Mostafa imperial and magnificent

[4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0 [1] Paul Coll (NZL)  11-8, 11-9, 11-5 (70m)

Fram reports

A few years ago, I wrote that I loved the player Mostafa was going to become. It was in the Egyptian Open 2020 I believe, and it was the first time Mostafa played – and beat – Paul in a match that was at times more of a rugby match than a squash one.

I could see the incredible squash qualities, loved the celebrations, loved the exuberance, love the shirt off – sue me – loved the persona, the energy, the new feel to him, and what he brought to our sport.
What I didn’t like then was the blocking, the pushing, the football falls, and the bullying of both refs and players.

For a while I just stopped watching Mostafa, because I just didn’t see the point. Why so many qualities, why such a potential wasted, spoiled by tricks, and complaints, and bullying. I’m too old to watch a squash I do not enjoy – and probably not paid enough either, ha!

I sort of watched the match yesterday, and I was not too impressed, contrarily to some other medias. Yes, Mostafa had played well, but Ali in my eyes was never going to take the game: too flat, too tired, and it’s not a coincidence in my eyes if Nour and Ali, both World Champion a week ago, lost on the semis night.

But tonight, did Mostafa played superb, sublime, unplayable squash? Yes.

I am still not happy with the Egyptian systematically questioning every single decision when he knows perfectly well the decision is the correct one.

I still don’t understand why, up and in complete control in the second game, up 1/0 and 9/6, Paul looking out of the game, he goes and block his opponent, getting himself penalised, getting Paul right back in the game and match? Why? His shots are amazing enough not to need the blocking to protect them.

I can get why he would pretend his racquet was broken like he did in the match against Ali, come off court, pretend to take another racquet, but God love him, come back with the same one! We all saw it. Ok, you go your 60s breathing. But then today, you are under high surveillance when your racquet actually breaks, and you probably will be under surveillance for the rest of your career! Again, why?

Still, if you forget that, we can say that tonight was a masterclass from Mostafa.

Close first game, 2/2, 3/3, 5/5. 6/6. Mostafa is trying to speed up the pace, while Paul is trying to slow it down, like he did for Tarek, and Mohamed previously.
From 6/7, Mostafa finds his power and puts Paul through the SquashMill. Four corners and back, and off again, incredible pace and accuracy from Mostafa.

Game ball, 10/7 Mostafa, no let says John M, which in my eyes is the good decision. But Samih Sawiris starts to send deadly look to our Massarella.. Just can’t help loving Egypt.
The next rally at 8/10 is also a no let but for Paul this time 11/8, 29m opener!

Not a single error from either of them.

Errors will creep in both their squash in the second though, 4 each. But it’s Mostafa with the momentum, 5/1, 6/3, 9/6. A stroke for Paul, again, a look from the Sponsor to John, getting darker and darker!
Huge rallies, a few calls, but not nasty ones, just two big boys on a warm court! Two errors in three points from the Egyptian, 9/10, but Paul finds the tin at the end of yet another fast pace rally and it’s 2/0 for the Egyptian, 11/9 in 23m.

But like in the two previous games, Mostafa is flying in the third. Finding his best squash, moving superbly, preventing Paul from finding his own medium pace, taking the time away from him, and finding strong winners, flamboyant and grandiose squash to be honest.
Game close up to 4/4 but from 4/5, Mostafa will score every single point, carried by a passionate crowd, and it’s 11/5 in 12m for the Egyptian.

Dad is ecstatic, mum is in tears, they both were keeping Mostafa in the match, preventing him from losing his focus by discussing decisions that they knew were the good ones.

And that, in my eyes, is the most important of it all.

In my humble opinion, if Mostafa can keep on those tracks, he’ll be the immense champion I know, we all know, he is meant to become.

 

Paul said

Mostafa

“I want to thank all of this crowd for coming today, it is something unreal so thank you guys for coming and supporting us and making squash bigger and bigger. I want to thank Amr Mansi and all the PSA for making this tournament.

“I couldn’t be more proud of myself, it’s been tough for me, playing the World No.1 Ali Farag and I’m really proud of myself and once again thank you to all the crowd for cheering for me.

“I also want to say the women’s match was unbelievable. I want to congratulate Nouran and Hania because it was unreal. I also want to congratulate Paul, he’s been World No.1 and I’m sure he will be there for many more months in the future and I want to congratulate Ali for his efforts, all of my team, my coach and physio and thanks to my family and the Ahly Club.”