F : Farag plays Cat/Mouse with Asal for 2nd Gouna title

[4] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 [3] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 12-10, 10-12, 11-6, 11-2 (62m)

The PSA Facts
Ali Farag’s incredible form has seen him win the British Open, PSA World Championships, the Manchester Open and now the El Gouna International, as he stretched his unbeaten run to 20 matches.
Farag now has 33 PSA titles to his name – becoming the joint-second most successful Egyptian alongside the legendary Amr Shabana – while it’s his fifth triumph of the season.
On Monday, he will also overtake Peru’s Diego Elias at the top of the PSA World Rankings.

Fram reports

Thanks ever so much to Nazih and Ievents who for the second night in a row, places me right in the middle of it all. Asal camp on my right, and Farag on my left. Very relaxing.

To be honest, I really didn’t want to watch another match where rugby would be the theme. I had that last night for 2hours with Mohamed and Mostafa, ending at 2 am. I had to watch it and then report on it, trying to be as honest and fair as possible. And it’s hard. Sometimes too hard.

Tonight was a tactical match. End of. Mostafa probably didn’t sleep much – the adrenalin running through his muscles and brain, physio treatment, the excitement to get to the final… maybe, what 4, 5 hours sleep after a long event and 320m spent on court.

Now nobody can pretend Ali was fresh as a rose, bless him. His four tournaments in a row, 4th final, and 232m still spent on court on this one. Less than Mostafa, but still. That’s a lot of squash overall, especially when you are coming back from injury, and lack mental and physical fitness. Not to mention he won the British while fasting, as one does. But still, he was “fresher” than his opponent.

Imagine Asal as a mouse – yes, I know, a bit stretching but try – and Ali as the clever cat. That was the match. The poor Mostafa kept covering the four corners, truly giving everything he had, putting as much power and accuracy he could, while Ali was turning and twisting him. Also, if Ali had been nagging this week, today, he was much calmer and quieter.

The two first games are on the same model. Superb start for Mostafa in both, 4/0, 6/2, 8/3. So many lets, so many… so many interruptions…  In 12 points, 18 decisions from 4/1 to 9/7. Lovely.

Ali comes back close, 7/8, 8/9, but Mostafa sets up 2 game ball, 10/8. Ali keeps mentioning that he is grabbed by the arm, pushed, blocked.

Still, the cat/mouse is still going, and Mostafa starts to suffer to reach the ball in time to have an incidence on the rallies. And it’s a complete turn of events, as Ali closes the opener 12/10, scoring 4 points in a row. 5 no let against Mostafa, 7 winners, only one error. Ali 10 winners, 2 errors. 25m game.

As I mentioned, the second is on the same model, Mostafa come off the blocks full of beans, handling Ali’s pressure really well, but still producing an enormous court coverage, from 3/3, it’s 7/3, 8/4.

Again, like in the previous game, Ali claws back, Mostafa sets up two game balls, 8/10. Ali seems to be on his way to a 2/0 lead. But Mostafa gives it his absolute all and finally clinches the game 12/10 on his third game ball. 15m game, 4 winners for Ali, 11 for Mostafa.

The third sees Ali collecting the dividend of the tactics: Mostafa is struggling more and more with his movement. He is still alive and kicking but that twist and turn at the start of the third is just the nail in the coffin. 8/4, 10/5, 11/6 in only 9m. 10 winners for Ali, no errors, only one error from Mostafa, 6 winners.

The last game is 5m, Mostafa not able to even try moving, 4/0, 10/1, 11/2. Mohamed yesterday was wondering how to beat Mostafa? Make him play 2 hours, then play cat and mouse for 61m. Simple.



Ali : “I’m very proud with how I’ve dealt with the past couple of months and I’m very happy with the way I performed today.

“It’s never easy to play against Mostafa, he’s such a champion. How many people in history can say that they have been the World No.1 and the best player in their sport at the age of 21, it’s unbelievable what he has achieved already. I’m happy I’m at the back end of my career because I don’t want to battle it out with him for many years!

“It’s always great to have any Egyptian win the titles. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped run this event. We’ve been praising Amr Mansi for kicking off the tournaments in Egypt but it’s not just him, Nazih and ievents who make us feel so comfortable, so credit to them.

“Thanks to all the sponsors, CIB and mostly Orascom Development. We are proud to have an Egyptian family raise our flag worldwide with everything they are doing.”