QF: Mostafa in three against Mazen

[3] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0 Mazen Hesham (Egy) 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (59m)

PSA reports:

In the last of the El Gouna International quarter-finals, defending champion Mostafa Asal set up a semi-final with Mohamed ElShorbagy after a straight-game victory over Egyptian compatriot Mazen Hesham.

Any fears that there would be a resumption of the bad-tempered encounter between the two earlier this month at the World Championship were quickly dispelled in a high quality opener.

In a fast-paced and entertaining first game, Asal kept his nose ahead of Hesham throughout, chasing down enough of his opponent’s winners to take the opener 11-7.

Asal started the second game strongly but was soon pegged back by Hesham, with the 29-year-old forcing errors from the third seed’s racket with a flurry of powerful attacks. Asal, however, regained his focus and played some of the best squash seen this week as he punished Hesham in all four corners to move two ahead with an 11-8 win.

The third game was a more fractured contest, with Hesham visibly frustrated by his opponent and refereeing decisions during the opening rallies.

It was former World No.1 Asal who was better able to reset after each interruption, although at times appearing to be lacking some of the energy and pace of the first two games, keeping calm to edge his way in front before finishing the match with a flurry of points as he took the final game 11-7.

Mostafa : Mazen is one of the toughest players on tour, and he’s in form now. It’s tough to play players in form at the end of the season, so I’m happy with my performance today. It was much calmer inside the court, having my fans all over the place is amazing for me. I hope my loyal fans are coming for the semis and the final!

I’m playing in one of the best clubs in Africa and I’m sure they’ll come and support! I’m really proud of myself today.

Mohamed ElShorbagy is someone me and my friends were coming here and watching, from outside as we couldn’t enter. We were cheering for him from five years! It’s an honour to play your idol and it’s all about squash tomorrow and I’m happy with my performance over the tournament. And let’s get ready for tomorrow!

I’m never relaxed, but I’m relaxing with the support of my fans and my friends. Mohamed is doing an amazing job with me actually at the moment. There are lots of changes to come next season and let’s go and recover.

“My doctor’s doing an amazing job with me, I needed him in the last tournament! All the focus on recovery and some FIFA and getting ready for tomorrow!”