Squash Mad

Mohamed Abouelghar stuns world champion Karim Gawad at British Open

Mohamed Abouelghar goes flat out to beat Karim Abdel Gawad

World champion has to wait for number one spot
By SEAN REUTHE

 

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad’s wait for the World No.1 spot goes on after the 26-year-old from Giza fell to a shock defeat against fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar on day three of the 2017 Allam British Open, the World Series tournament taking place in Hull’s Airco Arena.

Gawad required just a quarter-final finish at the sport’s oldest and most distinguished tournament to overtake current incumbent Mohamed ElShorbagy atop the World Rankings – but a stunning display from Abouelghar nullified Gawad’s shot-making talents, with the World No.23 taking it 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 to send shockwaves throughout the tournament.

“I know it was a very big deal for Karim, if he’d have won he’d have become the World No.1 and I think that relaxed me a lot,” said Abouelghar.

“I had nothing to lose, I just wanted to go out, enjoy my squash and prove something for myself.

“I had mixed feelings. I really wanted him to become World No.1 because I know how hard he works, but on the other side I wanted to win. I was thinking about that before the match, but as soon as I went in, I didn’t think about anything other than winning.”

Gawad will still move to World No.1 should ElShorbagy or World No.3 Gregory Gaultier fail to lift the iconic title – but Gaultier looked to be in top form as he put Australian World No.18 Cameron Pilley to the sword.

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The 34-year-old, a British Open champion in 2007 and 2014, laid down a marker for the rest of the field by annihilating former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the opening round – dropping just nine points throughout and inflicting a dreaded bagel on the Colombian – and he was even better against Australia’s Cameron Pilley in round two.

Not a single element of Gaultier’s game wasn’t firing on all cylinders as he outclassed and outmatched Pilley, with the affable Aussie having no answer to Gaultier’s masterclass of a display as the 34-year-old wrapped up an 11-1, 11-3, 11-2 victory to stay in with a chance of lifting a third British Open title.

“I didn’t expect to win with such a score line,” Gaultier said. “Cameron is dangerous, especially on the glass courts because he can put the ball away really easily, so I made sure I gave no angles or openings. I was in front of him in most of the rallies, making him do a lot of work.

“I’m very confident, but there are a lot of really strong players. One day you feel 100%, another you can feel 30% for whatever reason and you still have to find the keys and solutions to win.”

Gaultier will take on compatriot Mathieu Castagnet for a place in the semi-finals, while 2013 champion Ramy Ashour defeated Peruvian Diego Elias to ensure that he will line up against Abouelghar.

The 2015 women’s champion, the World No.2 Serme, is on course for a second British Open crown after she beat Egypt’s World No.13 Nour El Tayeb, despite a contentious end to their second round match in Hull’s Airco Arena.

Serme was 2-1 up and 9-8 up in the fourth, when a cross-court effort from El Tayeb struck Serme’s racket – resulting in a controversial conduct stroke being awarded against the Egyptian player to hand Serme match ball.

The 27-year-old then converted at the second attempt to set up a quarter-final meeting with five-time winner Nicol David – a player who Serme has never beaten in 15 attempts.

“To be honest, I’m relieved to be through,” Serme said. “I’m not really sure what happened on court [at the end]. I need to see the match again to really see what happened. She came to me and asked why I didn’t offer a let like she did [in an incident earlier on in the match].

“But it was a different situation, to be honest. I think that she gave that let because she was 7-3 up, and it is easier to give a let when you’re winning, rather than 9-8 in the fourth.”

David claimed her quarter-final berth courtesy of a an 11-4, 14-12, 9-11, 11-2 victory over Hong Kong’s Joey Chan.

“I feel more comfortable every time I play matches and tournaments,” 33-year-old David said.

“You get spurred on playing on the glass court, so I think I raise my game up even more. I’m just happy to get through to the quarter-finals. There’s no expectations on me, so I’m looking forward to a good match tomorrow.”

England’s World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry and Australia’s World No.18 Donna Urquhart were victorious against Tesni Evans and Egyptian qualifier Nada Abbas – the 16-year-old who scalped 2016 runner-up Nouran Gohar in round one – and they will go head-to-head for a place in the last four.

2017 Allam British Open, AirCo Arena, Hull, England.

Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-1, 11-3, 11-2 (31m)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-8, 11-9 (54m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-9, 11-6, 12-10 (42m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 (64m)

Men’s Quarter-Finals (To Be Played March 24):
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy v [7] Ali Farag (EGY)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)

Women’s Second Round (Bottom Half):
[15] Donna Urquhart (AUS) bt [Q] Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 6-11, 11-1 (46m)
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) bt [14] Joey Chan (HKG) 3-1: 11-4, 14-12, 9-11, 11-2 (47m)
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [11] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9 (54m)

Women’s Quarter-Finals (To Be Played March 24):
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [13] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) v [3] Raneem El Welily (EGY)
[15] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
[6] Nicol David (MAS) v [2] Camille Serme (FRA)

 

Pictures courtesy of PSA

 

Posted on March 24, 2017

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