• Grant, Golan advance to MCO finals

    Borja Golan and Olli TuominenAfter Borja Golan(R) took a quick 2-0 lead on Finland’s Olli Tuominen, play turned physical in Game Three as the pair battled into a tiebreaker. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)

    Top seeds end upset runs of Momen, Tuomenen

    Birmingham, Mich. – After a week of upsets and the dazzling play of an unseeded youngster, the final of the 2009 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection will be a contest between the tourney’s top two seeded veterans. In the semifinals Sunday, #1-seed Adrian Grant ended the Cinderella run of unseeded 20-year old phenom Tarek Momen, while #2-seeded Borja Golan dashed another title run by last year’s champion, Olli Tuominen.

    Grant and Golan will meet in the finals Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Birmingham Athletic Club.

    After watching the upstart Momen wreak havoc on #4-seed Cameron Pilley and #5-seed Stewart Boswell – sweeping both without the loss of a game – England’s Grant knew that the Egyptian newcomer, playing in his first MCO, was not to be taken lightly.

    “I went in there not underestimating him because he’s had two really great wins,” Grant said after the match. “He beat Pilley and Boswell so he was obviously in really good form. I knew I was playing well as well, so I wanted to take him very seriously and realize it wasn’t going to be easy.”

    In winning, Grant accomplished what Boswell and Pilley could not – imposing his will on the World #29. While boasting a toolbox full of big shots, Momen does not yet have the match maturity of upper echelon players, and World #11 Grant exploited the young Egyptian’s lack of experience in the long rallies necessary to win a tournament semi.

    “I knew I had enough weapons in my arsenal to attack him,” Grant said. “And I knew that, if under pressure, I can stay composed that I could get through that as well. It’s just more of a confidence thing and just imposing my game on him. Until he gets frustrated and frustrated and slowly breaks down.”

    Adrian Grant and Tarek MomenUnseeded upstart Tarek Momen (hitting) bagful of shots had claimed two seeds, but veteran Adrain Grant ended the Egyptian’s “Momen-tum” in the semis. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)

    “He’s only 20 and is top 30 in the world, so he’s got a massive future in front of him,” continued Grant, who is playing in his fourth MCO, “But in terms of playing big points in certain situations, I had more experience and it showed today. The scores were fairly even at 7-all or 8-all, then all of the sudden I would break away.”

    Grant secured his entry into the finals with an 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 win.

    His next opponent, Spanish speedster Golan, defeated #6-seed Tuominen in straight sets:11-5, 11-4, 12-10. After racing to a quick 2-0 game lead, Game Three was exhausting, see-saw affair, with brilliant rallies mixed with numerous let calls as the two men wrestled for control of the tee.

    “It’s not easy, no,” Golan said about his match. “I think the first two games I tried to play at good length. I thought I was playing very well.”

    Borja Golan and Olli TuominenTuominen (R) played hard against #2-seed Golan, but the Spaniard’s sped was too much in the end. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)

    Give credit to Golan, perhaps the fastest man on the PSA tour, for his remarkable speed and skill. But Olli lacked his familiar keenness to attack during the first two sets. He seemed always a step slow. As a result, he committed numerous uncharacteristic errors in the fist two games.

    “I was a bit asleep,” Tuominen admitted afterwards. “I only woke up in the end, like the third game. I should’ve won the third game and it would’ve been a different match. Because I wasn’t really tired, but it was just a slow start and he took good advantage of it.”

    Looking to Monday’s final, Grant and Golan have met three times previously with Grant the victor in all three. At the Mitsubishi European Open ASB in 2002, Grant escaped with a 3-2 victory. At the Prince Canary Islands Open in 2003, Grant breezed to a 3-0 win. But they have not played since Saudi Arabia in 2006, when Grant eked a 3-2 win after trailing 0-2.

    “I think it’s going to be another very tough one,” Golan said of his match against Grant. “I just want to play my game. Physically, I feel quite well. And I hope it’s a tough game and the people will enjoy the match.”

    Semifinal results, Sunday:

    • Adrian Grant def. Tarek Momen 11-9, 11-9, 12-10
    • Borja Golan def. Olli Tuominen 11-5, 11-4, 12-10

    Final, Monday, 6.30 PM, COURT 3:

    Adrian Grant (1) v. Borja Golan (2)

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