Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-0  Joel Makin (WAL) 11-9, 11-8 (39m)
Karim stayed alive another day in Egypt. That boy doesn’t seem to want to lose in Cairo bless him and today, he really tried his best, despite a terrible start, conceding 5 errors in the first part of the game – at 5/5, Joel still didn’t score a point…
You know, I see a lot of players, I see them changed their game, evolve, but I never saw somebody change his game that quickly. Daryl Selby – who had a very English game took a few years to arrive to the entertaining game he possesses today but Joel… we are talking months really.
It’s like something just clicked in his head, and he is playing a very attacking/accurate game at the front, while pinning you at the back with superb length and width that stick to the wall and put the opponent under extreme pressure time wise.
We saw it yesterday against Paul, he was all over him and Paul never had the game that day to put him under pressure.
Karim managed to mind. From 4/0 down, we were back at 4/4, 5/5, 6/6. A string of beautiful combination from the Egyptian, who had to win the point again and again in every single rally, 10/7, taking the opener only just 11/9 with a superb backhand volley dropshot. 21m first game.
A better start for the Cairo Boy in the second, 3/1, but Joel showed his class at the precise point. He took control, became the attacker – against Karim, that take guts – and pushed and twisted and turned… 4 points in a row.
We were back level, Karim knowing that physically, he is better off wining in 2…. 6/6, but Joel is dominant, 8/6. The crowd ain’t happy. A stroke against the Welsh, and a rally that upsets Joel enormously as he sees a backhand shot clearly down on the tin. The ref, unable to confirm/infirm as they do not have the technology yet, leaves the point as it is.
That stayed in Joel’s mind, I could see his assassin looks towards the ref till the end, 11/8 in 15m. He shook his head as he stepped off court. Not happy he was.
“I’m very happy about my performance. I think I played well, Joel was controlling the middle of the court well today and I started slow with some errors, so I tried to get my lines first before getting to the front corners. It worked well when I controlled the middle of the court. Joel is really quick on court and is a strong physical player, so you can’t open the court too much for him because he will just make a lot of winners. I just tried to play straight lines more and I’m pleased with my performance today.
“I can’t pick either one of Marwan/Ali, they are both top players. They are both quality players and I’m going to just focus on the way I want to play and make a good recovery to be ready for tomorrow.”