World Champion Tarek Momen was in blistering form to dispose of Germany’s Raphael Kandra and earn his spot in the last 16 of the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family.
The World No.3 – runner-up when the PSA World Championships were held in Chicago last year – put in a performance full of attacking verve in the opening two games as Kandra struggled to cope with ‘The Viper’s deft touches and accuracy.
Kandra showed promising signs – fighting back from 10-3 down in the opener and pushing Momen to a tie-break in the third – but the man from Egypt was always in front as he closed out an 11-8, 11-3, 12-10 and he will play either Spain’s Iker Pajares Bernabeu or Mexico’s Arturo Salazar in the next round.
“For the first match of the tournament, I haven’t been this sharp in a while, so I’m very pleased,” said Momen.
“I don’t think I did that much wrong to be honest. He went for it the first five points and I was rattled, I don’t think I made many errors, he was just attacking so quickly and winning the points.
“I had to relax, regroup and keep my head together to come back from 5-0 down. I had a goof 9-7 lead then he started coming back at me again. It was all about the mental strength towards the end and I was very happy to close it out.
“I think we’ve played five or six times in the last 18 months and every time we play I know he is studying me and making it more difficult. Last time at the Worlds, the first two games were very close and went to tie-breaks. To be able to regain control and force my game is a definite plus for me.”
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 12-10 (31m)