Karim Abdel Gawad -10- (EGY) def Declan James -20- (ENG)
Round-of-16 Final: 8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 11-2 (72m)
Match recap from Squash Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the Qatar Classic.
Another good week for Declan James. Important victory for Karim Abdel Gawad.
Before this year’s US Open, Declan’s best PSA Platinum run came during the 2017 Hong Kong Open, under the old World Series format. There, James played through qualifying and reached the Quarterfinals – after an injured Fares Dessouky retired in the 3rd-game of their Round-2 match.
This year, under the new Platinum format, James has reached 2 consecutive Rounds-of-16 with wins over formidable opponents like Adrian Waller and Karim Ali Fathi. His match with Waller at the US Open was a 101-minute marathon; a vital victory to build confidence in his own mental and physical endurance.
Meanwhile, the Baby Faced Assassin continues his hunt to rediscover 2016-17’s raw dominance. That season, he won the PSA World Championship in Egypt, captured his first Platinum title at the Qatar Classic, went undefeated for 3-months, and ultimately claimed the World #1 ranking. Now the World #10, today he started slow against a hot opponent with nothing to lose, but recovered with a convincing victory in the deciding game.
Gawad will have to do better in the Quarterfinals against the surging Ali Farag, who came back from a game-down to defeat Karim 10-days-ago in the Semifinals of the St. George’s Hill Classic.
Announcer Corner | Gawad and James first Tour-level meeting
This was the first PSA World Tour meeting between Gawad and James. They had played once before, in the 2012 “Under-21” World Cup, where Karim Abdel Gawad emerged the victor in 3-games.
► Feb 2012 – U21 World Cup – Karim Abdel Gawad | Score: 11-7, 11-8, 11-9 (38m) | Non PSA
Each player’s announcer introduction for today’s Round of 16 match…
 Karim Abdel Gawad -10- (EGY)
Yesterday, this former World #1 came-back from a 2-love deficit, defeating an inspired Ng Eain Yow to return to the Qatar Classic Round of 16. The season before last, he was simply unbeatable. He won the World Championship, then captured his first two PSA Platinum-level titles here in Qatar and at the Tournament of Champions. He went undefeated for over 3-months, winning 20 consecutive matches; and by season’s end, claimed the World #1 ranking for the first time.
He now owns 18 career PSA titles, has reached 29 Finals, and his remarkable consistency has landed him in the PSA World Tour Finals two years running. Competing in his 8th Qatar Classic Squash Championship, he is a 4-time Platinum Finalist, and captured his first Platinum title on this very court, with a 3-game victory over World #1 Mohamed ElShorbagy. From Egypt, please welcome 2016 Champion and the #10 Player in the World – The Baby-Faced Assassin – Karim Abdel Gawad.
▲ R2 — def Eain Yow Ng -42- (MAS) | Score: 9-11, 11-13, 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (61m) | RECAP
▲ R1 — Bye
Announcer Corner| GAWAD’S UNFORGETTABLE 2016-17 PSA SEASON
Karim Abdel Gawad’s 2016-17 season was extraordinary. He won the World Championship, earned his first two Platinum-level titles (including the Qatar Classic), at one point won 20 consecutive matches, and ultimately captured 5 PSA titles in 8 championship matches. Crazy stuff. Here are the highlights:
Aug-16 | F | 1st Platinum Final at Hong Kong Open
Sep-16 | W | Won 14th PSA title at the Al-Ahram International in Giza
Oct-16 | SF| US Open (3rd career Platinum SF), 1st career victory over Gregory Gaultier
Nov-16 | W | World Championship, 1st career victory over Mohamed ElShorbagy in the SF
Nov-16 | W | 1st Platinum title at the Qatar Classic, defeats ElShorbagy in the Final
Jan-17 | W | 2nd Platinum title at the Tournament of Champions, defeats Gaultier in the Final
Feb-17 | F | 26th Tour-level Final at the Swedish Open
Feb-17 | * | 20-match win streak through the Swedish Open SF (Lasted over 3-months)
Apr-17 | F | 4th Platinum Final at the El Gouna International
Apr-17 | W | 18th PSA title at the Houston Open
May-17 | * | Claims the World #1 Ranking
Jun-17 | * | 1st appearance in the World Tour Finals, where he reaches the Semifinals
Declan James -20- (ENG)
At 25-years-old, he came into this year’s Qatar Classic playing the best squash of his career. He started the new season by winning his 13th career title in Nantes – defeating former World #1 James Willstrop in the championship match. With the victory, he cracked the PSA World Tour’s top-20 for the first time, then earned a pair of wins in Philadelphia to make his 3rd-Round debut at the US Open.
Last season, he earned his career-best Platinum-series run in Hong Kong – defeating World #8 Fares Dessouky to reach the Quarterfinals. He then won six consecutive matches, capturing the London Open title, and reaching the 3rd Round of the PSA World Championship for the first time. Competing in his 3rd Qatar Classic Squash Championship, he’s through to the Round of 16 for the first time with back-to-back 3-game victories over Omar Abdel Meguid and Karim Ali Fathi. From England, please welcome the #20 Player in the World, Declan James.
▲ R2 — def Karim Ali Fathi -45- (EGY) | Score: 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 (35m) | RECAP
▲ R1 — def Omar Abdel Meguid -47- (EGY) | Score: 11-1, 11-5, 11-8 (38m) | RECAP