Top seeds Grant, Golan cruise, and Olli is back again
Birmingham, Mich. – Unseeded Tarek Momen of Egypt continued to mow down seeds Saturday in the 2009 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection. Four players survived the day’s quarterfinals with Momen and Finland’s Olli Tuominen scoring upset wins to join favorites Adrian Grant and Borja Golan in Sunday’s semis.
Momen’s devastating progress – he has yet to lose a game – against higher-ranked players comes as no surprise to his fellow players, however. The 20-year old Egyptian college student is considered one of the game’s comers – and yet another Egyptian threat in a sport where eight of the world’s Top Twenty hail from that nation. Ranked #29 in the world, Momen will next face England’s Grant, top seed and world #11. Tuominen will meet second-seed Borja Golen of Spain.
Saturday’s bout between Momen and #5-seeded Stewart Boswell played out similarly to the Egyptian’s win Friday against taller, rangier, #4-seed Cameron Pilley of Australia. Momen’s speed was the key factor in the taller Boswell’s quick demise, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7. The Aussie, a finalist here last year, appeared visibly frustrated in his efforts to get anything past his opponent.
In the best match of the day, Olli Tuominen also frustrated his bigger opponent, #3-seed Laurens Jan Anjema of the Netherlands. Quick with extraordinary retrieval skills, Olli had a game plan and he executed it: Stay away from the big-hitting lefthander’s forehand.
“At the start of two games, I played really consistent and just like I planned I was able to get the rallies going to his backhand a little bit more than his forehand,” the Flying Finn said of his match. “And I was able take the ball a little bit early, and sort of ruled the rallies.”
Tuominen enjoyed 7-3 and 8-2 leads at the start of Games One and Two, winning both: 11-8, 11-7. But a determined Anjema would not go quietly. He fought back to win the third, taking control of rallies and moving Olli around the court. Tuominen stuck to his plan, however, and won in four:11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8.
“He came back really, really well in the third,” Tuominen said of Anjema. “Somehow, a couple of guesses he got right and he just sort of took off, and the fourth game was still really, really close. He really fought well at the end.”
Tuominen finds the MCO to his liking, finishing as runner-up in 2004 and then winning the title in 2007. Making yet another run at the finals this year, he faces a tall hurdle on Sunday in Golan, who appears in top form.
“That’s the quickest I ever saw you,” Egypt’s Hisham Mohd Ashour, seeded #7, said to Golan after the Spaniard had scored a dominating 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 victory.
Golan used speed to counter Ashour’s power and dazzling shotmaking. “I think I played well today. I just did my game,” Borja said afterwards. “In the start I didn’t move very well. I think I fell behind 3-0 in the first set.”
But it didn’t take long for Golan to recover and find a rhythm.
“I like to put pressure on the rebound, try to volley and play at good length and be quick all the time,” he said.
Top seed Grant cruised into the semifinals with a 11-8, 15-13, 11-7 victory over Shahier Razik of Canada. Razik tried to maintain a deliberate game against the Englishman in hopes Grant would break down under long, monotonous rallies.
The tactic worked for a time.
His biggest opportunity came in Game Two when Shahier has a match point at 10-8. Another point would’ve tied the match at 1-1 and given Razik momentum, but Grant stormed back, stole a 15-13 set, and put a lid on the Canadian’s upset hopes. A downtrodden Razik went quietly in the third,11-7.
Semifinals begin at 4:00 Sunday at the Birmingham Athletic Club.
Quarterfinal results, Saturday:
- Adrian Grant (1) def. Shahier Razik (8) 11-8, 15-13, 11-7
- Tarek Momen def. Stewart Boswell (5) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7
- Olli Tuominen (6) def. Laurens Jan Anjema (3) 11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8
- Borja Golan (2) def. Hisham Mohd Ashour (7) 11-6, 11-8, 11-6
Semi-final schedule, Sunday (all matches on Court #3):
- 4 PM: Adrian Grant (1) v. Tarek Moman
- 5 PM: Borja Golan (2) v. Olli Tuominen (6)
The pros wow the kids during Saturday’s MCO Junior Clinic. (Birmingham Athletic Club photo)