Gawad & Serme Score Maiden ToC Title Triumphs
20 Jan 2017
New names were etched into the record books of both the Men's and Women's JP Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York where Egypt's world No.2 Karim Abdel Gawad and France's world No.4 Camille Serme were crowned 2017 champions on an electric finals night at the city's iconic Grand Central Terminal.
The pair, both competing in the PSA World Series event's final in Vanderbilt Hall for the first time, prevailed in thrilling encounters with Gregory Gaultier and Laura Massaro, respectively, to take the spoils and add their names to an illustrious list of past winners.
25-year-old Gawad, competing in the 25th Tour final of his career, came from behind against world No.3 Gaultier to win 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6 and put paid to an historic French double. The triumph extends Gawad's unbeaten streak to 16 matches and gives the 25-year-old from Alexandria a third consecutive major title - adding to the Qatar Classic and World Championship titles he won last November.
"Winning the Tournament of Champions, here in this venue, is an amazing feeling and I feel absolutely fantastic right now," said Gawad.
"Matches with Greg are always tough and they can change at any moment. He has beaten me so many times before that I know even at match ball up he isn't beaten. I've learnt a lot from him and I thought it was a great match tonight.
"It's been an amazing week. I'm over the moon. To win three big titles like the World Championship and Qatar Classic is a great feeling and I have to thank my coaches for the support and hard work that has been put in for the past few years.
"I'm really enjoying my squash at the moment so hopefully I can keep that going in the next tournament."
Gaultier said: "I had a great week here and I gave it all that I could. I gave beyond 100 per cent."
Serme meanwhile proved that she truly is the player to beat at present on the Women's Tour by downing world No.2 Nouran Gohar, No.1 Nour El Sherbini and No.5 Massaro to add the ToC title to the US Open crown she won last October.
The 27-year-old French number one started strongly against Massaro - who was appearing in her 40th Tour final. Serme took a tie-break opening game 13-11, but faded fast as the Englishwoman's will and determination came to the fore. But at two-all Serme responded impressively, stepping up the court to get the better of Massaro and run out a 13-11, 8-11, 4-11, 11-3, 11-7 winner.
"I can't believe it," said Serme.
"Winning this title and winning two World Series titles in a row, beating the World No.1 and No.2 and coming from 2/1 down today to beat Laura, it is absolutely amazing.
"I can't believe I managed to come back today. It was such a big match for both of us. I had to fight myself, because I felt tired and flat, but I could see she was as well. We didn't play our best - we were both tired and nervous.
'But after third game my coaches tried to wake me up, they said the right things and they told me to try and play like I did at the US Open so I went out there in the fourth like I was going into a boxing ring. I just had to fight and fight for it.
"I've been working hard in training and to see it all pay off like this is so encouraging - I'm delighted."