Karim Abdel Gawad wins a 5 setter. Who knew.
“Never in doubt” commented Farah Bendary-Gawad. No, OF COURSE NOT, Karim’s bride never said that. Neither did hid Dad, Mum and Sis, sitting right next to me.
It did start bleeping well for the Baby Face Assassin, better that he probably expected after his poor performance of their match in the group. 7/1, 9/5, and looking light and accurate, thanks also to three errors from Abou. But two stroke and a winner, and we are back at 9/9. The sweat pouring out of Abou is making the court very difficult. A few stoppages will follow the whole match, with the Bullet coming off court to swipe his face bless him.
First game ball, 10/9, and it’s a tin, 10/10. And the Groom manages to salvage that one, 12/10. Crucial.
4 errors each. 7 winners, 1 stroke for Karim, 4 winners 2 strokes for Abou. 18m.
Second game, Karim’s truly flying out there, and it’s 3/0, 5/1, 6/2, 9/3. A big push from Abou, 11/6 in 14m.
7 winners for Karim, 5 for Abou, 1 error each, and difference coming from strokes (3 Karim, 1 Abou).
Things start to go very wrong of the Gawad camp from the third one. More errors coming from Karim, 5, offering a good lead 5/2, 6/3, 7/4, 8/5, and again errors at the end, 11/5 in 12m.
If Karim reduces the errors in the 4th, Abou is the one with the shots, the power, the changes of pace and angles. He is the one that plays better squash, although both are giving it all out there, 3/0, 4/1, 6/3, 8/5.
Karim claws back, the support for Abou is getting louder and louder. 7/8, Karim is so close but it’s the Bullet that makes it to the finishing post, 11/8 in 16 long minutes.
Karim makes more winners in that one, 7, but more errors too 3 for only 1 for Abou, and only 1 stroke for him, against 3 for Abou….
The fifth sees Karim warned once for a dodgy movement 5/2 up. Then a should have been let is given as a stroke as he was warned says the ref. And again, as Karim finally managed to get a match all at 10/8, another stroke for taking the line of his opponent says the ref.
I have to admit, I didn’t see those as they happened, but the video ref was the one deciding on those last two calls. He saw something I completely missed.
Nail bitting rally, another saved match ball, ending at 10/10. A no let confirmed by the video ref, and it’s a third match ball, 11/10.
Ironically, it ends of a tin from Abou, who today was so good and made so few of those, 12/10, in 25m…
I want to compliment Karim on a great final and to tell him that he should have got married a long time ago if he meant playing like that!
I gave it absolutely everything I have no regret, we always have huge battles, today it just didn’t go my way. But I’m happy with my performance, and I’m very proud of the way I played today.
This result gives me an extra motivation for next year, it was fantastic to be able to play in front of my family and friends, that gives me that extra boost for next season;
If I knew this would happen then I would have got married six or seven years ago!
Abouelghar was one of my groomsmen and he gave me a hard time on court, so hard luck to him he played some amazing squash. I’m really happy to win a World Tour Finals and really happy with this title.
Playing Abouelghar is always tough, we have played a few times and they are always tough battles, five setters and four setters minimum. Entering this tournament I wasn’t expecting too much, so I was very relaxed playing and trying to enjoy it as much as I can. Today, I felt the pressure of playing the final, I have played the World No.1 and World No.2 so playing the final I felt the pressure. I tried to relax as much as I could and tried to focus on my squash and I’m glad it worked.
I have a lot of people to thank. Firstly the sponsors and CIB Bank for their support and their last 12 months, they have worked hard and given a lot of support at a lot of tournaments. Karim Darwish for organising such a great tournament – all the organisers and sponsors for doing such a great tournament. It’s always great to play tournaments in Egypt, we have six or seven players in the top ten so we deserve to have more tournaments in Egypt here.
Also, I need to thank my coach Omar Abdel Aziz, Dr Few, Ahmed Faragallah my fitness coach, my physio Wafaai, my nutritionist Shady Labib, my family, my dad, my mum and my sister, and of course, my wife, for understanding that we got married on Friday and instead of going on our honeymoon, she had to come and support me, thanks for being there for me.