Day 4. Quarterfinals. Tarek Momen

Andy Taylor. Emcee. Qatar Classic Squash Championship. Day 4. Quarterfinals. Tarek Momen

Emcee. Andy Taylor. Qatar Classic 2017

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[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) def [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) 11-5 9-11 11-7 11-6 (43-min)

In nine career meetings, Tarek Momen had only defeated Nick Matthew twice. Two years ago, The Viper stunned The Wolf in the Quarterfinals of the PSA World Championship. Tarek also won their first career meeting on this very court 6-years-ago, in the Round of 16 at the 2011 Qatar Classic…

Momen pulled from those two victories tonight to earn the upset again, dealing Nick Matthew a loss in his final career match in Qatar.

I’m very happy that I managed to get the win. I’m having a flash back the first time I beat Nick here in 2011. He was world number 1 at the time, and I was outside the top 20. It was a huge deal for me…

Tarek Momen. Consistency Defined

At 29-years-old, Momen owns 4 PSA Tour titles – his last coming three years ago in Macau. A consistent Quarterfinalist, he’s kept his ranking inside the top-15 for 61 consecutive months. That makes all the difference in maintaining one’s match and recovery routine, avoiding the additional endurance needed to qualify for main draws. Last season, his consistency earned him three Finals appearances. In February, he won the Cambridge Cup, defeating Gregory Gaultier to reach the championship match.

He’s insanely talented, remarkably fit, and dangerous when the planets align. Competing in his 10th Qatar Classic, it’s safe to say, this week the planets have cued up like soldiers.

Tarek Momen’s Road to the Quarterfinals
Nick Matthew’s Road to the Quarterfinals

At 37-years-old, this is Nick Matthew’s final season on tour. A two-time Finalist in Doha, he captured the Qatar Classic title in 2009 with a 3-game win over Karim Darwish. In 2013, he fell in five to Mohamed Elshorbagy. On Monday, he squandered a two game lead over Raphael Kandra, before “winning ugly” (his words) in the decider. Yesterday, he was an absolute soul-crusher, wielding precision and experience, crushing Mathieu Castagnet in three.

The Wolf’s Final Season

The man is a living squash legend; one of the most consistent and accomplished talents ever to grace the glass court. He’s a 3-time PSA World Champion, a 3-time Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, owns 35 PSA Tour titles, and has reached a remarkable 75 career Finals. He’s held the World #1 ranking for a combined 19-months, and since June of 2010, has been ranked inside the top-5 for an astounding 8-years and 4-months. Last February, he won his 6th consecutive and 9th British National Championship; and 11-years-ago, became the first Englishman to win the British Open in 67-years. He’s appeared in the Finals of PSA World Series events 36-times, and owns 15 PSA World Series titles. In his 13th and final Qatar Classic Squash Championship, he was determined to leave it all on the court for fans in Doha…and that he did.

Momentous Momen Does it Again

The first time Tarek ever played Nick Matthew was right here in Doha. At the time, Momen was 23-years-old, ranked outside the top-20, and won the Round of 16 match in just 44-minutes (11-9, 12-10, 11-8). Tonight, he needed 4-games, 43-minutes, and every tool in his arsenal.

In the first, Momen was pumped. The pro-Egyptian crowd was loud and hungry for a win. Fans started the day with an epic clash between Egyptians Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag, but they had just sat through Marwan ElShorbagy’s loss to Simon Rösner. They demanded redemption. When Tarek took game-1 in just 7-minutes, they got even louder.

Nick Matthew is a competitor. Cheering against him simply stokes the flames. In the second, the 3-time World Champion found his legs. Both held pace through the entire 11-minutes, before Matthew won it on a stroke call. It was a now a best of three.

In the third, Nick dominated early. Up 6-1 – winners dropping with ease – Matthew looked unstoppable. But somehow Momen completely flipped the tables, and went on a tear of his own. He leveled the game at 6-all, allowed Nick one final point, then won five straight to gain the edge. It was an insane turn-around.

Momen’s momentum carried into the fourth. Confident and steady, he got surgical with the drop-shot, picking apart one of the greatest to ever play the game. The Egyptian fans were out of their minds. In 6-minutes, Tarek earned the win on his third match ball, advancing to his second career World Series Semifinal. (FULL MATCH RECAP)

Rösner Next

Tomorrow, he’ll face the resurgent Simon Rösner – both hoping the reach their first Final at a PSA World Series event.

Tarek Momen: I’m expecting a huge battle against Simon, I can’t believe we’re both playing in the semi-finals tomorrow. Simon has been trying to get to this stage for a long time and I’m happy for him because he has been working so hard and he has been very unfortunate a few times. For me, it’s back to the semi-finals after a three-year drought. The last one I was in was in Hong Kong and I beat Simon to get there, so I’m hoping for a good win tomorrow and maybe I’ll get through to my first ever World Series final.

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