In the battle of the former World No.1’s, Egypt’s Ali Farag got the better of Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in straight games to secure his spot in the semi-finals of the CIB Egyptian Open.
The pair had met 11 times before on the PSA World Tour, with the ‘French General’ holding the 6-5 advantage. However, it was Farag who had won the last five clashes between the pair, and he continued that form into this match.
Gaultier lost confidence in his footing following an early slip, as the court conditions deteriorated slightly due to the lateness of their match, which finished just before midnight Egyptian time. The slip gave Farag the advantage, and he took the first game with relative ease.
The Egyptian, who was World No.1 as recently as January of this year, tried to up his game in the second, but Gaultier was able to match him step-for-step, despite being 37 years of age. In the end, Farag was too quick on to the ball for the Frenchman, and was able to take the victory in just under 50 minutes, setting up a semi-final clash with Mostafa Asal.
Gregory Gaultier is having to work so hard out there against
AliFarag</a> <br><br>How do you beat a man who gets virtually everything back!?<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SquashByThePyramids?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SquashByThePyramids</a> <a href="https://t.co/mcvDgMHtAD">pic.twitter.com/mcvDgMHtAD</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) October 14, 2020
“It has been a while since I have played like this. Even though, I am the highest seed, when I come up against Greg I feel like the pressure is on him,” Farag explained.
“When I was here at the age of 14 in 2006, I was up there watching him from the stands, and I always dreamt of being on this court, but I never imagined I would be on here with him. The pressure is mostly away because of those situations, so I have maximum respect for him to keep going after all these years and to still be competing at the top level.
“For me, I just want to be executing my game plan. The court is a bit tricky with the wind and the softening up of the ball because of the cooler temperatures, so I had to adjust every game to get the ball deep into the back corners and yeah, I am extremely happy for sure.”
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (49m)