R2: Mostafa, Leonel, Tarek, Ramit

14.15 Matches :
[4] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 Rui Soares (Por)   11-8, 11-4, 11-5 (24m)
Leonel Cardenas (Mex) 3-1 [9/16] Joel Makin (Wal)   7-11, 1-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (78m)
[8] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0 Balazs Farkas (Hun)   11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (33m)
Ramit Tandon (Ind) 3-1 [9/16] Victor Crouin (Fra)   11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5 (52m)

Two significant upsets as Leonel Cardenas comes from two-nil down to beat Joel Makin and Ramit Tandon gets the better of Victor Crouin in four games, with Tarek Momen in search of confidence


I’m in the process of building back my confidence.

I had a rough patch like any other player, it happens to us all. I started the season very well and then a little bit of a drop in form, and a few flashes of good form between tournaments, but it wasn’t very consistent.

I took some time off, two weeks before Ramadan and during Ramadan, so I had six weeks. I recovered from a few niggles I had, and worked so hard on my squash fitness to get that confidence back.

Obviously, BlackBall was the first tournament back, and it was right after Ramadan. I thought I did well, I saw some signs of improvement but Miguel was on fire. There were some good patches on there, but I was still not consistent.

But I felt I’m on the right tracks, I’m on the way, getting there. Today, I’m happy with my performance, I wouldn’t say it was perfect but there were so many positive to take, and I think that if I keep on improving, I’m going to end the season hopefully in good form.

Tandon v Crouin

The Indian started the match well, looking in control of the pace of game one as he pushed to an 11-9 win despite a fightback from Crouin. The second game saw a close affair as the pair traded points to 8-8. Tandon was the first to have a game ball at 10-8, and despite Crouin levelling the game at 10-10, Tandon converted on the third time of asking after the Frenchman conceded a stroke.

Ramit :  Victor is a very fair player, it’s always been fun playing him. We’re good friends so it’s always a good clean match. I’m happy with the way I played. That second game was really close and could have gone either way which was really crucial. Fortunately, it went my way.

In the third, he was too sharp and I took a bit of a breather as well when I found myself down. Then I came back firing in the fourth and I feel I got a little lucky towards the end but that’s how the sport goes!”

I knew the fourth game was going to be tough and I needed to start strong and I believed in the physical work I’d put in and believed I could stay with him. I wasn’t forcing it I could play with him physically for a bit.

If he plays better squash, it’s ok if he wins the game but if not I should hang in there and fight for it.

Victor : I feel like I’ve lost my game, like I’m searching for myself.
There are periods of play that are good, and others that are not so good, but it’s all the little game, after building the big opportunities, where I either make a mistake, or I keep the ball in play.
I don’t think it’s pressure, no, it was at the end of last year, that’s for sure, I was fighting against myself. But now, I keep a positive discourse on the court, I continue to fight… But I can’t score the points.

So I will continue to train, hoping that it comes back quickly.

Cardenas v Makin

Cardenas shifted into gear in the third game, placing his shots more accurately to test the Welshman’s physicality. The Mexican halved the deficit as he won 11-8 to breathe life back into the affair.

Makin, who had donned head protection to stop bleeding just above his brow after being caught by Cardenas’ racket, struggled to implement the brutal consistency and physicality that had earned him a 2-0 lead. Cardenas pushed on won the third game 11-8 before levelling the match 2-2 with a pin-point accurate backhand drop.

The decisive fifth game was closely-contested with both players were taking hard-earned points as Makin maintained a slim advantage to 8-6. Cardenas pushed on from there to win five successive points and claim a place in the third round after 78 minutes to face Egypt’s Tarek Momen.

Leonel : I’m feeling great and am happy with the win. I think it’s my best win on the PSA World Tour so I’m really happy.

It was tough, we’re both fighters and he’s an amazing player. I think I started playing better in the third game because I had to find a way to play against him.

After losing the second 11-1 I was trying to get into the match to feel the rhythm, but I never stopped playing, I always kept fighting and fighting.