Egypt’s World No.16 Zahed Salem has reached round three of the PSA Men’s World Championship for the first time after he defeated compatriot and World Junior Champion Mostafa Asal in Doha, Qatar.
Salem and Asal were meeting for the first time on the PSA Tour and it was the former that had the better of the opening exchanges as he controlled the tempo of the match.
He took a one game lead but was pegged back in the second as 18-year-old Asal stepped up the court and hit a range of winners against his more experienced opponent.
But the teenager lost his composure in the third as Salem restored his lead in comfortable fashion, storming to an 11-2 win. It was nip and tuck for much of the fourth as Asal dug in his heels and played some well-constructed squash.
"OH, THAT IS A JOKE SHOT!"
mostafasal_</a> pulls out an amazing cross-court nick as he tries to stay in this match!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/squash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#squash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PSAWorldTour?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PSAWorldTour</a> <a href="https://t.co/4RyIW14UBI">pic.twitter.com/4RyIW14UBI</a></p>— PSA World Championships (PSAWorldChamps) November 10, 2019
However, he was unable to prevent Salem from taking control once again in the crucial stages, with Salem playing some fine winners to book his spot in the last 16, where he will play Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez.
“Mostafa is one of the toughest players, and at 18 years old it’s incredible,” said Salem.
“I’m sure that every player when they play Mostafa has to give everything and play their best squash from the first point until the last. That’s what I did today, maybe I lost concentration in the second a little bit, but I’m glad that I managed to get it back and win in four today.
“After every tournament and after each lost, you learn something new. I have been working on a lot this summer with Mo Reda and with my fitness coach. They are both doing great work with me, I’m really proud of my match today and I’m looking forward to the next one.
“It’s an amazing feeling, you’re playing in the last 16 of the World Championship and everyone is giving their best to reach the next rounds. I’m feeling good, I will enjoy my day off tomorrow, and I’m happy to be back after tomorrow.”
It might be raining outside, but these two are on fire— PSA World Championships (@PSAWorldChamps) November 10, 2019
ZahedSalem_</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/mostafasal_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">mostafasal_ are playing some unbelievable squash in their second round clash!#squash #PSAWorldChamps pic.twitter.com/XUFY3f7AL3
 Zahed Salem (EGY) bt Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 6-11, 11-2, 11-7 (58m)