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Essam Lifts Arab Federation Open Title


Egypt’s Shehab Essam captured the second PSA World Tour title of his career after recovering from 2-1 down to defeat compatriot Karim El Hammamy in the Arab Federation Open, PSA M10 tournament in Tanta, Egypt.

Both players had battled through a 32-man draw to secure their final berths, with Essam eventually taking out top seed Mohamed Reda in the last four in a thrilling five-game battle. El Hammamy, the 2013 World Junior Champion, was also in inspired form in the semi-final, and axed second seed Mazen Gamal to set up a a deciding clash with Essam.

The match was a close affair, with neither player giving the other much breathing space as a series of highly-contested and fiercely-fought points played out in front of an enraptured crowd at the Tanta Sporting Club.

It was World No.114 Essam who finally made the breakthrough in the first game as he struck up a one-game advantage after sneaking ahead to 11-9, before conceding the next two by similarly narrow margins to hand the initiative to El Hammamy, who was appearing in his maiden PSA World Tour final.

The pressure soon told though as Essam continued to wear his opponent down and, after winning the fourth game, the 20-year-old led the charge as both combatants fought tooth and nail for superiority in a dramatic deciding fifth game. Once again, there was little between the pair, but Essam held his nerve to force the victory over the line, sealing an 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 triumph which sees him claim his first PSA M10 crown.

Result – Final: Arab Federation Open 2016
[4] Shehab Essam (EGY) bt [3] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9 (70m)

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