World No.9 Karim Abdel Gawad overcame fellow Egyptian and close friend Tarek Momen in a dramatic final in the 2016 UCS Swedish Open in Linköping – earning his first ever PSA M70 crown in the process.
The 24-year-old dug into his energy reserves impressively to come through in five games for the second time in this event, with a 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4 victory handing the crown to the man from Alexandria.
“It’s a great feeling, I’ve been working so hard for this,” said Gawad.
“It’s my first big title, my biggest title before this was an M35 tournament so, for me, it’s a great step forward and hopefully this is just the beginning. In the fifth game when it was at 4-4 I said to myself that I just needed seven more points. I had to push and put in everything I could.
“Obviously Tarek was doing the same but I had to focus and remember all the work I have been doing over the last couple of months. I’m very thankful I won the last few points. It’s given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.
“We’ve got three more months until the off-season so I just have to keep my focus now.”
The opening game was nip and tuck all the way as both combatants stayed neck and neck throughout the majority of the game. An error from Momen at 10-10 gave Gawad the breathing space he needed and he took full advantage to go a game to the good.
Momen battled back to take the second game by a slim margin but the momentum switched back in Gawad’s favour soon after and, after he gained the upper hand in some punishing rallies, he pulled through to restore his lead.
A resilient Momen wasn’t done there though and he powered to victory in the fourth game for the loss of just three points to set up a climactic fifth game showdown. Both players fought hard in a gargantuan clash that saw all four corners of the court hit with regularity as they attempted to outmanoeuvre each other but it was Gawad who eventually prevailed to capture his 13th PSA World Tour title.
Result – Final: UCS Swedish Open 2016
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-4 (80m)