Karim Gawad beats Miguel Rodriguez as Egyptian quartet breeze through in Windy City Open
By NATHAN CLARKE in Chicago
Karim Abdel Gawad headlined a clean sweep of victories for Egyptians during the first day of second round action at the 2015 Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in Chicago today with a surprise 3-2 victory over World No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
The World No.20, who had failed to make it past the first round in four of his last five PSA World Series event appearances, produced his best display in recent month, combining delicate touch with deception and length, to trouble the highflying Colombian from the outset in what was a nail-biting matchup.
In a 78-minute encounter, Gawad, who came into the event fresh from winning the 2015 Pittsburgh Open, played with patience and composure during some ferocious rallies before eventually completing a well-earned 11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 win.
“Miguel is one of the best players on the tour and it was a tough match against him today,” said Gawad, 23.
“I haven’t been playing at my best for a while and my focus today was to change that and try and make sure I put in a good performance and I am very, very happy to have managed to get a win.
“In the fifth game I had to use all my concentration to make sure I kept my level up and I’m happy with how I managed to do that.”
Gawad will face fellow Egyptian Marwan Elshorbagy in the quarter-finals after the 21-year-old Bristol-based man from Alexandria also earned a surprise berth in the last eight after his opponent, four-time World Champions Amr Shabana, retired prematurely.
Elshorbagy will be making his first ever appearance in the quarter-final stage of a PSA World Series event and is joined there by his elder brother, and World No.1, Mohamed Elshorbagy.
After narrowly avoiding a first round exit at the hands of Fares Dessouki in a gripping opening encounter, 25-year-old Mohamed hung on once again, drawing on all his reserves to see off a spirited challenge from Indian Saurav Ghosal – winning 3-2.
“All credit to Saurav for an amazing performance today because h put me under a lot of pressure from the start,” said Elshorbagy.
“I’m not feeling at my best physically but I’m going to fight for every point in every match and I’m really glad to have won and still be in this tournament.”
A distraught Ghosal told his Facebook followers: “I was 2-1 up and am sad beyond words. I almost beat the world No.1 and it’s killing me that I didn’t. So disappointed.”
World No.7 Tarek Momen completed a clean sweep for Egypt with a 3-1 win over Swiss champion Nicolas Mueller.
Windy City Open, presented by Guggenheim and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
Results: Second Round, Top Half
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-2: 11-5, 4-11, 1-11, 11-5, 11-7 (61m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8 (49m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 (78m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt  Amr Shabana (EGY) 11-7, 7-2 (retired)
Second Round, Bottom Half:
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
James Willstrop (ENG) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Pictures by MARIAN KRAUS