6:16 am
28 Apr 2017

Gaultier Grabs Fourth Successive Title At El Gouna

15 Apr 2017

France's world No.1 Gregory Gaultier lifted his fourth successive PSA World Tour title after defeating Egypt's World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in straight games in the final of the 2017 El Gouna International Open, the final PSA World Series event of the season held in the New Marina in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El Gouna.

Gaultier - who, despite the win, will lose his world No.1 ranking to Gawad next month - fell in last year's final to world No.3 Mohamed Elshorbagy. But the 34-year-old made amends in the climax of the 2017 edition with the sort of imperious display that has seen him lose just one match this year.

The charismatic Frenchman played at an unrelenting pace throughout the 51-minute encounter and gave Gawad no chance to utilise his shot-making talents as he powered to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory to lift the 38th PSA World Tour title of his career and become the first non-Egyptian winner of the World Series tournament.

It's Gaultier's 77th Tour final appearance - and his fourth successive PSA World Tour title after wins at the Swedish Open, Windy City Open and British Open. Furthermore, the victory extended the longest winning streak of his glittering 17-year career to 19 matches.

"I knew it was going to be an unbelievable match, we're both fighting to get that world No.1 spot," said Gaultier.

"He took it from me yesterday, so all credit to him. Being world No.1 is not just about one tournament, it's a 12-month thing and he's always been a talented player. This is only one match, I'm grateful to win, to be that sharp at the moment and beat Karim.

"I'm just doing the right things, I'm quite relaxed on court and I've just been focused on what I have to do. After Christmas I had a good break and had some good preparation and I told myself to start from scratch again at the Tournament of Champions. That's what I did and now things are working great for me and I'm going to keep playing as much as I can."

The victory also sees Gaultier finish second on the Men's PSA Road to Dubai Standings - just five points behind Gawad despite having played one fewer tournament - to qualify for a coveted berth in the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, which take place between June 6-10 when defending champion Gaultier will be one of the strong favourites to retain his title.

Gawad, who will take the world No.1 spot next month due to his points average over the last 12 months being higher than Gaultier's, admitted that he found it difficult to focus mentally during tonight's fixture.

"I think my defeat today is based on two factors: one, Greg was playing incredibly well tonight, like he's been since the beginning of the season," said the 25-year-old.

"The second factor is the mental point of view. The fact I heard that I was going to be world No.1 next month last night was a great news. I tried to keep focus, but so many people were sending me congratulations last night.

"I'm still learning. This is the first time this is happening to me, and I think that I am gaining the experience that will allow me to not feel so much pressure next time around. I was hoping to play my best squash here, but hopefully next time."