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Quarter Final | CCI International 2019

Match report by: Sachika Irshwin Balvani | Photos by: Nitesh Square

18:00 | Tarek Momen (EGY) beat Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) | 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7 | 65 mins


Just as the sun set, the world #4 took to the Glass Court here at the Cricket Club of India, up against Spanish world #67, Iker Pajares. After having managed to pull off the upset of his career yesterday against seventh seed Nicolas Müller, Pajares looked determined to bring back the same energy and quality on court today. But it was Momen who took an early lead, going up 6-0 in the first game. Pajares fought back as Momen looked to close the game, and it was only after Pajares had taken 8 points that Momen wrap up the game, 11-8.

The second game began better on Pajares’ end, as he denied Momen any early leads. He even gave himself a two-point cushion at 5-3. But Momen drew level as the second half went underway, and they drew level at 7 all with a dying length on the forehand. Though Momen took the lead, Pajares denied him an easy win, and they went to 9 all. However, with a lot more experience allowing him to play the big points better, Momen took the game giving himself a two set lead.

The third game saw Pajares in the lead once more. His movement was absolutely on point; he kept up with Momen’s pressure and front court game to give himself a game ball at 10-8. Though a stroke to Momen threatened Pajares’ potential to take the game, Pajares pulled it off, taking it 11-9.

Pajares kept up his quest, playing brilliantly and doing more than just absorbing Momen’s pressure. He attacked wonderfully to go 6-4 up in the fourth game, but Momen changed gears and took the next two points. But the pressure from Momen… unrelenting. That coupled with the fact that Pajares seemed to be struggling with a slight injury saw Momen wrap up the match. Pajares has played an extremely high level of squash over the last two days, showcasing tremendous potential. But it is Momen who has set himself up against Ramit Tandon in tomorrow’s semi-final. Tandon received a walkover today after Saurav Ghosal had to unfortunately withdraw from the tournament due to injury.

Ramit Tandon (IND) beat [3] Saurav Ghosal (IND)


[4] Fares Dessouky (EGY) beat Karim El Hammamy (EGY) | 11-3, 11-1, 11-5 | 26 mins


In an all Egyptian clash, it was Fares Dessouky who took the first two games relatively quickly. ElHammamy played supreme squash yesterday as he took out The Hammer of Thor, Omar Mosaad, who has been as high up in the world rankings as World Number 3, in a tantalising 5 set battle.

Dessouky, with a more decisive win yesterday over Ben Coleman of England, looked at ease. He dominated the pace, which he kept continuously high. It was only in the third game that ElHammamy prevented Dessouky from taking an early lead. There was some brilliant retrieving on Elhammamy’s end as he fought to stay in the match, and he clung to Dessouky at 5-6. But as the game moved into the second half, Dessouky seemed more dominating than ever. He played fearless squash, never shying away from the attack, and won the match, 3-0. Dessouky has booked himself a place in the semi-final tomorrow, and has done so without dropping a set thus far.

[5] James Willstrop (ENG) beat Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) | 11-3, 18-16, 8-11, 11-9 | 67 mins


Former World Number 1 James Willstrop went up against Indian National Champion Mahesh Mangaonkar in today’s quarter-final match. Yesterday, Mangaonkar put up a brilliant performance against the second seed, Marwan Elshorbagy, who is within the World Top 10. Willstrop took the early advantage in this match and took the first game without allowing Mangaonkar any leads.

However, the second game was much close, with Mangaonkar not only keeping up with Willstrop, but also drew level with Willstrop at 10 all. It was a bit of a marathon game, as neither was willing to let go. Unforced errors from both players and a some tense strokes saw the score go up to 16 all before Willstrop’s superior stroke play came into play. He attacked at just the right moments to take the final two points in a row and take the game, giving himself a two set advantage.

However, Mangaonkar was far from done. He fought hard and kept himself in the lead in the third game, and it paid off as he managed to hold off the end of the match and threaten Willstrop’s win.

But Willstrop just showed what makes him the player his. Precision to the point of disbelief and getting to the T every time ensured that Willstrop won the big points. He won the game and the match, earning a semi final spot against Fares Dessouky in tomorrow’s semi final.

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