8:56 am
21 Apr 2024

Unseeded Crouin Conquers Momen To Gatecrash Windy City Quarters

25 Feb 2024

Frenchman Victor Crouin became the only unseeded player to reach the men's quarter-finals of the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family when he upset eighth-seeded Egyptian Tarek Momen in the PSA World Tour Platinum event at the University Club of Chicago.

Crouin, the world No.11, battled for 66 minutes to record only his second ever win over world No.8 Momen 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 - and will now face title-holder Paul Coll for the second time this year.

"I've seen Tarek come back from so many matches when he was down and he still found a way," Crouin said after his win.

"It was very inspiring because that was something I couldn't do in the past and even today I had some headaches. Even though there were some missteps I still found a way, so I'm very proud of myself.

"I've watched Tarek since I started playing squash and watching the professional tour. I unconsciously analysed his game as a passionate fan of the sport. What he does is very unique, there isn't anyone playing like Tarek on the tour, the volleys above the shoulder are some of the toughest shots to play in the game and he's one of the best to play those shots."

Reigning champion Coll booked his last eight berth after an impressive performance against Frenchman Baptiste Masotti. The world No.3 Coll remains on course to reach his third straight Windy City Open final after recording an 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory over Masotti to claim his sixth successive victory over the Frenchman.

The New Zealander won this event by beating Youssef Ibrahim in the final two years ago, having lost to Ali Farag in the 2020 final.

"Baptiste is a dangerous opponent and he can hit some outrageous winners," said Coll afterwards.

"I had to avoid that middle area of the court and I did that at the end of each game. I'm very happy to get off in three, I've got a rest day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the quarters on Monday.

"He was going all out trying to hit winners from everywhere, so I had to stay up the court and put it away when it was there."

Meanwhile, Peru's No.2 seed Diego Elias and Egypt's No.5 seed Mostafa Asal will renew their rivalry in the next round following respective wins over England's Adrian Waller and France's Sebastien Bonmalais.

In the women's event, world No.3 Gohar produced a clinical performance to book her spot in the last eight, beating fellow Egyptian Hany 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 in just 30 minutes.

Hany had impressed in recording a 3/0 win of her own over Sarah-Jane Perry in round two, but was blown away by 26-year-old Gohar under the chandeliers in the University Club of Chicago's picturesque Cathedral Hall.

Gohar will now take on US No.2 Olivia Weaver for a place in the last four, with Weaver producing an immaculate performance to take out 16-year-old Egyptian Amina Orfi. 2022 runner-up Hania El Hammamy also advances after a dominant win over the in-form Rowan Elaraby, and she will take on Belgium's No.7 seed Tinne Gilis, who stormed past France's Melissa Alves.

"There is pressure, but as Billie Jean King always says, pressure is privilege," Gohar said.

"I'm happy with the way I played, Salma and I go way back, we've been playing junior events since we were nine years old. I have a lot of respect for her, it was very clean today and very enjoyable.

"At ToC I was very close [to winning], one game away, and it was heartbreaking, to be honest. It was going to be like a fairytale coming back from injury and winning your first major, but everything happens for a reason and it's in the past. I'm really enjoying myself here, I love it here in Chicago and it's a pleasure to play in front of such an amazing crowd."