Huge breakthrough as Gawad wins fiery fifth game
By JESPER PERSSON in Linköping
In the sold out Linköping Sporthall, the final match has just ended. The two Egyptians, Tarek Momen and Karim Abdel Gawad, gave the crowd a match of absolute world-class squash that lasted for 80 minutes. Finally, after five games, the No.2 seed Gawad came out as the winner of this year’s UCS Swedish Open.
The World No.9 overcame fellow Egyptian and close friend Momen in a dramatic final, earning his first ever PSA M70 crown in the process.
When we got our two finalists yesterday, we knew that we could expect a very tight and unpredictable battle, and that’s exactly how the match ended up.
Momen and Gawad, who have played for the same club for seven years, had met each other three previous times, and the last two of their matches ended after five games. Today’s final was no exception, with another high-quality marathon encounter.
The match was finely poised throughout, with Momen coming back from a one-game deficit on two separate occasions to set up a climactic fifth-game showdown.
Gawad dug into his energy reserves impressively though to come through in five games for the second time in this event, with a 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4 victory handing the crown to the man from Alexandria.
“It’s a great feeling, I’ve been working so hard for this,” said Gawad.
“It’s my first big title. My biggest title before this was an M35 tournament so, for me, it’s a great step forward and hopefully this is just the beginning. In the fifth game when it was at 4-4 I said to myself that I just needed seven more points. I had to push and put in everything I could.
“Obviously, Tarek was doing the same but I had to focus and remember all the work I have been doing over the last couple of months. I’m very thankful I won the last few points. It’s given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.”
Momen revealed: “It’s very unfortunate that halfway through the fifth I just had nothing in the tank. I tried to the end until the last point, but Karim was just too good today. Obviously I’m disappointed because I wanted to win so badly, but I put on the best performance that I could.”
Gawad added: “I think I was even more tired then Tarek today in the fourth and the fifth. He gave me a hard time and for myself I was not expecting this at all. It has been a goal for a long time, and it feels great to win here.”
Tournament Director Fredrik Johnson thanked all the partners, sponsors and the volunteers during his ending speech.
The UCS Squash Cup competition played parallel with the main tournament and this year’s edition included more than 250 entrants in all the different classes.
2016 UCS Swedish Open Final:
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4 (80 mins)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)