Egypt’s No.2 seed Tarek Momen came through a banana-skin fixture with Germany’s Raphael Kandra to begin his title challenge at the 2019-20 PSA Men’s World Championship as he looks to go one better than his runner-up finish at the previous edition of the prestigious tournament.
Momen lost out to World No.1 Ali Farag in the title decider in Chicago’s Union Station back in March and he is once again one of the favourites for the title this time around, but he did have to dig in deep against his opponent.
Kandra has proven himself capable of claiming big scalps in the past – as evidenced by his shock run to the semi-finals of the Allam British Open last year – and he caused plenty of problems for Momen, with the pair sharing the spoils in the first two games.
Momen’s problems looked to be mounting in the third as Kandra took four of the first six point on offer, but ‘The Viper’ steadied the ship well as momentum shifted in his favour and he saw out the game to restore his lead.
That was as close as Kandra got to causing the upset though as Momen pressed on with renewed focus in the fourth game, dropping just four points as he closed out an 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4 victory, which will see him play compatriot Mazen Hesham in the next round.
“It gets more difficult every time because he plays me a lot, he studies me, he knows what he did wrong, and then he tries to correct what happened, so he comes up with a better plan every time,” said Momen, who reached the final of the 2017 Qatar Classic.
“I have to keep countering what he throws at me. It keeps getting harder, and I’m just glad I managed to pull another one out today.
“There is nothing more I want than winning this tournament. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was six years old. I’ve done the speeches in my head and have imagined winning the trophy for the past 20 years.
“I’ve always wanted to win this title, I keep coming back to fight for it. I have another chance this time, and I’m pretty determined to go all the way until I fulfil that dream.
“I’m playing Mazen next, that’s another tricky one and we haven’t played each other in a while. I know how tricky he can be, he has a pretty awesome arsenal of shots, and I definitely look forward to having a good match against him tomorrow.”
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4 (52m)