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• Grasshopper Cup 2017 • 03-07 May • Zurich •  

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 TODAY at the Grasshopper Cup 2017

05-May, Quarter-Finals:

[5] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2 [1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 
                   8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9 (81m)
[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [8] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
                  11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (52m)

[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 [6] Simon Rosner (Ger)
                  11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (46m)
[7] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-2 [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
                  11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6

Top seeds tumble in Zurich

A dramatic quarter-finals day in Zurich saw top seeds Mohamed Elshorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad both lose out in five games to fellow Egyptians, while Europeans Gregory Gaultier and Nick Matthew both came through to the semis in straight games ...

[5] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2 [1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) 
                   8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9 (81m)

INCREDIBLE SQUASH               Incredible rally!

Media previewFar away from the dramas of Al-Ahram and Wadi Degla, those two played squash as it always should be played - Mohamed giving a let to Ali when Ali's shot was called not up by the ref despite a video showing the ball was up, then calling his own shot double on his match ball in the 4th.

The quality of the rallies was stupendous. After winning  a tight first game, Mohamed relaxed mentally in the second, 5m, 11/3 for Ali, only to take what appeared to be a crucial 3rd, after Ali made a silly error at 9/9, 11/9.

But Ali regrouped in the 4th, zoomed to 10/7, only to see Vintage Shorbagy's chopped dropshots taking him back to 10/10. Mohamed will have a match ball at 11/10, as I said, he called it not up, and Ali forces a decider on his 4th game ball, 13/11.

The 5th is again superb, Mohamed giving it a big push after a point for a point start, up to 5/5. 8/5 Mohamed, who suddenly seems to hit the wall physically. He will save a match ball at 10/8 down, but Ali takes the cake with yet again a backhand crosscourt nick...

Media previewI think tonight, the real champion today is the crowd. They gave us so much energy. I could feel Mohamed and myself getting very tired at the end, and the only reason we kept going was because of the crowd! They gave me the energy and the will to fight.

Since a very young age, I’ve been looking to the fighters on court, one of them is Mohamed. I have learned a lot from him, and from the likes of Karim Darwish, and Nick Matthew, and all these warriors on court. Obviously Nour in a corner, I’m forever grateful – she is the only one sitting, she is probably not impressed with the match probably - although at the end she kept on telling me “PATIENCE”, and I kept going for it. Sorry for being disobedient, but I just had to go for it.

I knew that the second was just a lapse for him and that the he would come out firing in the third – which is exactly what he did. It was close and then in the fourth at 10-7 up, I lost it a little. But I just tried to loosen up and go for my shots – I was maybe playing too conservative before then – because I was starting to feel it and cramp up.

There was a crucial point in the middle of the fifth and I gave him some cheap points. I dug in, told myself not to give up on it and thankfully it worked. I’m excited to be in the semi-finals now.

Recently I have been a bit up and down in my squash and if Nour hadn't been there today I wouldn’t have pulled it out. Last year I was the hunter and had no pressure, this year I’ve been over thinking it too much. I want to get back to enjoying my squash and get that momentum going.

At the end, the difference is a flip of a coin, it’s a lottery. It could have gone either way at the end…

[4] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 [8] Omar Mosaad (Egy)
                  11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (52m)

PSA Reports
Nick Matthew secured safe passage into the semi-finals of the Grasshopper Cup courtesy of a 3-0 win over tall Egyptian Omar Mosaad.

After crashing from No.3 to 33 in the past twelve months Mosaad at times showed glimpses of his former self as he managed to dictate rallies and make life difficult for Matthew, reminiscent of their battles at the US Open and ToC in 2015/16, but he couldn't find enough in his locker to consistently trouble the 'Wolf'.

The opening game looked set to be a close one as they traded points to 4-4 but but from then on it was the racket of Matthew that dominated. Throughout the second Mosaad managed to pose more of a threat, staying in front of Matthew in the main only for Matthew to extend the rallies and increase the level of physicality – forcing errors from the racket of the big man.

And it proved a fruitful tactic as after 21 minutes of second game play Matthew found himself ahead 2-0.

Matthew continued to dictate the pace in the third, stepping up and staying in front to weather the storm that came as Mosaad found a second wind. Despite at times cutting a frustrated figure on court – looking visibly agitated as he struggled to shake off the Egyptian - Matthew managed to do just enough to keep Mosaad at bay and secure a last four berth.

I had the feeling that match was a bit boring compared to the first match tonight – it's strange the thoughts you have in your head on there.

I was a bit lucky in the second and third games, I gave him opportunities and he missed them and maybe went for the shot too early.

I played the tactics I wanted in the first game but credit to him. He's not had a great season but he was back to some of his best today and he was on form. He slowed me down and frustrated me so I was a bit lucky to get away with it.

[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-0 [6] Simon Rosner (Ger)
                  11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (46m)

PSA Reports                                   Incredible Rally

Gregory Gaultier’s
hot streak on the PSA World Tour extended to a 21st consecutive win as he swept aside Germany’s Simon Rösner 3-0 to reach the semi-finals of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup.

Gaultier has been in sensational form during 2017 – playing arguably the most complete and impressive squash of his career to date at the age of 34 – and he continued to prove he is the man to beat as he kept Rösner on the end of his racket to record what in the end was a fairly routine win in his current form.

To his credit Rösner gave as good as he could against the Frenchman – whom he was playing for the 17th time on the PSA, having won just once previously – and dug deep into his reserves, particularly in the third, but he couldn't wrestle control of the T from Gaultier, who lived up to his 'General' moniker by dominating the court, making it a nightmare for the German to try and get into the match.

After sticking close to him through the third Rösner's resistance was eventually broken as Gaultier took the match after 40 impressive minutes.

It was a much tougher match than yesterday which is what I expected from him.

He had a long match yesterday so I knew he would be stiff to start with so I tried to inject some pace, but not too much. I tried to be accurate and not open up angles and allow him an opportunity to put the ball away and counter his tricks.

In the third he never gave up – he kept going and going and made me work hard for it. I try to do my best against every player – I think Simon is waiting on a big win against a top four player to help boost his confidence. He's talented and disciplined, we're close friends, so hopefully one day I will se him up there at the top.

I tried to make sure I was always making him play one more shot. Sometimes he gets you on the wrong foot but I stayed focused from the first point to the end and was lucky to close it in three.

[7] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-2 [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy)
                       11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6

PSA Reports
A huge wave of emotion greeted the wining point as Tarek Momen threw his racket in delight after conquering World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in a highly entertaining five game battle at the Grasshopper Cup to reach the semi-finals of the PSA M100 tournament.

Momen hadn’t beaten Gawad in four years of play but came out victorious after 70 minutes of action that saw the pair put together rally after rally of the highest calibre – hitting all four corners of the court in an exhibition of free flowing, attacking squash.

Predictably between two players with a long history of competing in five-game battle today’s encounter went all the way, with momentum swinging back and forth throughout as both fought for control of the court. It was Momen who started strongest, taking advantage of Gawad’s now trademark slow start, to take the opener before the World Champion respond in kind to take the second.

It was a case of rinse and repeat during the third and forth games with neither able to take advantage and gain the upper hand but it was Momen who looked the stronger in the decider. After taking an early lead he recovered from a series of errors – brought about by an early dose of white-line fever – to see the match out and secure a hugely important win.

It was a big match for me today because I know I’ve been playing well and been in some of my best form of late – but I’ve been coming up short by narrow margins time and time again.

I came into the match today telling myself not to worry about the score and just trying to just play my best squash. But the chance to win came in there and it was very tough for me mentally. I’m very happy that I managed to come through because I feel like I was due one big win before the end of the season.

I tried hard to believe in myself because self-belief is big for me. In Houston ten days or so ago I had a big lead against him but then made a few mistakes and began doubting myself – all of a sudden he was ahead and had the momentum. So I tried just to make sure that I didn’t fall into that trap again today.

I was very nervous today throughout the whole match, only because of what happened last time! Every time I had a big lead, it’s wrong to do that, but I kept thinking that I had to be 110% because he could come back any time.

That’s why I was a bit tentative sometimes, there were some scrappy parts with so many silly errors, but on the other hand, there were such great rallies…

I have been waiting for such a win for a very long time now, finally, I managed to get a win against the World number 1, which is amazing.

However, I must say, Karim has had an unbelievable season, it’s been such a long season for him, it must have been very hard for him to play this tournament after so many tournaments, he must have played more than the double of the matches I have played this season, so I cannot do anything else than salute him for the effort he’s made and for becoming world number 1, it’s amazing.

I’ve known him since he was a young player, we grew up in the same club, and his achievements this season and unreal. This week was maybe a step too much for him after a long season with maybe double the matches I played, but I think he can come back strong again next season.

For me, I’m going to enjoy the semi-final tomorrow now. I’ve played some big matches with Greg this season and I’m looking forward to another one tomorrow.

I love coming here, I was very disapointed not to come here last year, but this is one of my two best tournaments in the world, it's a tie with another one, but I'm not telling you.... I just hope I'll keep coming back every year, I just love the Grasshopper Cup.


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