Gawad 'Masterclass' Ends Rösner's ToC Title Defence At Grand Central
22 Jan 2019
Defending champion Simon Rösner crashed out of the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions after a commanding performance by world No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarter-finals PSA World Tour Platinum event at New York's iconic Grand Central Terminal.
"Chapeau @karimabdelgawad," the German told his Twitter followers shortly afterwards. "He produced a masterclass today, never got into the game."
Gawad, the 2016 ToC champion, almost suffered an ignominious exit in round two after falling two games behind to Joel Makin - but an ankle injury sustained by the unseeded Welshman in game three handed the Egyptian a lifeline as he progressed into the last 16.
But, following wins over compatriot Fares Dessouky and now Rösner, Gawad looks to have shaken off his slow start to the tournament and the former world No.1 dominated his opponent today to end the German's defence of the coveted trophy.
"Simon beat me the last two times last season, and he is now the world No.3," Gawad said after his victory.
"He has improved a lot, and he was always top 10 but now he is even better than he used to be. He is the defending champion here so it was a very tough match, of course.
"I had to be very strong mentally in order to win against someone like Simon, especially a 3/0 win. I had to focus 100% today."
The day's other men's quarter-final saw world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy prevail in a thrilling five-game battle with Peruvian Diego Elias to avenge his defeat by the world No.11 in November's Qatar Classic.
In what was arguably the match of the tournament so far, 22-year-old Elias twice led, but was pegged back both times by a resurgent Elshorbagy.
Elias fell just short in the deciding fifth game as fatigue took its toll, with the scoreline finishing 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 in the Egyptian's favour. Elshorbagy and Gawad will meet in a repeat of the Black Ball Open quarter-finals, with Gawad prevailing en-route to winning the tournament on home soil.
"This kid [Elias] is going to beat us all one day," Elshorbagy said afterwards.
"We have played four times now, and all four have gone to five games. He beat me the last time, he just showed what a great player he is and there is no doubt he is a future No.1 of the game."
The two remaining US players exited the women's event as world No.11 Amanda Sobhy and world No.19 Olivia Blatchford Clyne suffered respective defeats to Egyptian duo Nour El Tayeb and Nour El Sherbini.
An out-of-sorts El Tayeb went a game behind twice against Sobhy, the US No.1, and fell to an 11-1 defeat in game three. However, the world No.3 was able to weather the storm in the fourth to level the scores, before holding her nerve to convert the decider.
"Ever since the draw came out, I've been thinking about this match," said El Tayeb,
"It took a lot of fighting to be able to be in the match. I had Ali [Farag] and Raneem [El Welily] in my corner - the world No.2 and the world No.1 - so they were just trying to keep me disciplined, encourage me .... and thankfully I fought until the end."
Meanwhile, Blatchford Clyne fell victim to a masterclass from defending champion Nour El Sherbini, with the world No.2 overpowering her opponent to win 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 in 23 minutes.
El Sherbini will play fellow Egyptian Salma Hany for a place in the semi-finals after the world No.16 upset England's two-time runner-up Laura Massaro to win in straight games. 22-year-old Hany will now compete in the last eight of a PSA Platinum event for the first time.
"I have been working towards this for so much time now," said Hany, whose unexpected win saw five Egyptians through to the last eight for the first time in the event's history.
"I just relaxed and this is my first ever quarter-final in a [Platinum] event. Every time I step on this court, especially in this amazing venue, I get a bit nervous. When I talked to my physical coach, he told me that the most important thing is to enjoy my game and every time I was getting nervous, and I was thinking that I was getting closer to the quarter finals, I was just thinking about relaxing and to enjoy it like I was dancing."
Elsewhere, world No.1 Raneem El Welily got the better of India's Joshna Chinappa. The Egyptian will play compatriot Nouran Gohar, the world No.8, next in a repeat of their five-game clash in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Joelle King claimed just her second career Tour victory over Malaysian legend Nicol David at the 12th attempt to set up a quarter-final fixture with 2017 champion Camille Serme.