Top seed Omar Mosaad fought back from two games down to win a bruising semi-final against Spain’s Borja Golan in the Canary Wharf Classic squash tournament at East Wintergarden on Thursday (March 10).
Mosaad goes on to the final where he meets French No.3 seed Mathieu Castagnet, who won a tremendous battle against Australia’s Cameron Pilley.
The 6ft 4in tall Mosaad, known as the Hammer of Thor, finally wore down Golan to win 8-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 after 98 minutes of brutal combat.
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, 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.
In the fourth game Mosaad let slip an 8-5 lead and Golan was two points away from winning the match at 9-9. But 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.
After the match Mosaad said: “I’m feeling tired right now – when I lost the first two games I thought I had lost the match and I was already thinking about a flight home.
“But then I managed to get back into it and force it to 2-2 and I’m very happy that I managed to push through and reach my first Canary Wharf final.
“The important thing now is to rest and prepare as best as I can for the final tomorrow [Friday].”
Castagnet looked fresh throughout his duel with Pilley and finished strongly to win the deciding fourth game after Pilley had led 8-5 and held game ball at 10-8.
Castagnet said: “I was pushing so hard in that fourth to get to every ball because I knew going to a fifth game would be a nightmare.
“I was tiring and 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.
“I have been working so hard for 15 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. Omar will be a tough match. I will be preparing to play him at 100% and hopefully I can play well.”
Results and fixtures
Canary Wharf Squash Classic, East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London
1 Omar Mosaad (Egypt) beat (8) Borja Golan (Spain)
8-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5 (98 mins)
(3) Mathieu Castagnet (France) beat (6) Cameron Pilley (Australia)
11-9, 11-13, 11-1, 13-11 (87 mins)
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