Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 4-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9 (68m)
More later as it was a long match, but for now, Karim didn’t show up in the first game, Gawad losing the opener, who knew – 6/1, 9/2 11/4 in 11m for Marwan
If Marwan managed to play at a very fast pace that hinders Karim’s balance in the first game, Karim was able to slow down the rallies to a more comfortable pace for him, and it was now him in control, 2/0, 7/3, 8/3, taking the game 11/6 in 17m.
Third is the crucial one, the big one, 20m of truly stunning squash although a few calls too many. Close the whole way, 2/2, 4/4, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8. 10/8 Karim, but it’s uncharacteristic errors from Marwan at the end that will be costly, and it’s 11/9…. (2 errors for Karim, 1 stroke 1 no let, 3 errors for Marwan, 1 stroke 3 no lets)
Fourth, I feel that the hard work Marwan had to produce to take Karim out of his comfort zone started to play his role in that fourth. He went for more shots, tried to shorten the rallies. It did work and the game was close as possible, 3/3, 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 7/7. 9/7 Karim, Marwan still in it, 9/9, a no let and a last error and it’s 11/9, match to Karim…
“It’s always tough against Marwan. He moves so well on court, especially around the middle. Any loose shots or any opportunity he will take. I had to take care of every shot and In the first game I couldn’t even get past him in the middle so I had to focus on that and put him in the back corners and attack from the middle a little bit more. I’m really happy to get through to the semi-finals at my favourite tournament ever.
“When the matches are very crucial and especially when it goes into the fourth and fifth, it happens that the referee has to do a lot of work and video reffing. I don’t think anything bad happened today and it was just normal interference from both players.
“I love playing in my home country and in front of the audience here. You get a lot of support here and I feel like I’m just practising – driving to the venue and then going back home, so I feel like it’s just practice and not a tournament.”