Awad topples top seed Shorbagy as injured Gaultier gives Ashour a walkover
By SEAN REUTHE in Cairo
Egyptian duo Karim Abdel Gawad and Ramy Ashour will go head-to-head for the most coveted and illustrious title the sport has to offer when they meet in the final of the 2016 Wadi Degla PSA Men’s World Championship in Cairo.
Gawad will be appearing in his first World Championship final after coming through a brutal test against World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy to claim the most important win of his career to date.
The 25-year-old from Giza put in a superb display, unleashing a feast of winners to overcome his opponent as they contested exciting, prolonged rallies throughout the 90-minute clash.
With the scores poised at two games apiece and with Gawad 5-1 up in the decider, ElShorbagy was forced off court with an apparent achilles injury. Despite battling on, ElShorbagy was unable to prevent Gawad from taking a huge 13-11, 10-12, 11-13, 11-2, 11-5 triumph to reach the final.
“I’m over the moon, I’m really, really happy and glad at the way I played today, I was playing really well throughout the whole match,” said a delighted Gawad.
“I just need one more push, I have to focus really well and recover well for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a very big day. Everyone knows Ramy and everyone watches squash because of Ramy. Tomorrow, I just have to start well and I can’t put too much pressure on myself.
“It’s a very, very big dream and I’ve been dreaming about this since I started playing squash and started thinking that squash was my career. Even if I don’t do it this time I will keep going for it and keep pushing for it. Hopefully one time I will win it.”
Ashour, meanwhile, will aim to win a fourth World Championship title after his semi-final opponent, 2015 champion Gregory Gaultier, was forced to pull out with an ankle injury sustained in his quarter-final clash with Egypt’s Tarek Momen.
World No.10 Ashour, who captured the World Championship title in 2008, 2012 and 2014, has been besieged with numerous injuries over the past two years, with a calf injury picked up in September’s Al Ahram Open keeping him out of action for two months.
The enigmatic 29-year-old defied all critics when he triumphed in 2014 after returning to competitive action following a six month injury enforced break to take the crown and he will he will be hoping history repeats itself as he looks to draw level with compatriot Amr Shabana on four World Championship titles.
“I feel truly sad for Greg,” said Ashour. “I have been there many times and I know exactly how it feels so I wish him a speedy recovery.”
$325,000 Men’s Wadi Degla PSA World Championship 2016, Wadi Degla Club, Cairo, Egypt.
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 10-12, 11-13, 11-2, 11-5 (90m)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) walkover
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)