World champion Tarek Momen pulled clear of the head-to-head stats against Wales’ Joel Makin with a gruelling 3-2 (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7) victory to book a place in the semi-finals of the Qatar Classic 2020 on Thursday.
The enthralling match was the fifth encounter between the pair, and until now, the advantage had been evenly divided between the World No. 3 Momen and the 10th-ranked Makin.
The 26-year-old Welshman had accounted for the first-round exit of Momen at the CIB PSA World Tour Finals in September – the last time they met.
Things were however different this time around with the 32-year-old Egyptian holding his nerve to draw ahead from 7-7 in the fifth game of the match which lasted 79 minutes.
“I really felt I didn’t play my best the last couple of times, but today I was a lot sharper,” Momen said in his post-match interview. “My shots were going in nicely a lot better than the two times before and yet I still barely won 3-2. All credit to him, he played a really good match and made it extremely tough. I thought I had some chances in the fourth game, I was 8-5 up, and I shouldn’t have squandered that lead. “I’m glad I kept my head in the game, I didn’t focus too much on what was going on movement-wise on court. I just tried to focus on my game plan, tried to make the least amount of errors possible and thankfully that’s what I did today.”
Speaking about playing in Qatar, Momen, a finalist here three years ago, said, “I’m always excited to play here, I love the court conditions and I think I play my best squash here because of the setup. I’m definitely looking forward to my match tomorrow. I’ll try to recover to the best of my ability so I can be prepared for a good match again.”