Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0 Mazen Hesham (EGY) 11-9, 12-10, 11-5 (35m)
I’m stunned at Tarek’s draw so far. Playing first Rafi Kandra, then Mazen Hesham is not an easy start to a major event, now is it! And especially, playing Amazing Mazen on a freezing cold court is not what you wish for!!!
Tarek seemed in control in the opener, 10/6, but did he become a bit negative, or did Mazen just let go of the arm? Nervous time for the Momen camp, as Mazen clawed back, but a ball he just cannot return at the back, and it’s 11/9 for the number 2 seed.
Mazen will hate himself for not taking the second, as he was leading the whole way, 3/1, 6/4, caught up at 6/6, ahead again, 9/6, 10/8. Feeling the danger, Tarek makes the rallies longer, pushing his opponent to attack from the wrong position, and it works. At 10/10, superb sportsmanship from Mazen who calls his shot out of court – the ref hadn’t… Tarek takes a crucial second game 12/10, 15m.
The third is a formality the mountain too high to climb, 6/1, 9/3, and 11/5 match on his first attempt, in 5m….
It was very close, with the first two games going down to the wire and you never know what could have happened if the score was reversed. I am very happy with the way I carried out my plan today. It is the best you can do against Mazen because sometimes he comes up with some unbelievable stuff that no matter what you plan for, you might as well cancel it immediately.
I just wanted to rely on the fact that with the same amount of unbelievable good shots, you might get a few errors, so I just wanted to stay consistent and hopefully weather out the storm. I am very happy to get off in three games, it is a real bonus.
When I was down in the second, I had to forget about the score and fight for every point. I just wanted to forget that I was down, and I had been in the situation plenty of times so I knew it was possible to come back from any score deficit. I just hung in there, and it was crucial to get that 2-0 lead, because otherwise, things could have gone a different way.
Playing Abdulla will be a treat really. We just had a very close one in the US a few weeks ago. And it will be the first time ever I’ll play here with the crowd not all being on my side! It will take a little getting used to it, I’ll make sure I stay focused on what’s happening on the court…