Gawad Grabs Qatar Classic Crown - & Maiden PSA World Series Title
19 Nov 2016
Just two weeks after becoming World Champion for the first time, Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad put in a superb performance to defeat world No.1 and compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy in the final of the 2016 Qatar Classic to claim the first PSA World Series title of his career.
It was in Cairo earlier in the month that the 25-year-old from Egypt secured his first ever win over Elshorbagy in the semis before moving on to overcome Ramy Ashour in the finale of the PSA Men's World Championship.
Elshorbagy went into the match at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha having won the tournament the last two times it was held, in 2013 and 2015 - but it was Gawad who played with composure and accuracy to come out on top in tie-breaks in the opening two games to go 2/0 up.
Elshorbagy tried to halt his compatriot's momentum in the third, but Gawad - playing with the skill and effortless brilliance that has become par for the course for the world No.3 this season - held firm to take it 12-10, 15-13, 11-7 to seal the title.
Gawad's victory also ensures that he will overtake Elshorbagy at the summit of the 2016/17 PSA Road to Dubai Standings - where only the top eight players will qualify for a place at the season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals.
"I'm very happy with the way I performed today," said Gawad.
"For the first time, I was under pressure. When you are a World Champion, people expect you to win and expect that you have a big chance to win. That is a new element I had to integrate into my preparation.
"Being World Champion and Qatar Champion sounds good, really good. I'm living the dream. But next season, I'm aware that I'll have to make sure I'm very consistent if I want to stay in competition with the top boys."
Elshorbagy was effusive in his praise of his opponent, saying: "Karim deserves to be the champion; he's played so well in this first part of the season. It was a great match, and the best player on the day won.
"I need to thank my team for the support they are giving me day in, day out. I couldn't do it without them."