WORLD squash No 1 Ali Farag of Egypt beat countryman Mazen Hesham 3-1 to claim his first title in 2022, winning the PSA World Tour Gold Level Houston Open in Texas.
The two had played nine times previously with Farag wianning eight while Hesham won in 2015 in the Qatar Classic quarter-finals.
Farag started strongly in Houston, taking the first set 11-6. However, Hesham, ranked world No 6, fought back in the second, the 11-8 win leveling the match.
But Farag established his dominance once again after taking the third set 11-7.
Farag’s momentum carried him into the fourth set, cruising to an 11-3 victory after 50 minutes of action. In the process, Farag secured his 25th title on the PSA World Tour, and his first Gold level title in Houston.
“Mazen Hesham was so skillful and that is why it was one of my toughest matches,” Farag said after the game. “You’re always on your toes, you don’t know what to expect in the next shot. As much as I am happy about this win, I am extremely happy for Mazen as well.”
Farag and Hesham share a lot in common, their fitness trainer as well as the same club, Wadi Degla, or as they call it, the ‘Community of Champions’. They also have the same sponsor, Expression Networks.
“I am really happy with what I have achieved this time,” Hesham said. “I will keep trying hard and hopefully next time I will be the champion.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 13 January, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.