Just one week after locking horns and defeating talented Egyptian player Ali Farag in the semi-final stage of the Grasshopper Cup World Champion Gregory Gaultier once again emerged triumphant over the Harvard-graduate, coming through their El Gouna International quarter-finals clash 3-2.
In a strange encounter, which lasted just 50 minutes despite going all the way to five, the pair traded points at a rapid pace throughout as they looked to carry the momentum from each winner into the next exchange and it was an uncharacteristically slow start from the ‘French General’, who tends to dominate opponents, as he slumped to a 4-11 defeat in the first game.
Gaultier roared back into proceedings in the second before Farag ripped through the third game. The Egyptian started strong in the fourth but saw his game disappear off the edge of a cliff as, from 3-3, he struggled to find any constant length or width as Gaultier punished and pressed to take it 11-4.
Then in the decider the Egyptian, who has come so close to securing a win over the 33-year-old on two previous occasions, seemed to lose his focus as error after error came from his strings to grant Gaultier passage into the last four where Fares Dessouki awaits.
“It was a complicated situation today – for two days we have played with a lot of humidity and heat and you lose breath very quickly,” said Gaultier.
“Tonight I felt fine physically, it wasn’t too hot, but it was windy and more like wind surfing weather. At the beginning I was lost and I couldn’t control the ball at all.
“Then from 1-0 down I pushed myself. My head was not positive but I just gave it a push and tired to play deeper and higher on the front wall – it was strange that average shots were winners.
“The guys in my corner (Simon Rösner and Diego Elias) gave me a real boost because I was on my own. Sometimes it is good to have someone in your corner – I am on my own at a lot of tournaments. They gave me the right words to find that extra push to come through this round.”
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 4-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4 (50m)