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Karim Abdel Gawad during his first round clash with Nafiizwan Adnan

Swedish Open - Quarter-Finals: As it Happens

Follow us here for reports and reaction as the quarter-finals of the 2017 UCS Swedish Open get under way in Linköping.

The second day of action was rocked by the withdrawals of Daryl Selby and Mathieu Castagnet through injury, meaning that their quarter-final opponents, Simon Rösner and Alan Clyne, move through to the last four without having to play.

However, defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad is in action and will look to continue his tournament against Cameron Pilley, while two-time winner Gregory Gaultier takes on Egypt's Tarek Momen.

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Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local CET)
18:30 [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
19:30 [1] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [6] Cameron Pilley (AUS)

Gaultier Fights Back from Brink to Beat Momen

World No.3 Gregory Gaultier battled back from two games down to defeat Egyptian opposition for the second tournament in a row after he overcame World No.8 Tarek Momen to reach the semi-finals of the 2017 UCS Swedish Open.

Gaultier, who fell to the same deficit against Fares Dessouky at last month’s Tournament of Champions before coming back to win, was outfought and outclassed in the early stages as an attacking masterclass from Momen saw the Egyptian surge into a two-game lead.

However, Gaultier recovered from his sluggish start to force Momen in an all-out battle for supremacy, with the 34-year-old’s abundance of experience shining through as he claimed a hard-fought 3-11, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-2 victory to set up a semi-final meeting with Germany’s Simon Rösner.

“I wasn’t there today, I was really struggling and I couldn’t see the ball,” said Gaultier.

“I couldn’t cope with the pace, I didn’t have my length at the beginning, the ball was going short. I was giving away penalties every two seconds.

“He did really well, he was on top and I didn’t want to give up in the second. Even if I was going to lose it, I wanted to make him work hard and put some work into his legs. After I lost the second, I had to change my tactics because they were so wrong.

“I was playing the wrong shots, everything was loose. I had to be patient and play the ball into the two back corners until something happened. That paid off at the end.

“In the fifth game I was playing point by point, I wasn’t thinking too far ahead, I was just focusing on each shot. As long as your head is still there, you keep fighting to the last point.”

Gaultier, a winner here in 2012 and 2013, had lost just once to Momen in their 13 previous meetings on the PSA World Tour, but was up against it from the off as Momen displayed a number of exquisite touches into the front of the court to go two games to the good.

The ‘French General’ – whose first round display against qualifier Joe Lee saw him perform some of his best squash – was failing to match his opponents accuracy and intensity, but an improved showing saw him claw a game back in the third.

After ironing out his early accuracy issues, Gaultier pushed Momen all the way to a tie-break in a tense fourth game, which he took to set up what looked set to be a grandstand finish.

But Gaultier stepped up to ensure that it was merely a procession, dominating the court to take the fifth for the loss of just two points to seal his place in the next round.

[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 3-11, 7-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-2 (78m)

Gawad Comes Through Stern Pilley Test

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad moved into the semi-finals for the second year in succession after he prevailed in a breathtaking 99-minute encounter with World No.19 Cameron Pilley which went all the way to five games.

Title holder Gawad, who is looking to win his fourth consecutive PSA World Tour title, twice went ahead against a dogged Pilley and looked to be heading to the next round after he went match ball up in the fourth game.

The World No.2 was forced off court though after a sustaining a head injury during a seemingly innocuous clash with Pilley at the front of the court. His return was met with warm applause from the spectators, but Pilley rallied and saved two further match balls to level the scores.

Gawad moved Pilley about well in the decider though, and finally managed to shake off his tenacious opponent to wrap up an 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-6 victory to reach the last four and extend his unbeaten run to 18 matches.

“I went to the ball really quickly, he was going to away from the ball really quickly, so it was normal interference,” said Gawad about his injury.

“Unfortunately, my head hit his back. I was okay, then I walked back and it was very blurry and I couldn’t see very well. I was a little bit dizzy, so I couldn’t stand on my legs.

“But after five or six minutes I was feeling good, I was walking well and seeing well so I went back on court.

“Throughout my career I have lost matches when I have had match ball. What I have gained from these matches and these experiences helps me not to focus on whether or not I had match ball.

“Sometimes it happens and all you can do is try to regroup and play a normal game. It doesn’t matter if you’re 2-1 up and match ball up. It’s just one game, so in the fifth game you go on and you play like it’s the first game.”

Gawad will take on World No.34 Alan Clyne for a place in the final.

[1] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [6] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-2: 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-6 (99m)

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