TODAY

• Canary Wharf Squash Classic • 7th to 11th March 2016 • London •  

 TODAY at the Canary Wharf Squash Classic 2016

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Thu 10th Mar, Day SIX, Semi-Finals:
Last four in East Wintergarden

[1] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-2 [8] Borja Golan (Esp)
                 8/11, 11/13, 11/6, 11/9, 11/5 (96m)

[3] Mathieu Castagnet
(Fra) 3-2 [6] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
                 11/9, 11/13, 11/1, 13/11 (87m)

Mosaad and Castagnet survive marathons

Top seeded Egyptian Omar Mosaad and French third seed Mathieu Castagnet will contest the final of the 13th Canary Wharf Classic after both survived marathon semi-finals at East Wintergarden.

Mosaad came from two games down to deny Spain's Borja Golan in 96 minutes, while Castagnet saved three game balls in the fourth against Australian Cameron Pilley to close out the match in four games and 87 minutes.

Full reports and quotes below ...

Before the match, I spoke with my coaches, my brother, Islam and Shabana, and they told me that I had to move quickly to the front. And it worked, but at 7/4 up in the first game, I lost concentration, and he played really well, straight drives and nice shots, and I lost the game.

I thought, it’s ok, just take it back, and again I was up in the 2nd, 7/3 I think, again I feel I lost focused, a bit tired from yesterday maybe, mentally, and he came back. Still it was close, point for point at the end. At 9/9, my shot was called not up, but it was ok, I still saved the game ball, I had a game ball of my own, but I couldn’t transform it, he just played too well.

I was so tired after losing the second, I thought Ok, might as well give it all now, a big push, finish with a bang kind of thing! And I couldn’t find my squash 100%, but it was better.

You know, it was hard, because Borja’s movement on court is so good and his length is so accurate… I was really happy to win that game.

And I didn’t want to lose 3/1. I thought, ok, you lose in 5. But not in 4! I got in the 4th, I was more positive, in particular on the volley. And I was lucky in the 5th, I took a very good start, I was up 2/0, and thought that’s it, I’ve won!

I relaxed, tins and found myself 2/3 down. From that moment on I just focused on point per point, and not thinking about wining or the final. Just point after point.

I think I did a good job today on this match, and on this tournament, because I had hard matches from the start. Now, time to relax, only one more match to win this one, I hope to take the title for the first time in my life…


[1] Omar Mosaad (Egy) 3-2 [8] Borja Golan (Esp)
              8/11, 11/13, 11/6, 11/9, 11/5 (96m)

Mosaad fights back
Alan Thatcher reports

Top seed Omar Mosaad fought back from two games down to win a bruising semi-final against Spain's Borja Golan.

The 6ft 4in tall Mosaad, known as the Hammer of Thor, finally won after 90+ minutes of brutal combat on court.

In a match with more than 50 decisions from referee John Massarella, Mosaad finished the stronger of the two players, despite a punishing recent schedule that has included finishing runner-up in Colombia and reaching the semi-finals in Chicago.

With the temperature inside the East Wintergarden slightly cooler than in previous evenings this week, Mosaad struggled to find his normal length.

Golan played inspired squash, was faster around the front of the court, but ultimately caused his own undoing by losing his focus and spending too much time in debates with the referee.

He was warned about delaying the serve, received a conduct warning, and finally a conduct stroke as Massarella lost patience with the endless stoppages.

Mosaad made a number of errors early in the match, some caused by Golan's tight play and others totally unforced.

Golan closed out the first game from 8-8, and held his nerve to win the second 13-11. From 5-5 in the third, Mosaad strung together a dominant phase to win it 11-6.

The tables were turning but in the fourth Mosaad let slip an 8-5 lead and Golan was two points away from winning the match at 9-9. This time Mosaad finished the game with purpose and precision to take it 11-9.

In the fifth, Mosaad moved ahead from 4-4 as Golan's outbursts grew more frequent and the tall Egyptian closed out the match with a six-point cushion.
 

Mosaad, Clinical, Borja, Emotional
Fram reports

Without conflict there is no drama. And drama, there was pletore in that first 98m semi final between a player that hardly said a word, and another one that said plenty. You need contrasting characters on the Tour. And Mosaad – AKA the Hammer of Thor – and Borja – El Toro, are certainly that. Contrasting. Fireworks and Ice. The audience loved it.

To have spoken with Omar in Chicago, I knew how exhausted he was arriving here, and again yesterday, courtesy of Mr Daryl Selby, who forced the Egyptian to go deep into his tank to get some fuel and finish the match 3/2. And when I saw Borja playing as well as he did against Nick in Chicago in the first two games, my money was all on the Spaniard.

Borja played superb squash, both on the court and in the game plan tonight. Aware of how tired Mosaad must have been after his massive semi, he played long rallies, accurate squash, varying height and angles but most of all, using Mosaad’s power to counterdrop beautifully. He takes the first game in 22 long minutes, 11/8, and the second one 13/11 in 20m on his second attempt, against a very focused Omar that no error in that second game…

It looks all over honestly. I can see how dark/tired Omar’s eyes look and despite Yathreb Adel support and advice after the loss of the second game, Omar sees himself on the plane back to Cairo…

But the third sees the Egyptian taking the lead rather rapidly, 2/0. Very close then 2/2, 4/4, 5/5, with Omar zooming to take the game in 12m, Borja looking not as disciplined in that game he was in the first two.

The fourth, well, seems to go to the Egyptian, 8/5, with our Borja getting more and more intense with his interaction with the official and getting frustrated with Omar’s movement. Still, he wants that 4th, and gives it a big push, 8/8. 9/9. A difficult decision that sees John Masseralla “ask a friend” the new feature from PSA which allows the ref to ask the advice of the video ref when usure. No let against Borja, 10/9 and out the ball goes, that’s 11/9 in 17m, and we are back at 2/2…=

In the 5th, Mosaad is now clinical, feeling how fragile Borja has become, getting more and more involved in discussions, getting louder to himself, his frustration becoming his worst enemy. Still, the game is as close at it comes, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4. An enormous rally, ending by a no let, and Omar capitalise, scoring five points in a row.

As he tries and calms himself down before Mosaad serve, Borja takes more and more time to receive the serve, gets warns several times to finally get penalise with a conduct stroke for time wasting at a crucial pivotal time in the decider: 7/4, that becomes 8/4. Mosaad goes for the kill, 11/5 in 15m…

98m, 51 decisions. Intense, Dramatic, Powerful match. The crowd salutes the huge effort from the Egyptian coming back from 2/0 down, who discreetly, thanks his coach on that occasion, Yathreb who didn’t do too bad tonight…

[3] Mathieu Castagnet (Fra) 3-2 [6] Cameron Pilley (Aus)
                 11/9, 11/13, 11/1, 13/11 (87m)

Castagnet holds off Pilley fightback
Alan Thatcher reports

Mathieu Castagnet survived a brutal duel with the tall, hard-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilleyl, but the French third seed looked fresh throughout and finished strongly to win the deciding fourth game after Pilley had led 8-5 and held game ball at 10-8.

Earlier, Castagnet had dominated the opening game before Pilley responded positively in the second, scraping it 13-11 after holding game ball at 10-8.

Pilley loves to play with enormous pace, but perhaps Castagnet’s speed around the court was the more significant factor.

He ripped through the third game 11-1 as Pilley took a breather and refused to give up in the fourth when the Australian must have thought he had done enough to take the match to five.

After 87 minutes, Castagnet clinched victory without needing to dive once. He must be saving it up for the final.

I am feeling so good right now. He's such a great player and it was very stressful tonight.

There are a few parameters to handle today, first the pressure I put on myself, as I had a chance to win and get to the final, then the delay, we had to wait an awful long time in the players’ lounge and I got pretty tired, and also the fact the crowd was a bit on his side really, all those elements were playing on my mind. Add to that you just do not know where the ball is going, if he is going to hit it short, or fast, or lob it… And you have a little of chance on top, a few calls here and there.. it all amount to win or lose…

The third game was good for me - I was pushing very hard.

One very important thing. He is not the same player I played 6 months ago. Before, he would sort of give up physically, and that’s what I was expecting in the 4th? I was expecting him to fold it and give me the game. Well, it was quite the opposite. Which proves that at 33, you can still improve your game, and that’s a fact. I know I raised my game, I play faster and more accurately. And yet, it’s as tough as it was before, maybe even harder. Because he raised his game too.

I was pushing so hard in that fourth to get to every ball because I knew that he's so skilled with the racket that the fifth game would have been very difficult. I stayed focused and tried to replicate what I did in the second game to save that one.

My fighting spirit definitely helped me tonight and I'm very happy to get through to the final.

Tomorrow I know Omar will be a tough match. He has so much experience and I remember a match in Hong Kong last year when he was 2-0 down and saved five or six match balls to win so I will be preparing to play him at 100 per cent and hopefully I can play well.

I have been working so hard for fifteen years and to reach the Canary Wharf Classic final is a great achievement - so many strong players have won the title here and I will be pushing so hard to join them tomorrow.

At the start of the third game, I kept the same pace and level, whereas Mathieu raised his pace and accuracy. At 6/1, it was a 50/50 decision, should I push and try and get it back or should I let it go and try and save energy for the 4th. I didn’t made up my mind, but then he took two more points, and I let it go. It was the right decision, I think. I didn’t like doing it, but it was the right decision.

It was a weird end, 20m hard game, and then 3 points in 30seconds, and it’s all over. A bit of an anti climax. I will want to watch the replay, because at 10/8 up, I’m not sure what happened. My initial thought is that I didn’t take the initiative. And at the end of the game, you have to be positive and take the initiative, and not wait for something to happen.

Mathieu is such a good retriever, you take your eyes off the fact he can cut the ball very well. And he’s got a very good reach for not such a tall person. I was happy with my crosscourt lob, but at crucial times, he took me off guard. And he played that end of the 4th very well, squeezing a few winners and strokes…

Photos by SquashPics.com - more in the Gallery

Earlier Rounds :


Quarter-Finals - full reports


11 Points with ...


Round One -

Bottom Half


Round One -

Top Half

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