R2 : Men’s Final Matches

Comfortable wins in the final session for Marwan ElShorbagy, Paul Coll and Ali Farag, with Karim Abdel Gawad taken to five …

[4] Paul Coll (Nzl) 3-0 Raphael Kandra (Ger)    11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (39m)
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Omar Mosaad (Egy)    11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (37m)
[2] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 [9/16] Gregoire Marche (Fra)    11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (38m)
[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-2 [9/16] Saurav Ghosal (Ind)    10-12, 12-10, 13-11, 13-15, 11-4 (89m)


Karim Abdel Gawad was the final winner of Round Two, and as usual he did it the hard way, overcoming Saurav Ghosal in five games in the longest match of the tournament so far.

Karim : Playing Saurav is a very tough first round for both of us. Long matches mean that I’m doing much better. Being out of the Tour for almost a year for a very critical injury was very tough for me. I didn’t have enough time to practice of course.

Now luckily, the PSA is bringing back more tournaments, it’s getting back to normal. It was not easy not to have enough time in training, enough time to practice before tournaments. I’m wearing stuff on my leg that make me much slower but I’m learning to adapt because this is the only way I can play squash. So I don’t have the choice, I must adapt, it takes time.

After the last two events I don’t have much confidence, getting back to my form is hard, but I’m trying to get back to my old me. These matches, critical matches, make it easy for you to come back.

I’m playing Mazen on the backcourt. He is a very talented player, a very good friend too. I played him also here on the backcourt. He is good anywhere he plays. Last year, he was much better, I was struggling with my injury, hopefully this time it’s going to be much better for both of us.

Marwan : It might have looked like I was in control, but from inside, playing Mosaad is very difficult. Look at his career and what he’s achieved, he got to world number 3. When I was coming upas a junior, I saw him as a very successful player and I knew how tough this match would be.

Mosaad is a very tough opponent, even if people think he is not playing at his best, but for me, he is hard to beat. He’s got the experience, I look at his career, he’s been an inspiration for my brother and I. We always liked him, always liked the way he plays.

I’m really pleased to get through him in 3. Even if the score looks a bit comfortable, for me, it wasn’t that comfortable.

Ramit awaits, here. We never played on tour, he is a nice guy, I look forward to playing him. To be honest, I don’t really know what to expect, it’s funny because we were actually practice together a few days ago, but of course in a tournament it’s going to be different.

I’m just going to try and rest mentally as much as possible, in this tournament, I’m going through a lot of mental problems, trying to put it all behind me and looking forward to my next match.

Paul : Actually I was saying to my mental coach today that it’s different from any win that I had. I have another win and then the next tournament I come up I’m expecting to do something great. Whereas this one was completely different, just pure satisfaction. I’m really proud of the achievement, almost like I haven’t got anything to prove to myself. I still want to achieve the rest of my goals, but since then when I’ve been on court, I’m super confident, hitting the ball really well and just super relaxed.

It’s been a different feeling to all the other wins that I had, something that gave me a lot of confidence, it sort of relaxed me almost. I still have a lot of hunger, don’t get me wrong!

I was speaking to Stuart Davenport also in the last two months and the advice he gave me was sometimes you just need a bit of luck you can win a 5 setter 12/10 that can make the difference between wining a tournament or losing in the quarter finals. Sometimes you need a bit of luck just to go your way.

Even when I was in the final I had a different feeling that today was my day, that it was going to happen. Again, it’s been a different vibe since the win, just feeling amazing to be honest.

Since the juniors, I tried to build from juniors that I never want to go off court with an easy loss. If I’m losing, I want it to be a brutal match for them, so they remember it for next time. You need to build that feeling over a long period of time, I’m pleased that I seem to now have the reputation to be tough to play really. Because I worked very hard on it , I based my whole career on.

You know, Rafa’s very talented you know, if I let him get into the match, I can guarantee it was not going to be easy. So I had to get on top of him early, and not let him use his angles and play the squash he wanted to play. I had to get my game going. I was confident going on court, I’m just flying high in confidence…

I’m playing Mohamed Abouelghar. It’s a brutal round three, especially in Egypt, they are always up for matches in their hometown. We haven’t played a lot recently so it’s going to be tough, he is a quality player, he is an Egyptian in Egypt, you are in the Lion Dents, but hey, I’m hungry for everything.

Ali : I had a clear plan in mind before I stepped on court, on a regular court, I don’t want to sound like arrogant or whatever but we don’t get to play on a regular court often, even if I train on them every day. Training is different. It’s hard to put the ball away on a regular court, so I knew I just couldn’t go for clear cut winners. And I didn’t want to go for fast pace either because I didn’t want the long rallies to get into me, I wanted the long rallies to get into him.

So I had a clear plan to move him around, at a control pace, volleying and everything but controlled to not get directly in his game, not opening up the court too much. I think I did that well, even if in the first I was 5/2 down, maybe a couple of silly errors, and he wasn’t getting tired yet.

But once I got the grasp of it, I think I had control of most the match which I’m very happy with.

Now, Sherbini on the glass. We go way back, the first ever nationals I won was against him 3/2. He beat me a few times in juniors, he is so smart on court. It doesn’t look like from outside but when you are on court with him he is so clever, and I admire the way he plays. He’s been on and off it for a long time, he had an horrific accident, but it’s great to have him back.

Today I had to outsmart Greg, the day after tomorrow I have to outfit Mohamed, I’ll try to get some pace into him and test him to see where he stands because we haven’t played for a while…