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Momen and Farag to meet in semi-final showdown at Qatar Classic

World No 1 Ali Farag stayed on course for his title defense in Doha with a 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (69m) victory over Peru’s World No 7 Diego Elias in the quarter-finals of the Qatar Classic.

The pair had met 13 times on the PSA World Tour before, with Farag holding the healthy 11-2 advantage over his South American counterpart. They faced off in their final group game at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in Cairo at the end of September, with the Egyptian taking the win on home soil.

The first two games yesterday were rapid, with the scores level at 1-1 after just 20 minutes. Farag took the lead after dispatching the first game 11-6, before Elias turned the tables in the second to tie the match. The new World No 1 took the third by the same scoreline to re-establish his lead, thanks to winning the last seven points of the game to come from 6-4 down to take it 11-6.

As much as Farag threw at the Peruvian, he could not close the match out in the fourth. Elias was able to dig deep and fight to send the match into a deciding game. The Egyptian saved two game balls, but the World No 7 was able to take the third to win it 11-9 and make the match level at two games apiece.

The final game of this contest was littered with contentious refereeing decisions, as both players started to tire. Farag held a big advantage early on but the Peruvian fought back. However, a controversial decision gave Farag a 9-6 lead, and he was able to take the momentum to secure a victory, booking his place in the semi-finals.

The Egyptian will now face compatriot Tarek Momen in the last four.

“Diego and I have played over ten times now, a lot more, and it is always close. I have been getting the wins, luckily, but you see today how close it is. Somehow, every time I have been coming out as the winner,” Farag admitted.

“What a match that was today. He was very subtle and smart with his tactics. The first, I started well and then in the second, he started slowing things down and twisting me a lot. I wasn’t happy with myself, in not dealing with it quick enough. It took me a game and a half to adjust accordingly.”

Meanwhile, World Champion Momen ground out an extremely hard-fought 3-2 victory over Welshman Joel Makin to book his place in the semi-finals.

Momen fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he won the PSA Men’s World Championship in Qatar 12 months ago, and he moved to within one win of back-to-back finals in the country courtesy of a 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 victory in 79 captivating minutes.

Errors cost Momen in the opening game and the fourth, but the 32-year-old showed nerves of steel to draw ahead from 7-7 in the decider to seal his place in the semi-finals.

“I really felt I didn’t play my best the last couple of times, but today I was a lot sharper,” Momen said.

“My shots were going in nicely a lot better than the two times before and yet I still barely won 3-2. All credit to him, he played a really good match and made it extremely tough. I thought I had some chances in the fourth game, I was 8-5 up and I shouldn’t have squandered that lead.

World No 5 Paul Coll reached the last four after taking out World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy in a five-game thriller.

Coll prevailed when the pair met in the semi-finals of the PSA Men’s World Championship last year in Qatar and triumphed once again courtesy of an 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 victory in 75 minutes.

“He’s probably got some of the best lengths out of anyone on tour, and if you let him dominate you then you can lose seven or eight points within a matter of minutes,” said Coll.

“You’ve got to be on your mettle with everything, he gives you nothing. I always love a battle with him, he gives you nothing and it’s never easy.” 

In the last match of the day, Fares Dessouky got the better of Youssef Ibrahim 11-4, 12-14, 11-2, 10-12, 11-5 (66m).

This was the first-ever meeting between the pair and came after Ibrahim had knocked out the tournament’s top seed and three-time Qatar Classic champion, Mohamed ElShorbagy, in the last 16.

RESULTS

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [5] Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-6, 6-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7 (69m)[4] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5 (75m)

[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [8] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (79m)

Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 11-4, 12-14, 11-2, 10-12, 11-5 (66m)

Semi-final line-up

Ali Farag (EGY) vs Tarek Momen (EGY)

Paul Coll (NZ)  vs Fares Dessouky (EGY)

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