The match too far for Mostafa

[SF: 1] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1 Mostafa Asal (EGY) 11-3, 11-7, 12-14, 11-4 (72m)

Imagine that. Beating Simon Rosner, then James Willstrop – his role model – then Superman Coll in a controversial match, full of emotions, extreme physical strain… Today, he did what he could, and maybe against anybody else that Ali, he could have created yet another upset.

But tonight, Ali was ready. He just absorbed Mostafa’s energy and grinding his last resistance I felt….

First game, Mostafa was a bit flat – I wonder why… – and Ali never gave him a chance to get into the rallies, took his timing away, 11/3.

But the second saw Mostafa more pro-active, really up on the T, accepting the rallies and starting to put Ali a bit more under pressure, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6. A few tired errors at that point – and it’s 11/7 in 19m for the World number 2.

The third, what happens? Did Ali relax every so slightly? Or did Raging Bull just found his mental energy again, 5/1, caught up 6/6. 8/8, 9/9. The crowd is supporting each their man, and it’s a great atmosphere. A huge shout from the young man, he is finally awake fully bless him, and although it will take him a while, 4 game balls, he finally gets his game, 27m of so much hard work, and it’s 14/12, Ali not having a chance to close the match.

But the hard work, mental fatigue, hit suddenly the young man, 3/0, 6/2 and 11/4 in still 13m, Mostafa never said die. We knew he wouldn’t. A superb tournament for the former world junior champ, stopped by a solid Ali Farag. Great entertainment, thanks guys.

“Lots of friends, cousins and family are here, so I couldn’t be more proud to do that in front of them.

“I can’t stress enough how thankful we are to CIB, Amr Mansi, i-Events and the PSA. Obviously there are tough protocols they have to go through because of COVID-19 precautions and we’re super grateful to be here. I’m starting to enjoy myself again on court, I’m finding myself again, my character and my game plan.

“As you saw with Asal throughout the whole tournament, knocking three top players out to reach the semis, I must be very pleased with the way I played because whenever he has got a lead he is very good at holding onto it like we saw in the third. So I’m really happy that I started reading him well except for the third.

“My length hitting has gotten a lot better throughout the season. The World Tour Finals was a lot better than Manchester and here is better than the World Tour Finals, so hopefully it can only get better from here. Thanks to Karim Darwish and my brother, they were always insisting on playing deep into the back corners.

“It’s my main strength and I don’t have to be dragged into my opponent’s game plan. I can’t tell you how many times Karim and I have battled throughout the straight drives on both sides. He crushes me every time on the forehand, but I take pride on the backhand side.”