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WindyCity Update: Momen Escapes Crunch Corner v Müller

Tarek Momen was twice forced to come from behind to keep his 2016 Windy City Open campaign alive in a physically absorbing first round encounter with Swiss national champion Nicolas Müller that the Egyptian ‘Viper’ was lucky to sneak in the end.

In typical Momen style the World No.11’s play was at times sublime and at times erratic, with his total error count at the end of the match approaching two dozen, in what contributed to a highly entertaining encounter that saw Swiss Rocket Müller playing some of his best squash of recent years.

The opening game set the scene for what was to follow as the duo exchanged points tit-for-tat throughout with Müller saving two game balls to eventually take the first game 14-12 after a delightful passage of play.

After making seven errors in the first game alone Momen managed to reign in his erratic style in the second to establish parity on the scoreboard after a score of physically testing rallies dominated the latter parts of the game.

The third and fourth followed suit with both men trading points, rallies and games as the crowd continued to witnessed some of the finest rally construction of the opening two days so far and when Momen raced out to a 7-3 lead in the fifth the match looked over.

But Müller, displaying a newfound physical depth, mounted huge resurgence a reeled off a series of winners to get back to 7-7 with momentum firmly on his side. A simple error with Momen in all sorts of trouble proved crucial as it stopped the slide and two further pros from the Swiss man handed the match to Momen who cut a relived and surprised figure after sealing his second round berth.

“There are so many mixed feelings right now – that was two hours of nervous breakdown,” said Momen.

“I’ve never seen him play that well and he’s improved physically as well. Many times I thought he’d feel the work and the effects of the rallies but he just kept fighting back.

“I feel like I played very well but he just took it to the next level and I can’t really believe that I won to be honest.

“The first game is always very important and for some reason I just hit the tin so much! He came back and took the game and mentally that gets to you in a way and the match became very hard from then on.

“I’m just very happy to be through and hopefully I will play a little better in the next round.”

[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-2: 12-14, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 (77m)

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