The opening match of Group A in the men’s CIB PSA World Tour Finals saw top seed Ali Farag overcome Germany’s Simon Rösner 2-0.
The 2018 finalist was pressed hard by Rösner throughout a 31-minute best-of-three games encounter but ultimately came through to win 12-10, 11-6 to put himself in the driving seat in the race for qualification for the semi-finals.
Rösner was in front for the majority of the opening game as the 32-year-old began the match on the front foot, but he was unable to shake off the attentions of the World No.2, who came back to sneak it on the tie-break.
The tall German enjoyed an early lead in the second too, going 6-3 ahead, but the wheels soon came off as Farag came back once again, taking eight unanswered points to seal the win in front of his home crowd. COVID-19 protocols in place at the event mean that 50 per cent of the crowd are allowed into the venue to watch, with social distancing guidelines being adhered to.
“We’ve been waiting for so long to play squash again, let alone in our home town here in Cairo,” said Farag.
“We’re super excited, thanks to CIB, the sponsor, and also Wadi Degla and Karim Darwish for putting on the event. It feels amazing to play in front of such an amazing crowd again.
“I think it was a bit tentative from both of us. The court is a bit tricky and it’s a little too bouncy. The wind affects the ball quite a bit, so you have to be wary of both things. Simon is a very attacking player as well, so it’s never easy to settle on the ’T’.
“I don’t think I hit my peak performance yet, but it’s obviously the beginning of the season and hopefully match by match I can get better.”
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 12-10, 11-6 (31m)