By Sports Reporter
World No 9 Mostafa Asal entered the semi-finals of the Qatar QTerminals Classic after outlasting compatriot Tarek Momen in a 114-minute battle at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex on Thursday.
The pair were meeting again just 15 days after their titanic duel in the final of the US Open, one which saw Asal come from two games down to defeat Momen and claim his maiden Platinum level title on the PSA World Tour.
Once again it was World No 4 Momen, who got off to the fast start, winning the first game 11-4. He then had his chances in the second game, but Asal took it 12-10 to level the contest up at one game apiece. The match started to hot up in the third game, with more stoppages and refereeing decisions breaking play up, but Asal kept his head and he took the third before holding a 10-6 lead in the fourth game.
Momen was able to save four match balls to take the fourth game into a tie-break but on the next point, a collision between the two saw both men down on the court floor. ‘The Viper’ required treatment, but after a 25-minute delay, he returned to court, aiming to send the match into a fifth. Asal, though, was able to eventually get over the line, with the clock showing 114 minutes as the match time. He won out 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12, 11-4 to secure his semi-final spot, where he will face New Zealand’s World No 3 Paul Coll.
“I’m glad to move through and I’m very pleased with my performance today. At the beginning I wasn’t playing my best squash, but then I started to play the squash I played at the US Open. I’m getting better and better,” said Asal.
Coll also came through his quarter-final contest in five games, in an absorbing clash with Egypt’s World No 15 Mohamed Abouelghar, with the Kiwi having to win the last two games to advance to the last four.
Coll started strongly, winning the first game without breaking sweat, but Abouelghar fought back in the second, and showed the fluid squash that took him inside the world’s top ten a couple of years ago.
The Egyptian then held on to take the third game as well, before then leading 10-8 in the fourth. However, he was unable to get across the finishing line, with the Kiwi saving two match balls, before then taking the tie-break 12-10. Coll was able to outlast the Egyptian in the decider to take the victory after 93 minutes of encapsulating squash, and make it into the semis in Qatar once again.
“It was an enjoyable match to be a part of and it was high quality,” the Kiwi said. “It’s a lot more enjoyable when it comes down to good, quality squash. I know he’s a fair player and it was a really enjoyable match, it’s what I play squash for. I’ve got a little one-second rule where I take time, slow everything down, slow my heart rate and my thoughts down because it could easily have run away from me there. It was all about calming down and not panicking.”
The other semi-final will see Peru’s World No 8 Diego Elias and Welshman Joel Makin face off for a spot in the final, after they got the better of Germany’s Raphael Kandra and Egypt’s Mazen Hesham, respectively.
 Joel Makin (WAL) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-3;  Diego Elias (PER) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 11-1;  Mostafa Asal (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 12-14, 11-4;  Paul Coll (NZL) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 4-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8
Semi-finals lineup:  Joel Makin (WAL) v  Diego Elias (PER);  Mostafa Asal (EGY) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
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