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Karim Abdel Gawad (left) takes on Mathieu Castagnet (right) during round three of the Windy City Open

Windy City Open RD3: Gawad on Song to End Castagnet Run

Egyptian World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad earned his spot in the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family quarters after ending the run of Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet in front of the stain-glassed windows of the University Club of Chicago’s Cathedral Hall.

Gawad’s attacking talents were in full flow as the shot-maker punished Castagnet in their first ever meeting on the PSA World Tour, hitting some deft winners to win a series of high-octane rallies that drew appreciative applause from spectators.

The ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ was unplayable at times, hitting perfect lines to go two games ahead, but Castagnet’s ‘never say die’ attitude came to the fore in the third as the World No.22 edged ahead to 5-3 and then 8-7 after some hard graft and impressive retrieving.

Gawad was under huge pressure – with his heart rate reaching almost 200bpm – but he held his nerve and came out on top in some fast and furious exchanges to take four points in a row to book his quarter-final berth, where he will play either Germany’s Simon Rösner or England’s Adrian Waller.

“I’ve been on tour for 12 years and never played [Castagnet],” said Gawad afterwards.

“I don’t want to say too much so the PSA don’t put him against me too much! He is extremely fit and he is a fighter, he keeps going even if he is tired. He played a 100-minute match with Saurav [Ghosal] two days ago, now he is playing as if it’s the first match of the tournament.

“All credit to him, he’s got great spirit on court and off court too. Castagnet makes you run the whole match, he moves you around the court and it’s difficult to find winners. Without seeing it, I was expecting it [his heart rate] to be close to 200bpm, if not above, but I’m really happy to get through in three.”

[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (43m)

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