Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0 Mazen Hesham (EGY) 11-4, 11-8, 11-7 (42m)
An interesting match I thought for two different things. One. If the first game was short and sweet, 5 errors from Mazen while Ali was completely in control in his mid pace squash, the second was pretty interesting because Mazen was able to stay in the rallies, in the pace, in the length of rallies imposed by the World number 1. Mazen a few years ago, would have gone for his shot after 3 hit.
Second fact, it was interesting to see Ali opening his game to fantasy and improvisation. I wish he would put a bit more of that. OK, the fact that Mazen opened the court a lot helped in the third, but it was truly and actually a joy to see Ali, normally so straight and disciplined and clinical, to just go wild and improvise as a junior… Loved it to bits
That second was interesting in the sense it was nearly an English style squash, long rallies, lengths, gruelling and attritional. Mazen was up 7-3, but Ali dwells in that pace/style and he pushed his opponent to make a few errors, and soon we were back at 8/8. A superbly fast and intense rally at that point that cuts the legs of the Falcon, and it’s 11/8 on a tin for Ali, a long 19m game!
Last game, very fast like I said, very opened, brilliant, entertaining, although the score seems one sided, 7-1, 9-3. Mazen will save 3 match balls in a superb fashion, to finally bow on the last one, 11/7, 11m. We missed you Mazen….
“When you play with Mazen you don’t want to get into his shot making game plan. But at the same time when you put him in the back two corners then you are being passive with your movement, he kills you. I lost this balance in the second because of him, not being of my energy or anything. He forced me to hit it to the back two corners with his deep hitting. When I was 7-3 down, I thought at least put some work into his legs and if it doesn’t pay off by winning the game then it will at least pay off as the match goes on.
“All draws are tough, but to draw Omar Mosaad in the first round and then Mazen in the second it is probably one of the toughest draws you can get at the moment. To be through is a great feeling, but to be through in three is obviously a huge bonus.
“I played Daryl last week at the U.S. Open and he has got so much experience under his belt and he knows how to mix the pace really well. Thankfully I have a day off tomorrow and hopefully I will rest up and be ready for Tuesday.”