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Gawad and Gaultier set up Swede final showdown

Gawad and Gaultier set up Swede final showdown

The G-men take out Momen and Rosner to make Swedish Open final 
By SEAN REUTHE

 

Defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad and two-time winner Gregory Gaultier will lock horns in the final of the 2017 UCS Swedish Open after they both claimed wins on semi-finals day at the PSA M70 tournament held in Linköping.

Gawad – who triumphed over fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen in last year’s final – went a game down to Scotland’s World No.34 Alan Clyne in his last four clash after Clyne displayed some inch-perfect width and consistent hitting.

But Gawad adapted his tactics to target Clyne’s forehand side, and the change in approach paid dividends as he crashed a series of drives into the back right corner, before going in for the kill at the front. The World No.2 took the next three games without reply to seal a 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 and keep his hopes of lifting a fourth straight PSA World Tour title alive.

“I didn’t want to play a very long match today, I had a very tough one yesterday, so I wanted to keep as much energy for tomorrow’s match in the final,” said Gawad.

“I played Greg twice last month, once in an exhibition and once in ToC. Now we’re playing in the Swedish Open for a third time, and it’s tough to play him three times in 30 days.

“But I enjoyed playing him, I’ve had a lot of experience playing him before and now I’m competing with him. I got the last win, so hopefully tomorrow I can get another one.”

LUNGING INTO THE FINAL…Karim Abdel Gawad put Scotland’s Alan Clyne to the sword to reach the Swedish Open final for  second year running

Gaultier – a winner here in 2012 and 2013 – earned his place in a fourth career Swedish Open final after he came out on top in an entertaining clash with German No.1 Simon Rösner.

It was a high-quality match from the off as both players exchanged points with gusto, with some delicate touches and physically demanding rallies captivating spectators at the
Linköping Sporthall.

And it was Gaultier who held his nerve towards the end of all three games to edge the tall World No.10 by an 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 margin.

“I’m happy to be in another final, especially here,” the Frenchman said.

“I’ve been here for so many years, since the first edition 16 years ago. I was a kid back then, 18-years-old, so I always try and play it. I’ve missed it once or twice because of injuries, but otherwise I always try to come here.

“For us, it’s not too far away and it’s good to motivate people from Europe to organise tournaments. That’s why it’s important for me to come here. People are always warm here, you feel really welcome and they do everything to make you feel comfortable.”

Gawad and Gaultier last met in January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions final, where an absorbing contest ended in a 3-1 win to Gawad in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.

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Swedish Open results (semi finals):
[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 11-5 (54m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [4] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 (58m)

 

Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of Swedish Open and PSA

 

Posted on February 4, 2017

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About The Author

Lee Horton

Former Sun, Mirror, People and Sunday Express sports executive. Knows a bit about newspapers and the art of talking a good game. Brighter than some but a way to go to match others.

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