R2 : Men’s second batch

Seeds start to fall as Eain Yow Ng downs Asal, SJ Khan beats an injured Dessouky, joining Mohamed ElShorbagy and Tarek Momen in the last 16

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 Baptiste Masotti (Fra)    11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (33m)
Shahjahan Khan (Usa) 3-2 [7] Fares Dessouky (Egy)    10-12, 9-11, 12-10, 4-1 rtd (35m)
[9/16] Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 3-0 [8] Mostafa Asal (Egy)    11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (50m)
[3] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-1 Youssef Soliman (Egy)    5-11, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (42m)

A tremendous win for Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng, the 2016 World Junior Champion taking out the fast rising Mostafa Asal – the two time WJ champ who won his second title in Malaysia – in straight games.  A second seed fell as Fares Dessouky was forced to retire injured against USA’s Shahjahan Khan, but no real concerns for top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy who despatched Baptitse Masotti in straight games, while third seed Tarek Momen recovered from a game down to beat compatriot Youssef Soliman.

Eain Yow : Even though my team and myself believed I could do it, I know that everyone believed he would be the winner. He is playing the best squash in the last few months. The way he was playing is the top of the top of our game. So I had to believe in myself. And today, I believed in myself.

And that is the biggest difference this season. I actually believe in myself. I’m not afraid to play anyone. I believe that, I can beat anyone on the day. And that’s the difference, the gain in confidence in my own game. I just did my job.

I want to keep my tactics quiet but the main thing was to stay calm, staying focused. Just focus and play my squash. I did that, and the result shows.

To be honest, I don’t know where I’m playing, I didn’t look that far. I’m playing Miguel, Last time we play, we had a 100-minute match. This time I’m a little bit fresher in than last time, so looking forward to it.

A sad ending again for Fares. After months and months suffering from a knee injury, for a few months now, it’s the back that has been troubling him. He couldn’t defend his chances in his last tow events, and unfortunately this time again, he couldn’t finish the match after being receiving cold treatment on the back between the 3rd and 4th game.

Shah : I just run run run and run. He had issues before the match as well. I didn’t see it at the start but as the match went along, I realised something was wrong. I tried to move him around just to expose his movement, it’s a shame that the match had to end that way as he is a great player.

Tactically, I just stayed in the rallies. Once you know that your opponent is struggling with something, I was just trying not to make any errors and move him around. Nothing crazy, nothing extraordinary.

Tomorrow, I’m playing Zahed on the backcourts. Never played him before, very excited. Coming to the tournament, I had a good mindset, everything had lined up, it’s working well so far.

Mohamed : After I beat Joel in Chicago, I said in my interview that I didn’t want to play him anymore, because I played him 3 tournaments in a row. And the next day, they send the British Open draw and I have him first round.

And then I play Baptiste in the British Open, and the end, he tells me that he doesn’t want to play me for the rest of the season, and a week later, we get to play here first round!

Every time we played he got closer and closer, but I’m learning as well how to play him. I don’t think he played as well this time as he did the other times. He made a lot of errors, I felt he was losing his head a little bit in the match. The more he is doing against me, the more he is going to expect of himself. And of course, I knew that.

So I played a bit differently because I knew that he was going to expect more of himself. I kind of wanted him to go for it, because the other times when he went for it, it always paid off because there was no expectations. But when there is expectations, you are going to make errors.

I kind of gave him the shots to go for them this time. It’s just a bit of experience here and there. But he knows how much I rate him, how much I think he is a quality player. We have so much respect for each other. It’s one of those matches he’s going to go back and learn a lot from. And same from me, because I learned from a single match.

When you get into a tournament with a tricky mental game like that, it’s good for you because it gets you right into the tournament. Can’t wait to play on the glass tomorrow.

I’m playing Hammamy, I never played him before actually. I watched his world junior final against Fares. He then went to the American University in Cairo which is one of the toughest you know. So he didn’t play on tour as much as he would have wanted, after he won his world junior title.

But he is back now, full time, he is playing well, he played such a good match against my brother in Blackball, before he got injured he got so close he was 2/1up. And here he beat Greg Lobban, you are not going to beat Greg Lobban unless you are a great player you know, especially in 5, he would have to outclass him physically. He is like a Speedy Gonzales on court, he is so fast, he’s got a very unorthodox technique, but it works for him, and that makes a tricky player to play. Going to have to watch a lot of his matches before I play him. Looking forward to play another Egyptian really…

Tarek : Me losing the first game, that’s normal! At the end of the day I’m playing a very good player. He had a much better start than me, and I made far too many errors in the first game especially as it’s been two months since I played an event.

I was trying to prepare mentally to start sharp but I’m not that surprised it happened. But then again, I’m very pleased and proud of the way I turned things around because from the second game on, my game was on point. I made very little errors for the rest of the three games, which is something I’m very happy with. I executed my plan pretty well, I managed to get a huge lead in every game.

And he would push at end of the games, clawed his way back in probably the 3rd, but I retained my focus, I didn’t lose any streak of points with silly errors. So that’s something I ‘m happy to carry forward for the next match.

Obviously deciding not to play the British has its reasons, I had decided to spend time with my family, it’s something I haven’t regretted. And also it works well for me because it gave me an indication of a season ending, and a new season beginning. I managed to get two months off, giving me enough time to recover mentally, and then start fresh with a new season.

Whereas a few other players will feel that at the end of this year will feel that they have been playing for too long. It worked for me, it wasn’t intended like that but actually it worked well.

Tomorrow I’m playing Iker I played him recently so the plan is still fresh in my mind. He is playing well, had a couple of tough matches here, I’ll try as much as possible to start better tomorrow, and try to be sharp and fresh from the very beginning and we will see how it goes.