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Karim Abdel Gawad

Grasshopper Cup: Day Two - As It Happens

Join us here for reports and reaction from day two of the Grasshopper Cup as round one continues in Zurich.

2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad meets Scotland's Greg Lobban in round one, with the winner set to face either former World No.1 James Willstrop or India's Saurav Ghosal in the next round.

In-form Egyptian Tarek Momen is in action and will take on Spain's Borja Golan, while World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy locks horns with 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad in the day's final match.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player.

Here's the Order of Play
(All times are local CET)
17:00 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO)
18:00 [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
20:00 James Willstrop (ENG) v [8] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
21:00 [Q] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)

Gawad Takes Out Lobban to Reach Quarter-Finals

Karim Abdel Gawad

World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad moved through to the last eight of the 2018 Grasshopper Cup courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Scotland’s Greg Lobban that saw the Egyptian pushed hard in all three games before coming through to win.

The pair had only met once before on the PSA World Tour, with Gawad prevailing 3-1 when they met in the opening round of 2016’s Al Ahram Open, which Gawad eventually went on to win in front of the iconic Great Pyramid of Giza.

Lobban was unable to take a game in tonight’s encounter in Zurich but troubled the 2016 World Champion throughout as he buzzed round court and made Gawad do a lot of work.

A traditional slow start from the Egyptian saw Lobban hold game balls on two occasions in the opening game, but Gawad fought back both times before converting his own game ball to go ahead.

Lobban came within a whisker of claiming victory in the second game too as he edged ahead to 9-8, only to see Gawad step up the pace to come from behind, taking three successive points to double his advantage.

The battle resumed in game three until, with the scores poised at 7-7, Gawad built up a head of steam to complete an 14-12, 11-9, 11-8 victory and the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ will take on either former World No.1 James Willstrop or India’s Saurav Ghosal in the last eight.

“It’s very important to start with a 3-0 win in the first round against a tough opponent,” said Gawad.

“Greg is a very tough player to play. We’ve played each other once in Al Ahram, he’s really good and, for me, it’s very tough to play against him.

“It’s always nice to play him and it’s nice to get a 3-0 win today.”

Result
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 14-12, 11-9, 11-8 (43m)

In-Form Momen Slays El Toro

Tarek Momen

Egypt’s Tarek Momen opened up his tournament with a superb 3-0 win over Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan that saw Momen play some sublime squash en route to victory.

World No.6 Momen, known on Tour as ‘The Viper’, has played some of the best squash of his career this season, reaching three finals, including at last week’s Canary Wharf Classic where he lost out to World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy.

And, five years to the month since his last meeting with Golan, Momen was red hot right from the off as he powered ahead to 9-3 after dragging Golan into all four corners of the court.

Golan rallied with a gritty display that bought him back to level pegging, but he was ultimately unable to knock Momen off his stride as the 30-year-old from Cairo held his nerve to kill off the game.


That was as close as Golan got to troubling Momen, who was relentlessly efficient as he picked Golan off in a superb display devoid of the usual errors that have slowed the Egyptian down at times in the past and he held the Spaniard at arm’s length to claim the win in straight games.

“I was just playing on this court in Canary Wharf and I’m happy with the way I played today,” said Momen.

“It was a good match, Borja is a very tough opponent and I haven’t played him for exactly five years, so it’s been a long time and I didn’t know what to expect.

“I’ve always had tough matches with him so I had to be very focused today. In the first game he gave me a scare, I was 9-3 up and he played some ridiculous squash and all of a sudden he was back and almost winning the game.

“I’m happy that I managed to scrap this one up, and then in the next two I think I played really well.”

Result
[5] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 12-10, 11-4, 11-3 (41m)

Willstrop Stops Ghosal In Three

Experience came to the fore in Zurich as James Willstrop, despite finding himself on the back foot for large parts, came through to defeat good friend and former training partner Saurav Ghosal in straight games.

The opening game set the tone for the match as Ghosal, playing with confidence and aggression, opened up an early lead which he extended to 10-8 to hold game ball. But Willstrop showed the gritty stubbornness associated with his home county of Yorkshire as he dug in to extend the rallies and put the pressure on Ghosal to finish it off.

The pressure told as Willstrop overturned it to come through 12-10 and it was almost a mirror repeat in the second game as the Englishman came back from 9-7 down to overturn the momentum once again and prevail 11-9 to double the lead.

The Indian number one was then left wondering what could have been as Willstrop raced away in the third to complete the win.

“Those moments in the first two games are so important – they turn the momentum of the match and you have to make them yours,” said Willstrop.

“That gives you huge impetus and confidence because it was very level throughout.

“We've got different styles but we're both coached by my dad and he encourages that with his players. We move differently, there are so many differences, but I think we played a clean game of squash and played an enjoyable match.”

Result:
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [8] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 11-4 (49m)

Ten Up For ElShorbagy

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy notched up his tenth consecutive victory on the PSA World Tour as he downed compatriot Omar Mosaad in straight games to book a place in the quarter-finals of the 2018 Grasshopper Cup – the PSA M100 tournament taking place in Zurich.

ElShorbagy, the current World Champion, has lost just two of his last 40 PSA World Tour matches – winning seven titles in the process – and continued to carry his imperious form into Zurich as he dealt with everything Mosaad, a former World No.3, could throw at him in throughout a 47 minute encounter.

The 27-year-old was just too accurate and too aggressive for Mosaad, forcing a plethora of errors from the racket of the hard-hitting man from Cairo as he wrapped up the win 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8

“Omar is a very high quality player – he’s been inside the top four before so I knew I had to be focused from the very first point against him tonight,” said ElShorbagy.

“I’ve been having an incredible season, but this time of the season is very dangerous because there are still a few events to play before the summer break and you have to stay sharp mentally.

“I’m here to give it my best shot to win and there are still some big events to come which I want to win to finish the season strong.

“I have a huge challenge in this event but that is the kind of challenge that I train for.”

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