After upsetting the top seed in the first round of the Motor City Open, England’s unseeded Tom Richards was unable to maintain his momentum in the quarter-finals of the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills in the US state of Michigan, going down in four games to Egypt’s Omar Mosaad.
Mosaad, the world No15 from Cairo, was too strong for the Englishman who was looking for another upset after ousting top seed Laurens Jan Anjema. Mosaad jumped out to early leads in each game, forcing Richards to play catch-up. The big Egyptian eventually won 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5.
“I went up 6-1, then lost my concentration and he started to play well,” Mosaad said of his recovery from the first game. “So, I changed my tactic, started to take more volleys, change the pace, and I started to play well.”
Richards responded: “Every game – every game – was a bad start, and you can’t give somebody who’s as much quality as him a start like that,” reflected the world No30 afterwards. “I was moving him around well, I thought he was pretty tired. It’s quite disappointing – I’d like to be able to go play those points again and just push him.”
Mosaad will now face England’s Adrian Grant for a place in the final. 24 hours after outlasting Egypt’s Mohd Ali Anwar Reda in a two-and-a-half hour five-game thriller, the world No17 from London was taken to the limit again by fellow Englishman Jonathan Kemp. Grant came from behind to win 5-11, 16-14, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9.
Grant – in only his second tournament back since suffering a hip injury that sidelined him for three months – acknowledged he’s only about 80 percent fit. The 30-year-old entered the MCO as the four seed, without any expectations other than playing himself back into form.
“I’m really lacking the games and the sharpness, so to go through something like this is a good tester for me,” Grant said of his battle with Kemp. “I’m coming into this tournament not hoping anything. Obviously I want to win, but I’m just glad on the court.
“I played the Tournament of Champions before this in New York,” he continued, “and that was my first match in three months. And I was lost! I was so bad and off the pace. I’m training hard, but I wasn’t match fit. So, now that I’m getting matches day in and day out, that’s what I need, and that’s what I’ve come for.”
The other semi will pit Australia’s David Palmer, a former world No1 and 2000 MCO winner, against Egyptian world No9Mohamed El Shorbagy. At 34, Palmer is in the twilight of a great career, while the 20-year old Shorbagy is on the cusp of greatness.
The rangy Egyptian won after fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen retired due to injury at the start of the third game. Palmer had little problem with Scottish qualifier Alan Clyne, beating the world No53 11-3, 11-9, 11-4.
“I’m happy to win,” Palmer said. “This is the first time I’ve played him. He’s tough, he’s very fit, one of the fastest guys around the court. I thought I played pretty good, except for maybe a lapse in the second. I knew I really had to focus in the third game.
Of his semi-final match against the up-and-coming Shorbagy, Palmer said: “It’ll be a new experience. I’ve seen him play. He’s very good – like all Egyptians. He’s got great shots, he’s very fast and tall. He’s going to be a handful, that’s for sure.”
Tom Richards (ENG) bt  Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 11-7, 11-6, 11-7
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 14-12, 11-7, 11-7
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) bt [Q] Mohammed Abbas (EGY) 11-5, 11-6 ret.
 Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) 10-12, 11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 11-4
 David Palmer (AUS) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 11-9, 11-9, 11-7
[Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Julian Wellings (ENG) 11-6, 11-7, 11-8
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Chris Ryder (ENG) 12-10, 12-10, 12-10
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Borja Golan (ESP) 11-8, 11-8, 2-11, 11-7
Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5
 Adrian Grant (ENG) bt Jonathan Kemp (ENG) 5-11, 16-14, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9
 David Palmer (AUS) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 11-3, 11-9, 11-4
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 11-4, 11-5 ret.