FINAL : Farag gets revenge to retain title

[1] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-1 [4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 11-5 (58m)

A few matches ago, I asked Ali why he kept playing PSA after having won everything on the Planet. “The fact I lost that week!” he laughed “It doesn’t make me happy. At all! As sour and as bad as a loss makes me feel, it fires me up for the next one.”

And I feel that’s exactly what I feel happened today. Ali was fired up, there was the urgency in his game that was missing the whole of Black Ball – in my opinion – while Mostafa was a bit flat. And to play against a fired up Farag from the first rally, you need a 100% Mostafa.

All credit to him, he kept pushing – I mean, himself, not the way he used to AT ALL! He gave everything he had but Ali was just too relaxed, too accurate, too positive, and too relentless.

Mostafa gave away 6 points in the opener, while Ali only needed 5 winners and made only one error. Still the score was close until 6/6, but Ali takes the o so important opponent, 11/7 16m hard work.

The second is nearly as long, 15m, and Mostafa is looking good, always a couple of points ahead, closing the game on his second attempt to level the games, 11/8

Ali made no errors in the second, no errors in the third, and only one in the fourth—what a change from his matches in Black Ball. The quality of squash that was lacking in his last event was back in force.

Ali took the next two4/0, 5/2, 11/4 in 7 short minutes but a good awakening from Mostafa in the 4th, very close up to 5/5, but too many tired errors from that point on, 11/5 in 14m.

Karim Darwish, coach to Ali, commented: “Today Ali was very focused, very in for the match. It all depends of his length. Those 30 centimetres difference makes a huge difference against someone of the quality of Asal who had to play deeper and deeper to the back corners before he goes short, but if the ball stops in the box area, or in the middle, no one can beat Asal in that area. Today, Ali started every game very very well, deep to the back corners, and then everything worked well.”

So it’s that simple to play amazing squash: play deep in the back corners. Who knew…


Ali was very tough today, and I feel I wasn’t. The last 11 matches, since the beginning of Black Ball, I feel a little bit exhausted. I did everything I could to be able to perform today – I had three recovery sessions before the match, but the body is just tired after a succession of tournaments.

All credit to Ali for sure, Black Ball was mine, this one is his. I am very pleased with the way I am playing at the moment, playing, pushing to get all those wins. I leave everything on court, and nothing happens on court but squash. I’m very happy with my team, for sure. I’m in the finals again, I’m chasing those titles.

This is the most exhausting final I ever played, mentally and physically, winning Black Ball then only two days later, being back here in Gouna. But I am very very proud of myself, I tried my best today, but like I said, all credit to Ali.

Now a good recovery for the worlds, that’s the most important tournament of the year…


“First and foremost, for Mostafa, for the player he’s become, for the man he becomes, it’s an honour and a joy to share a court with him. It was pretty much free-flowing all the way. [It was] played in a very hard manner, but a good manner.

“I think that’s the way the crowd deserves to watch the squash, our beautiful sport.

“I lost to Mostafa, I was second best on the day, last week in BlackBall. He was better in almost every department, and I had to go back and work on different stuff. Try to take the middle court away from him, especially on the back-hand side.

“I had to change the paces and angles, and I did that well for the entire game. However, at some points, I was still outplayed because of how great a player he is, so I’m very happy I stayed strong for the whole match and came through with a win today.

“We get to enjoy it for a few days but then we have to focus again for the Worlds, and thankfully, it’s here in Egypt again, that’s something we are looking forward to, and hopefully, we can make the Egyptian crowd proud again.

I want first and foremost to thank Eng Samih Sawiris, for us Egyptians, he is a role model, what his family is doing, to have a town here in the middle of nowhere in the desert, and becoming the blueprint of so many other cities around the world. I was listening to an interview of his the other week, and I couldn’t be more inspired by the achievements, but more so by the humility after all these achievements. So thank you Orascom Developement for bring us here. El Gouna is one of a kind and we can’t wait to come back here every single year.

A huge thank you to Amr Mansi and the whole of Ievents Team. It’s impressive what they have been doing. The reason why they are so many tournaments in Egypt and why Egypt is doing so well is partially because of what’s Mansi is doing, so I couldn’t be more grateful for him and the whole team.

And obviously my team, my parents, who have seen it all, from Day One, and the losses, and the wins, and the travelling, I can’t be more grateful for the two of them. My wife, who never leaves my side. My brother who drove all the way from Cairo today just to watch me and is back there tomorrow first thing.

Obviously, Wadi Degla, mostly Karim Darwish OF Wadi Degla. What he sees of me, the way I speak sometimes, or when I don’t have the motivation, he keeps me going. And the knowledge of squash is has is second to none. He always comes up with the right game plan for me.

My fitness trainer, Hossam Shaddad and Derek Ryan in Ireland, my physio Dr Ahmed Seif, and my sponsors, CIB, Sodic, Etisalat, Dunlop.

And at last but not least, the Egyptian crowd, I mean, you don’t see that often around the world…