it was my best performance of the tournament, there were far too many errors, he made a few errors which helped me a bit. I would’ve loved to have played better today, but it’s ok I’m allowed to have a not 100% performance but still I managed to play the important points well. Both the first two games went to the tie-break and I managed to close them out, so that was a positive thing.
“The first two games went exactly the same way. I had a good lead, started well and just started to hit the tin far too many times and then he started to get winners of his own and it got tight towards the end. In the third he stepped it up, I thought I could come back, I made a minor comeback and almost closed out but couldn’t. I was just glad to get ahead in that fourth game and maintain the lead to get the win.
“I cannot predict the next match, I just hope it goes for as long as it can and they play 200 minutes.”
🗣 "I would have loved to have played better today… but I managed to play the important points well."@TkMomen gives us his thoughts on his @BlackBallSquash victory over @ZahedSalem_ 🎥 pic.twitter.com/oe6KKy2rRb
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 23, 2021