Gawad Downs ElShorbagy To End Englishman's World No.1 Hopes
12 Apr 2023
In a battle between two former World Champions, Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad got the better of England's Mohamed ElShorbagy to reach the last eight of the British Open, thereby ending the Englishman's hopes of returning to the top of the men's world rankings.
ElShorbagy came into the PSA World Tour Platinum event at The Rep in Birmingham knowing that he could regain his world No.1 ranking if he won the tournament, and Diego Elias failed to reach the final. However, a consummate performance from Gawad saw the 2016 World Champion down the Englishman.
The pair had met at the Black Ball Squash Open last month, when it was ElShorbagy who had prevailed in a fifth-game tie-break. This time, it would be Gawad who would take victory the same way, in a match that lasted more than 75 minutes. The Alexandria-born 31-year-old will now take on compatriot Mazen Hesham in the quarter finals.
"It is always a tough battle between both of us, ever since we were eight years old," said Gawad later. "We used to play in the same club in Alexandria. Playing him in the round of 16 is a tough draw for me, and a tough draw for him!
"Last time we played at Black Ball, I was pretty close to the win but I couldn't close it out. This time, I had learned a lot, watched that match back a couple of time, believed in myself again. I tried to play my best squash, he played really well, but some games he killed me in the rallies. I couldn't find any balance, but luckily I found a way in the fifth.
"Thank you for reminding he had won the last seven times! That's so bad! I am enjoying every moment on court now, I found my game again, moving well again after two years. I am just enjoying it, and I just keep saying the same to my coaches. I am not thinking about results, winning or losing, I am just enjoying every moment, play my best squash and to give it my all on court!"