[5] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 3-1 Victor Crouin 11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8 (48m)




Victor Crouin 3-1 [6] Tarek Momen (Egy) 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10 (68m)

In the first semi-final, which began with a minute’s silence in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, World No.18 Crouin produced another incredible performance as he shocked No.6 seed Tarek Momen to reach his first ever Platinum-level final.

Crouin, who last night reached his first Platinum-level semi-final by knocking out Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in straight games, looked confident from the beginning as he made an aggressive start. This was countered well by Momen, with the 34-year-old exposing Crouin’s movement and capitalising on a spell of poor shot selection from the Frenchman to open up an 8-5 lead.

Crouin, however, then rediscovered the tidy, organised squash that took him to this stage and pulled back to 8-8 before taking the first game 11-9 with a terrific winner.

The 23-year-old maintained this momentum in the second game and stormed into an 8-4 lead. Momen began to fight back and narrowed the gap to just one point at 8-7, before the outstanding Crouin pulled away to take a 2-0 lead with an 11-7 win.

Leading 3-0 in the third, Crouin appeared to be cruising into a maiden Platinum final. Momen, however, is no stranger to overcoming adversity. The Egyptian, who twice came from behind on his way to the final here in 2019, fought back well after returning from an injury break at 4-2 down and rattled off eight quick points to move 10-4 up.

Crouin saved one game ball, but could not prevent the energised Momen wedging a foot in the door as the No.6 seed took an 11-5 win that only minutes ago seemed extremely unlikely. After Crouin requested a new ball for game four, the Frenchman looked back to his best and went 8-4 up, with the 23-year-old reaping rewards from his precise volleys at the front.

Crouin then had a golden opportunity to reach his first Platinum final when he had four match balls at 10-6 up. Incredibly, Momen saved all four, with the Egyptian forcing a tie break after showing brilliant movement and mental fortitude.

The World No.18, though, then marshalled his nerves excellently and went 11-10 up after an enthralling rally before sealing the match with a bitterly contested ‘no let’ decision by the video referee.

“There have been too many speeches this week! I’m not used to speaking so much!” Crouin said afterwards. “It feels like everything’s fitting into place. Today I felt like I wasn’t as good as in previous days and I hit the tin a little more, but that’s probably because Tarek was putting a lot of pressure on me. I kept telling myself to be proactive and aggressive, because that’s how you win rallies. I’m just enjoying it on court. Not overthinking, just hitting my targets and it’s working. One more push tomorrow.”

Quarts de Finale

Victor Crouin 3-0 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)  13-11, 11-6, 11-7 (40m)

Victor Crouin’s superb run in Doha continued as he reached his first ever Platinum-level semi-final with a 3-0 win over Qatar No.1 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi to break home hearts in the QTerminals Qatar Classic.

In a rollercoaster opening game – something of a hallmark of the maverick Al Tamimi – Crouin took a 4-0 lead before the Qatari reeled off a number of winners to go 5-4 up.

Crouin, who less than two weeks ago reached the final of the Bronze-level CIB Zed Squash Open, then took advantage of a number of Al Tamimi errors before the Qatar No.1 pulled level again at 9-9. Crouin went game ball up at 10-9 only for Al Tamimi to save it and then himself go game ball up at 11-10.

The Frenchman, however, dug in well and successfully defended the game ball before converting his own to take the first game 13-11.

Crouin dominated the second game after stifling a mini comeback from the World No.44. The 23-year-old, whose disciplined gameplan sought to limit the attacking weaponry of Al Tamimi by frequently lobbing to the back while being unafraid of going on the attack when opportunities presented themselves, was in immaculate form as he silenced the home crowd with a victory to take a 2-0 lead.

The World No.18 continued to look calm and tidy on court in the third game, with few errors coming from his racket as he forced Al Tamimi into low-percentage efforts.

Although the Qatar No.1 was able to narrow the deficit from 9-4 to 9-6, Crouin then responded and had four match balls at 10-6.

An excellent shot to the back saved one of those, before Crouin sealed a semi-final showdown with Tarek Momen with a deserved 11-7 win.

Afterwards, a delighted Crouin said: “Beating Abdulla here in Qatar, I remember I looked at my notes and we played a 50K six years ago and lost in less than 25 minutes, so I was kind of worried going into this match, I just wanted to play for more than half an hour!

“I feel like I came in really strong and used that momentum for the rest of the match.

“If you’re not disciplined against Abdulla and try to play the way he plays, he’s going to beat you. I had to use my strength and aggressiveness that I used in the first four rallies of the match where I just went for shots. It’s all about finding the balance and I’m really enjoying myself on court, hitting the right shots at the right times and pushing through every rally and I’m so glad I don’t have to think about everything around the match. I can just enjoy playing and that helps bring my game to the next level.

“[Tarek Momen’s] shown over the years that he’s one of the best on this court, if not the world. I know it’s going to be a tough one, but one match at a time. I beat [World No.7] Makin in the second round and hopefully I can have another scalp tomorrow.”

Troisième Tour

Victor Crouin 3-1 Patrick Rooney (ENG) 3-1 Scores: 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-6 (47m)

Victor Crouin of France  will face Abdulla Al Tamimi for a place in the semi-finals after the 23-year-old overcame Parker’s compatriot Patrick Rooney 3-1. The World No.18 looked comfortable in attack and defence as he took the first game 11-8.

Rooney struck back well in the second, with the Englishman looking more assertive on court as he drew level with an 11-7 win. The World No.23 was unable to maintain this momentum, however, with Crouin taking advantage of a number of errors from the Englishman and he breezed back into the lead with an 11-4 win.

Crouin continued to look solid in the fourth game and quickly saw off a frustrated Rooney with an 11-6 victory.

Afterwards, Crouin said: “I’m glad I found the balance between being aggressive, not making too many mistakes, and still defending a lot of balls. I’m really happy with my performance. My first [Platinum] quarter-final, it’s huge for me.”

Second Tour

Youssef Soliman (Egy) 3-1 Mathieu Castagnet  8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (73m)
Victor Crouin 3-1 [7] Joel Makin (WAL) 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8 (64m)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0 Grégoire Marche  11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (30m)

Frenchman Victor Crouin continued his recent fine form as he scored an upset win over World No.7 Joel Makin to complete his first victory at the Qatar Classic.

Crouin reached his maiden PSA World Tour Bronze final two weeks ago and has kept his recent form going in this Platinum event as he took out Makin by an 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8 scoreline.

Makin had won all three of their previous fixtures on the PSA Tour, but today it was Crouin who started the strongest amidst an error-strewn start to the match from Makin, who is usually far stingier with his errors.

Makin got himself back into the match in the second courtesy of an 11-6 triumph, but was on the back foot again in the second and looked to struggle with an injury the longer the match went on. Testament to the Welshman’s fighting spirit, he fought on and was able to come back from 7-7 in the fourth, but he could barely move by the end as Crouin pulled away once more to complete the victory.

“I came in and just wanted to win one game, I had the same mindset as when I played [and beat] Paul [Coll],” Crouin said.

“I just wanted to win the game and I believed that I could win the match. After winning the first game, I knew I could go and get the win. I’m really happy about that. I came in June to play the 30K here and I had lots of support and I’m glad they’re back. I’m looking forward to building a fanbase over the years here in Qatar. It’s my first time here full-time on the professional tour.

“The off-season was busy for me with the World Games and the European Individuals and the CIB Zed [Open], so it’s been busy and I haven’t been able to have a training block, but I’m trying to use that momentum. I played well during the summer and now I’m free to really focus on squash. It will be a good season.”

Crouin will line up against England’s Patrick Rooney for a place in the quarter-finals.

Premier tour

Yahya Elnawasany (Egy) 3-2 Sébastien Bonmalais 3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 (69m)
Mathieu Castagnet3-1 Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)  8-11, 11-6, 13-11, 12-10 (78m)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt Auguste Dussourd   11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (44m)