After a 62-minute match that treated the capacity crowd inside Grand Central Terminal to intense drama and intrigue it was Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the 2015 World Champion, who came past the challenge of talented Egyptian youngster Fares Dessouki 3-0 to move into the quarter-finals of the 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
2009 Champion Gaultier controlled proceedings during an opening game that failed to see Dessouki, who announced himself as a genuine top contender with a series of impressive performance through 2014-15, live up to his potential before a bizarre second game ensued, which at times left players, fans and referees confused about what was going on.
After an innocuous looking exchange of points in the front backhand corner, which came shortly after Dessouki had been accidentally hit on the leg as Gaultier went for a crosscourt drive, the Egyptian collapsed to the floor in agony – resulting in an extended injury break.
The pair resumed play after 15 minutes at which point the 21-year-old looked to be creeping back into contention but then a simple error to give Gaultier game ball resulted in the ball becoming lodged in the court housing – leading to the introduction of a new ball and a knock up period. So often his Achilles Heel, Gaultier showed impressive mental strength to maintain his composure and managed to secure the game moments later.
Dessouki however was left feeling hard-done-by, and with reason, as a seemingly harsh decision from the referee on game ball handed the game to Gaultier, with Dessouki powerless to challenge after squandering his video review earlier and it took its toll on the youngster as he failed to really contend during the third as the 33-year-old secured his place in the last eight.
“It was not easy to have that kind of a break in the match but it is always better to see a player come back on court and play to the end without an injury than to see a match end early because a player is hurt,” said Gaultier.
“It was a crucial moment in the match and it was hard to stay focused. I tried to stay calm and stay warm, which is very important when you come back on court, and luckily I managed to keep it going when we started again and took the second game which was very important.
“I felt good in the third and a little more relaxed and I’m very happy to now be through to the quarter-finals here once again.”
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Fares Dessouki (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-2 (62m)
Dessouki is helped off court