Egypt’s World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad secured his place in the last 16 of the CIB Black Ball Open with a 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 victory over compatriot Mohamed ElSherbini.
Gawad has a strong record on Egyptian soil and lifted this title when it was a Platinum tier event back in 2018 – the last time the event had a men’s tournament. And the former World No.1 once again showed his strength with a comfortable showing over World No.33 ElSherbini.
A close first game saw Gawad forced to the tie-break in order to take the lead on his third game ball attempt. However, after that point ElSherbini quickly fell away, looking as though he was struggling with an injury that has plagued his season and he tried to treat himself with some spray on the top of his leg in the game break.
Unfortunately for ElSherbini he continued to struggle with his movement and Gawad was able to close out to set up a second round clash with compatriot Fares Dessouky.
“I know Mohamed very well,” said Gawad.
“We train together and we used to play with each other when we were young. I know how good he is and I wasn’t expecting the match to go that easy. Of course after the first game he had some issues and I wish him good luck with the recovery.
“It’s very important to win the tournament, these days with the change of the system for the rankings and the points – each tournament counts, it’s important for me to focus on each tournament. I was unlucky with an injury to miss a couple of tournaments – I’m pleased to be back and back on court playing. I want to play my best squash, I don’t think too much about rankings now, I just enjoy the moment of being on court.
“I’m fresh and enjoying being on court.”
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-2, 11-5 (28m)