R3:  Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0 Cesar Salazar (Mex) 11-9, 11-8, 13-11 (38m)
Is there a different way to describe fast and furious than fast and furious? I used those adjectives to describe Saurav & Mazen’s encounter but to be honest, not sure how else to call it??
Look at the scoreline, and look at the length of the match. It’s obvious that they didn’t play an up and down the wall conservative and grinding match, did they. Pace was ridiculously high, Cesar was moving pretty amazingly, retrieving everything under the sun, but what made it special tonight was to see Tarek freedom.
Yes, he made a few too many errors in the last game, 7 to be precise, especially 5 between 2/1 and 2/6! But what’s important is how he dealt with it. If the Momenator can appear negative at times – yes, you do Tarek, sometimes – tonight, none of that.
Even after a big series of errors, he picked it up where he left off, and managed to close that third game, playing his shots, imposing his game, sparkling squash, champagne pour tout le monde… Important to save energy for the quarters and onwards if all goes well. It took saving a game ball and three match balls, but closing he did, 13m last game (first game 10m, second 12m).
Cesar, well, I was so glad to see him injury free and moving superbly well, taking the game to the front and flying Miguel-like all over the court. There is something superbly entertaining in the South American’s game… Can’t wait to see him perform again, maybe in Qatar?
“Coming off the World Tour Finals where I tried my best but I don’t think I did the best I could or performed the way I wanted, so to get the win today and two days ago against Fares. I felt like I am picking things up. I’m playing a lot better and I’m gaining more confidence day by day, so overall, I’m very pleased with my performance. I may have played a few errors but it’s tough to estimate with the wind is a bit difficult. You might play the right shot but a few centimetres off and the ball goes the wrong way, I think overall, I’m happy with the way that I played.
“It definitely helps when I play in my hometown and against foreign players. I’ve had this experience here and at the World Champs as well – I had a lot of Egyptian support and it made a difference. Overall I’m very happy to be playing at home and winning matches and I’m very pleased to be coming back after tomorrow.
“I’d have to tell junior players to make the most out of this experience. I did the same when I was a kid, all of us when we were kids used to come here by the Pyramids and watch our role models play. My advice to them is to make the most out of the experience and working hard and maybe in 10-15 years they will be playing here.”