2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad progressed to round three of this season’s PSA Men’s World Championship after prevailing in an entertaining four-game battle with Mexico’s Cesar Salazar.
Gawad is traditionally a slow starter and that proved to be the case against today’s opponent as he hit nine unforced errors in an opening game that went the way of World No.24 Salazar.
The Egyptian found his range from that moment onwards as he sent Salazar slaloming into all four corners of the court with regularity, resulting in some sensational rallies, the best of which saw Salazar pull off a full length dive before running sprinting to the opposite corner to pick up Elias’s cross court drive, only to hit a simple tin on the next point.
"The rally of the tournament without a shadow of a doubt!"— PSA World Championships (@PSAWorldChamps) November 9, 2019
Absolutely unreal retrieval skills from
cesarsm88</a> in this rally, as he goes into all four corners at speed!<a href="https://twitter.com/karimabdelgawad?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">karimabdelgawad took the point, but what an effort from the Mexican!#squash #PSAWorldChamps pic.twitter.com/rihRJwO3lu
And was Gawad who emerged victorious, with the World No.4 set to play 2010 runner-up James Willstrop in the next round.
“Cesar is one of my best friends on tour,” Gawad said.
“Everyone can see how fit he his, how good he is on court, and how talented he is. He gave me a very hard time on court and I didn’t read him at all when I was at the front, so I had to lob all the time. Every time I went for winners, he was waiting for them and playing his winners, so I just had to go for some lobs.
“I think I should have started the way I played the last three times and should have lobbed a little bit more from the beginning. Thanks to my coach Ahmed [Faragallah] for his advice, he changed the game completely tonight.
“He [Willstrop] is my idol and I’ve learned a lot from him. He has the best technique of all of us, so to hear that [that Willstrop thinks he is the best to watch on tour] is great for me. If I watch the match online after it is enjoyable, but not during the match because sometimes I feel like a fool on court against him.
“I don’t want to feel like this tomorrow.”
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (44m)