Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad survived a fightback from England’s World No.42 George Parker to book his last eight place at the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill in Weybridge, England.
It was the first meeting between the two players on the PSA Tour and Parker gave a good account of himself to cause some issues for Gawad, but ultimately it was the Egyptian who played the bigger points better to advance to the next round of the PSA World Tour Gold tournament.
Gawad, who won the CIB Egyptian Squash Open at the start of this month to secure his place at the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals, came out of the blocks firing to take a 7-1 lead before Parker managed to get himself back to within touching distance of the talented Egyptian.
Gawad once again edged ahead to hold two game balls, with Parker showing his steely determination to save both as the former World Champion struggled to cope with the physicality of the Englishman. The Egyptian crept ahead once again but once more Parker kept him at bay until Gawad eventually claimed the important first game by a tight 13-11 margin.
It looked as though Gawad had exhausted Parker in the second with the 23-year-old going down easily by an 11-3 margin with a slightly passive performance. However, a more positive display in the third saw Parker pull a game back to add some spice to the match.
But ultimately it was Gawad who was able to close out, utilising his experience to ensure he would face compatriot Marwan ElShorbagy in the quarter finals tomorrow.
“I’m absolutely fine physically but it’s just in the head,” said Gawad afterwards.
“Over these past years, I managed to work on my fitness and on my squash, but the thing I still need to improve vastly is my concentration, and my mental consistency.
“I have worked a lot on it already, I used to lose systematically the first game, now I win it most of the times and I’m trying to be strong from the word go. But I feel that I’m still in and out during matches, and that’s what I really need to improve in the coming weeks and months.”
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt George Parker (ENG) 3-1: 13-11, 11-3, 4-11, 11-7 (51m)