Qatar Classic 2021. Tarek Momen advances to the Quarterfinals

Squash Emcee Andy Taylor. 2021 Qatar Classic. Match 39. Round 3. Tarek Momen def Tom Richards. Match Recap

Round of 16 recap from Squash Emcee Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Classic.

Since 2017, Andy Taylor has been the voice of the Qatar Classic Squash Championship. With his individual style and delivery, Andy writes and narrates each player’s introduction; highlighting career accomplishments, providing context for fans before each match. As tournament emcee, Andy also interviews the winners and hosts the trophy ceremony at the conclusion of the championship.

In addition to his role with the Qatar Squash Federation, Taylor also hosts Doha’s professional tennis events, the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and Qatar Total Open.

A voice acting veteran, Andy is best known as the Voice of the US Open in New York. There, he has spent the last 20-years shaping the sound of the tennis season’s final Grand Slam; enhancing the fan experience. Informing. Entertaining. Celebrating sport and its colorful cast of characters.

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Eighth meeting. Momen, unimpressed with self, gets it done in three.
[3] Tarek Momen -04- (EGY) | Round of 16 Emcee Introduction

The #3-seed – this 33-year-old World Champion is back in Doha; where this glass court has witnessed several of his greatest career accomplishments. In 2011, as a scrappy 23-year-old on the climb, he captured Arab Games Gold. Six years later, he reached his first PSA Platinum Final. And in 2019, he captured the biggest title of his career – defeating Diego Elias, Simon Rösner and Paul Coll to claim the sport’s most prestigious title: World Champion. Remarkably, he’s reached the Semifinals or Final in 14 of his last 15 Platinum events – including his first run to the US Open Final earlier this month in Philadelphia. Competing in his 13th Qatar Q-Terminals Classic, he’s back in the Round of 16 after an opening victory over 2005 champion James Willstrop. From Egypt, please welcome 2017 Doha Finalist and 2019 World Champion – Tarek “the Viper” Momen.

  • R3 — W — Tom Richards -41- (ENG) | Score: 13-11, 13-11, 11-5 (29m)
  • R2 — W — James Willstrop -31- (ENG) | Score: 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (38m) | RECAP
  • R1 — BYE
  • Since his first PSA Platinum Final at the 2017 Qatar Q-Terminals Classic, Tarek Momen has solidified his standing as one of the greatest talents in the modern game. Later that season, Momen cracked the PSA’s top-4 for the first time and never looked back
  • Since his run to the Semifinals of the 2018 Qatar Q-Terminals Classic, the Viper has reached the Semifinals or Finals in 14 of his last 15 PSA Platinum events; the only hipccup: An opening, Round-2 loss to Joel Makin at the 2019 Egyptian Open in Giza
  • Now that he’s a World Champion, there’s really only one nagging accomplishment that eludes him – Momen still has yet to capture a Platinum title
  • Last season, he fell short against Ali Farag in the Egyptian Open Final
  • Earlier this month at the US Open, Mostafa Asal saved match ball in the fourth and won the title in a decider
  • The #3-seed in this year’s draw, its looking like Tarek will face Asal again in the Quarterfinals. Shold he prevail, he’ll most likely face British Open champion Paul Coll – who defeated Momen in the Semifianls of last season’s El Gouna International
  • No question, The Viper’s tremendous Platinum run will be tested this week in Doha
Tom Richards -41- (ENG) | Round of 16 Emcee Introduction

Competing in just his 5th event since surgically enhancing his knee last May; on Sunday, this 35-year-old won his first match victory in 7-months – defeating Shahjahan Khan in Round-1. Then, in Monday’s 2nd-Round, he knocked-out Lucas Serme; earning back-to-back victories at a Major for the first time since his Round of 16 run at the 2020 Tournament of Champions. Now a 17-year Tour veteran, he’s been ranked as high as World #12, owns 6 PSA titles in all; and tonight, is hungry for the upset, determined to reach the Quarterfinals of a PSA Platinum event for the first time. Back inside the glass in Doha, where he made his debut Platinum Round of 16 run 3-years-ago – From England, please welcome Tom Richards.

  • R3 — L — [3] Tarek Momen -04- (EGY) | Score: 11-13, 11-13, 5-11 (29m)
  • R2 — W — Lucas Serme -39- (FRA) | Score: 12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9 (54m) | RECAP
  • R1 — W — Shahjahan Khan -40- (USA) | Score: 14-12, 11-5, 11-5 (41m) | RECAP
  • Tom’s first Platinum Round of 16 run happened here in Doha 3-years-ago; he took out Mohamed Reda and Ryan Cuskelly, before falling to Simon Rösner. He’s earned two more Final-16 Platinum runs since that Doha breakthrough: 2018 Hong Kong and 2020 Tournament of Champions
  • When the pandemic shutdown hit in March of 2020, Richard was positioned just inside the PSA’s top-30; however, he had spent most of the season struggling to string together successive victories. Even during Premier League play, he was losing tough, deciding-game battles
  • The one bright spot shone at the Tournament of Champions, where Tom reached the Round of 16 at a Platinum event for the third time – defeating Karim El Hammamy and Leo Au, before falling to Paul Coll
  • With squash on hold from April to September, Tom’s ranking fell back to the mid-30’s for the first time in 2-years
  • Since play finally resumed in September of 2020, Tom has gone 3-11, with Round-1 victories at the Egyptian Open (Auguste Dussourd), Qatar Classic (Nathan Lake) and Black Ball Open (Edmon Lopez)
  • Complicating things – Tom had knee surgery following the Black Ball Open, and was out from April through August. Before this week, Richards remained winless since his Round-1 triumph over Lopez last March in Cairo
  • But there’s obvious progress. In Manchester and the British Open, he lasted only 30-minutes. At the US Open, he went four games with Vikram Malhotra. And last week in Cleveland at the Skating Club Open, he battled well over an hour with Nathan Lake, losing 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 12-14 (72m)
  • Here in Doha, the back-to-back wins over Khan and Serme were a good sign. Not to mention, he pushed the World #4 to a pair of tiebreaks before falling the the third. Impressive.

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Squash Emcee Andy Taylor. Qatar Classic 2020. Champions in Doha 1992 to Today

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For nearly three decades, the Qatar Squash Federation has hosted the sport’s elite at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. Originally coined the Qatar International, Pakistan’s Jansher Khan captured the first five Doha titles from 1992 to 1996. Canada’s Jonathan Power then won back-to-back Doha titles over Scotland’s Peter Nichol; earning triumphs at the 1997 Qatar International and the 1998 World Championship.

Enter the Qatar Classic Squash Championship

After a two year absence, professional squash returned to Doha in 2001. Rebranded the Qatar Classic, Peter Nichol – now representing England – again reached back-to-back Doha Finals. This time, he captured the first two Qatar Classic titles over Australia’s David Palmer. England’s Lee Beachill and James Willstrop won the next two Qatar Classic titles, before Egypt began its outright Doha dominance.

In fact, since Ramy Ashour became the first Egyptian Doha champion at the 2006 Qatar Classic; the Arab nation has won 13 of the last 15 Doha titles, including three World Championships. Alexandria’s Mohamed Elshorbagy – the only 3-time Qatar Classic Champion – reached a record six consecutive finals on this court between 2012 and 2017. Most recently, Ali Farag won back-to-back Qatar Classic titles in 2018 and 2020. Unfortunately, the World #1 won’t be back in Doha this year to defend the title.

Professional Squash and COVID-19

Like every international sport, the recent global pandemic has created tremendous challenges for squash events worldwide. Due to COVID’s insidious spread, the 2019-20 season ended abruptly in March; immediately following Mohamed Elshorbagy’s victory at the 2020 Canary Wharf Classic.

Without fans, the sport launched its return six months later in Manchester – another Elshorbagy triumph. However, with global cases hitting a second surge, all events in the United Kingdom, United States and Asia were shuttered. The 2020-2021 season was in peril. At the time, as a U.S. resident, Andy Taylor made the difficult decision to suspend all international travel. Reluctantly, he stepped away from his role as emcee at the 2020 Qatar Classic.

Saviors. The Qatar Squash Federation and CIB’s CEO Hussein Abaza of Egypt

Over the next 10-months, Qatar and Egypt were the only two nations to host PSA Platinum events. Without the U.S. Open. Hong Kong Open. New York’s Tournament of Champions. The Windy City Open. And British Open — The sport needed bold and determined intervention.

Cautiously, the QSF moved forward with the Qatar Classic, providing a COVID safe bubble for players and crew. Meanwhile, Egypt’s Hussein Abaza went above and beyond. Remarkably, CIB’s CEO spearheaded two PSA World Tour Finals, the Egyptian Open, two Black Ball Opens and El Gouna International. From September to June, he funded six expensive, top-tier PSA events for both the men’s and women’s tours. Egypt became the hub of the sport – a safe place to compete while vaccinations took hold; while the world recovered.

Thankfully, since July, much of the globe has slowly opened back up. Chicago hosted the World Championships. Hull welcomed the sport’s elite for the British Open. Last month, it was only fitting that the 2021-22 season began in front of the pyramids at Giza. True to form, Egyptian rivals Ali Farag and Mohamed Elshorbagy headlined the event; delivering an exceptional 5-game Final, where Farag lifted his 9th Platinum trophy.

A Sport Back on Track, thanks to human compassion and ingenuity

After September’s Egyptian Open, the U.S. swing was also a tremendous success. From San Francisco to the US Open’s immaculate new Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia; fans responsibly returned, recently tested or fully vaccinated. All starved to once again see the best in the world compete inside the glass.

Now, squash returns to the Arab Gulf for the 17th Qatar Classic Squash Championship.

Thankfully, as global vaccinations continue their ascent, the new squash season is beginning to follow a familiar path. While the past 19-months have been dark, spotlighting the reality of human fragility; it has also been an epoch defined by compassion, resilience and hope. Squash, as a sport and lifestyle, embodies these traits.

When we choose to quiet the noise, steel our determination, and commit to selflessly work together toward collective good; ultimately toward survival — the darkness is no match for our blinding ingenuity.

No, the fight isn’t over. But we’ve hit some astonishing nicks, and continue to edge closer toward “match ball.”