Stylish Egyptian wins inaugural Dubai Cup after a thriller with England’s Chris Simpson
By LIESL GOECKER – Squash Mad Correspondent in Dubai
November 27, 2014 (Dubai) – Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt became the first champion of the inaugural Dubai Squash Cup, taking the final off England’s Chris Simpson in a five-setter that enthralled a packed house.
It was an exciting match from the start, with both players hitting some incredible lengths. But the similarities ended there. Simpson played a very strong, straight game throughout, but in the end Gawad’s flair for the dramatic shot took the day.
Both played to their strengths in the first two games, to bring it 1-1. Gawad took control in the third, though, immediately sending out two lovely straight kills that soared past Simpson.
A couple of lightening reactions by Gawad expanded the lead, and Simpson came out with a lovely counterdrop in response to take it to 4-2. The two later exchanged some lovely kills but in the end Gawad got the edge, ahead two games to Simpson’s one.
Gawad seemed to inexplicably back off a bit in the fourth, while Simpson kept out front and sped up his pick-ups for the win. Gawad shines in a five-setter, though, and the last match was all his. Simpson made some incredible retrievals, and managed to steal one match point, but a straight kill from Gawad sealed the deal.
Gawad, who has had an up and down season, was happy to come out on top at the end of it.
“It’s my last tournament of the year, so I’m really happy,” he said. “I’ve been suffering from a back injury from February, so it’s not been the best season. But I’m happy to finish it like this. I want to thank Chris for such a great game. It was really tough.”
Simpson and Gawad both described the match as mentally difficult, more than physically.
“The court here is so lively, it’s a little bit different from anywhere else,” Simpson said. “You have to really think and keep changing your game. I felt in the first two games I played well, he played well. After that it turned into a bit of a dog fight. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t play well in the fifth, and he played his best game.”
“It was a great match and a great event,” said Aroop Mishra, Event Promoter. “Congratulations to Karim [Gawad], our first champion, and to Chris [Simpson], our runner-up. Many thanks to all our fans, supporters, and partners for making this tournament possible – UAE Squash Association, the Dubai Police Officers Club, Nad Al Sheba Club, and many others. We look forward to next year.”
The Dubai Squash Cup has attracted 32 players from 11 countries in the Main Draw. It is powered by A2Squash and supported by the UAE Squash Association.
Dubai Squash Cup 2014 (Final):
(1) Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) beat (2) Chris Simpson (ENG) 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4 (63 mins)
Pictures by NITESH SQUARE