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Gawad beats Rodriguez in British Grand Prix Thriller


Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad overcame World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in a hugely entertaining quarter-final fixture at the AJ Bell British Grand Prix, PSA M70 event.

Prior to the match, the head-to-record between the pair stood at a game apiece which suggested that there would be a tightly contested match on the cards.

The encounter started with some scintillating rallies in the first game, with both men playing at a furious pace. However, Gawad produced some exceptional drops shots towards the latter stages to clinch the opener 11-7.

The second game provided a real spectacle for the gathered crowd at the National Squash Centre with both players producing an outstanding standard of squash. Gawad displayed some impressive racket skills including some sublime cross-courts nick while Rodriguez bounded around court with a trademark dive drawing some excited gasps from the spectators. Eventually, the World No.11's quality of hitting prevailed and he claimed a gruelling second game by a 15-13 scoreline.

Faced with the prospect of an unexpected 3-0 defeat, Rodriguez responded in typical fashion and the momentum of the match switched as the number four seed comfortably took the third game 11-4 after driving the ball sweetly throughout.

The 29-year-old subsequently raced into a commanding early lead in the fourth, playing a number of delicate drop shots to put Gawad under some severe pressure. The 'Colombian Cannonball' went on to seal the game with an 11-3 triumph to force a decider.

With the match firmly in the balance, Gawad excelled in the final game, overpowering his opponent to take a momentous 11-3 win to seal his place in the semi-final where he will face defending champion Nick Matthew.

“I can only say he [Rodriguez] is one of the best four players in the world,” said Gawad.

“He is very good and very strong both physically and mentally. Beating him today is a great achievement. I played well in the first two games and then he came back.

“I was thinking in the fifth that I had to win. I have been training really hard so I had to win. I have been eating, sleeping, training all for this.

“I put all my focus into the fifth and give it everything. I’m playing with one of the most experienced players on the PSA World Tour tomorrow against Nick. He’s 35-years-old and has been the World No.1 before so he has a lot of experience. First I will rest and tomorrow I will try do my best against a great player like him.”

Result – Quarter-Final: AJ Bell British Grand Prix 2015
[6] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2 : 11-7, 15-13, 4-11, 3-11, 11-3 (86 mins)

Report by Jonny Coverdale

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