QF : Dessouky 3-2 Asal

QF : [6] Fares Dessouky (Egy) 3-2 [9/16] Mostafa Asal (Egy) 10-12, 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9 (123m*)

2.18 am. Starting the second men’s match report.

After the drama that went on during the Asal/Abouelghar match, the terrible critics on most of the social media outlets that Mostafa suffered about his game, and the hammering on the refs that were find to be far too lenient toward Ragging Bull’s movement – or absence of it in their eyes –  tonight’s match was under high surveillance.

At the helm, in my opinion the only here that could handle tough battles, John Massarella and in the cans, Ralf the German ref. Off we went, I think we started the match past 11pm.

Fares was very dominant to start with 5/1, 6/2, helped by four errors from Mostafa (up to 7/7 only though), but compensated by strokes in his favour (3 between 5/1 and 5/6, that’s a lot).

So level we are, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. On a video decision, stroke to Fares, setting up two game balls. That’s the moment he choses to make 2 out of the 3 errors he made that game, plus a no let, and it’s the young Ragging Bull that takes the 30m opener, 12/10.

Or does he… Fares appeals against the no let. And so the review comes. We see several angles as normal. But no decision. A few seconds go by. Then John announces that the video ref has been taken ill and that a replacement ref (well, there are only three refs, so that’s Thomas sent to the cans) is on the way.

Nothing happens for a few minutes. And then we are told that poor Ralf is so poorly he cannot be moved from the chair, hence we’ll have to wait for the ambulance to arrive to take him to hospital before the replacement ref can get in the chair. That took a little while.

Fares, who doesn’t understand what is going on – as the players struggle to hear what the ref is saying when they are on court – is telling John that he has a review, that he doesn’t understand… His camp explains and obviously enlighted, Fares goes back to his corner.

Finally, we get the players back on court as Thomas is finally able to sit in front of the video, while we hear that Ralf would have suffered two broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.

When we finally get on the way, we expect a strong reaction from Fares, which doesn’t come. Mostafa is laughing all his way to 9/3, again three strokes up to that point. Did Mostafa switch off a bit his focus? Anyway, Fares is stringing 5 points, 8/9. But after a very attritional rally, again Mostafa is up with a game ball, 10/8 and with a video decision stroke for Mostafa, 18m game, 11/8.

I write in my book at that time: that match is going to five… Well of COURSE IT DID.

11/2 for Fares in 9m, 11/4 in 11m. Done and dusted. Fram is always right.

The fifth doesn’t start well for Ragging Bull who didn’t think of asking for 3 minute injury time as he has a blister and needs attention. So of course, on the words, TIME, he is nowhere ready, no sock, no shoe on. “you didn’t ask for 3m injury time, so there will be a time wasting penalty” warns John.

So eventually, Mostafa comes on court with shoe in hand and puts it in a hurry, get to the left side and is told 1/0 for Mr Dessouky…

Fares is again on fire as he was in the 3rd. Mostafa is probably a bit shaken by all the drama, but at 3/2, he goes to pickup a lovey drop shot on the front left corner, and falls heavily on his left shoulder. We feel for a moment that he has broken it as he refuses to move. We fear the worse. But after a quick magical treatment from Derek the PSA physio, the shoulder seems to be fine and the match goes on.

No let, confirmed by the video ref and soon Fares is nicely ahead 8/3. But three strokes in favour of Asal, no let to Fares, a tin and a winner, six points in a row for Mostafa, 9/8!

Two winners from Fares (two no lets for Mostafa) match ball 10/9 Fares. A last winner from Fares, video decision, and it’s a no let for the young Egyptian – I felt that one was harsh – 11/9, 21m last game, 123m match.

And as we come back, we hear that John M’s wife has been taking ill, had a fall back in the UK and is now in hospital. As John commented “What a day…”

It’s 2.53, Fram, signing off.

4.14, Fram signing on again. Calculated stats for you: Strokes (in favour of), no lets and errors. Seems No lets increase for Mostafa as he gets tired, also how little errors Fares made still conceding a lot of strokes…



Fares : “Today, it was a very tough match starting from the first point. The court was very bouncy and I didn’t find my game until the end of the second. I had to dig deep and hard to find my game, and that’s what I did.

“I did it before with the World No.1, so I am used to these kind of situations. I am happy to be through because he is a very dangerous player. Off-court, he is a brother, but on-court, he is a bit annoying, but I am happy to keep my head today and to stay solid until the end.

“I had to make it physical, I had to try and play to the very last point and make the rallies a bit longer and play one more shot on each point. I am lucky that it worked today because I thought I was going to lose in three.”