Rösner Routs World Champion Gawad In Career-Best Win
1 Nov 2017
Egypt's defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad crashed out of the 2017 Qatar Classic after a shock second round defeat to German Simon Rösner, the 29-year-old from Paderborn who out-hustled and outplayed the reigning World Champion to record his career-best victory at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.
Gawad, who beat compatriot Mohamed Elshorbagy in the title-decider twelve months ago, was off the pace in the early exchanges as Rösner attacked at will to take the first two games and establish a commanding scoreboard lead.
The world No.12 then showed impressive mental composure to withstand a huge onslaught from Gawad, recovering from dropping the third game, to come through 11-7, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9 and seal a significant win that sees him record his first victory over a top four player at a major PSA World Series event.
"I had to be like a man possessed to come through today," said Rösner.
"The key was keeping my focus at all times. Even when I was up 2/0, I didn't panic or get excited.
"I've struggled to get these big wins against top four guys in the past so I'm really happy that I was able to actually play the way I know I can and keep my head throughout.
"You just need that one win against these kind of players to boost that belief in yourself. It was a big thing in my head so I'm delighted with how I performed today."
Englishman Matthew, up against one of the best movers in the game in the form of Mathieu Castagnet, ensured his last eight spot courtesy of a masterclass performance that saw him display patient, persistent squash of the highest order to come from behind in the opening two games and break the spirit of the Frenchman and complete the win.
"Psychologically the second game was massive today," said Matthew who is now in his 11th Qatar Classic quarter-final since making his event debut in 2001.
"He's a fighter, he's strong physically and mentally, so I knew the points wouldn't come quick. I was behind and I had to use my experience to come through. I got my game plan right."
Elsewhere, the top half of the draw will see two-time tournament champion Mohamed Elshorbagy face Ali Farag for the sixth time on the Tour this year. The duo squared off in the finals of both the US Open and Channel VAS Championships - with each man claiming one win apiece - as their on-court rivalry continues to intensify.
"I can't get away from Ali at the moment," said Elshorbagy after his victory over Fares Dessouky.
"We played the last two finals in a row and we've had two great battles so I'm sure it will be the same again tomorrow."