6:01 am
24 Jun 2024

Momen Stuns World No.3 Elias To Make El Gouna Semis

24 Apr 2024

On an action-packed first quarter-final day of the El Gouna International Open in Egypt, No.8 seed Tarek Momen took down No.3 seed Diego Elias in three games after a last-minute venue change; Belgium's Tinne Gilis survived a resurgence from Egypt's Salma Hany; and world No.1s Nour El Sherbini and Ali Farag recorded 3/0 victories.

In the final match of day five, Egypt's Momen shocked world No.3 Elias in just 28 minutes to reach his first semi-final of the season.

Due to adverse conditions on the glass court caused by humidity, the last match of the evening was moved to the traditional court at the El Gouna Squash Complex, where first, second and 16 third round matches were played.

The Egyptian started strongly, accruing an early 5-2 lead. The 'Peruvian Puma' attempted to fight back, but Momen kept well ahead throughout to take the first game 11-6.

Mistakes plagued Elias' play as he struck the tin on multiple occasions and Momen quickly built up a 7-1 lead. Elias struggled to contain Momen as he controlled the tempo of the game and cruised to 11-4.

Elias continued to look off the pace and the Egyptian took full advantage as he pushed on to an 11-5 third game win to knock out the Peruvian in a dominant display.

"I'm over the moon, obviously, because I haven't played this well in a long time," said Momen after the match.

"I've been feeling really bad for a while as well, so it's good to have days like this when I can see myself play like I used to.

"Maybe the change of venue fired me up a bit. I was a bit angry that we had to move because I felt that the court was playable. I didn't want to cool down and then warm up again. Fortunately the switch was very quick and I got on court very quickly and felt sharp.

"Overall I'm very happy to get a quality win against a player like Diego. I haven't beaten him for a while; I used to have a very good record against him but he's been chopping me for the last year and a half so I'm glad I could get a win against him today."

In the other men's match of the evening, top seed Ali Farag defeated former world No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in an exciting three-game encounter.

Both players looked sharp in the first game as Farag edged a 1/0 lead, but the England No.1 appeared fatigued after taking a 4-1 lead in game two, and the Egyptian took full advantage to win the second and third games 11-6 and book a place in Thursday's semi-finals.

In the women's draw, No.7 seed Tinne Gilis avenged her sister Nele's third-round defeat to Hany in a thrilling 3/2 encounter.

The Belgian troubled the Egyptian from the start, disrupting her play and despite Hany keeping close on the scoreline to 5-5, Gilis surged on to win game one 11-9.

Hany looked out-of-sorts from the beginning of the second game as Gilis' movements and shots both looked impeccable and the Belgian scored 11 points without response to double her lead.

The third and fourth games both saw closer affairs, but the Egyptian looked resolved to comeback as she took 11-7, 12-10 wins to level the match at two-all.

Gilis dominated game five in a similar manner to the second game and earned a strong lead to win 11-5 and progress to the semi-finals.

Afterwards, Gilis said: "I'm just happy and very relieved I managed to sneak the fifth, now I'll reset and focus on what I did well."

On Hany's movement and the traffic issues during the match, Gilis said: "There was some traffic sometimes. There were definitely some dodgy movements but I think the ref did well to punish her or give me a let when she did a bad movement. I'm happy I didn't let that into my head and kept focusing on my own targets."

In the first match of the quarter-finals, world No.1 Nour El Sherbini cruised to a comfortable 3/0 victory over compatriot Rowan Elaraby in 35 minutes. The top seed looked dominant throughout as the No.8 seed struggled to make an impact on the match.