James Willstrop -18- (ENG) def  Karim Abdel Gawad -04- (EGY)
Round-of-16 Score: 11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 12-10 (71m)
Match recap from Squash Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the 2019 PSA Mens World Championship.
Tonight, former World #1 James Willstrop earned his biggest victory since capturing Commonwealth Games Gold on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018. There, he defeated World #9 Paul Coll in the championship match. Here in Doha, he upset World #4 and 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad to reach the Quarterfinals of the World Championship for an 11th time.
It’s poetic, really. After his Round-2 victory on Saturday – James talked about how Karim was one of his favorite players to watch on Tour, and how he always relishes the opportunity to test himself against one of the most natural talents who makes the sport seem so effortless.
Willstrop’s artistic gifts — including his world famous backhand drop — were on full display against Gawad. After the win, James acknowledged that the victory was a tremendous affirmation. While confident in his conditioning and arsenal of tools and tactics, there’s been a lingering internal question-mark over whether he could maintain the mental intensity required to finish off elite opponents. Tonight, he poured every last drop of mental intensity into a win over an admired opponent – proving both to himself and fans the world over: Even at 36-years-old, the Marksman has the poise to prevail.
A mutual admiration…
Karim Abdel Gawad makes no secret that James Willstrop is an idol. One of Karim’s crowning accomplishments was defeating that idol en-route to his 2nd Platinum title at the 2017 Tournament of Champions – Karim’s only career victory over Willstrop.
► Nov 2019 | Willstrop def Gawad | R3 World Championship – Score: 11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 12-10 (71m)
► Mar 2018 | Willstrop def Gawad | QF Grasshopper Cup – Score: 11-13, 15-13, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 (86m)
► Jun 2017 | Willstrop def Gawad | SF World Series Finals – Score: 14-12, 11-6 (43m)
► Jan 2017 | Gawad def Willstrop | SF Tournament of Champions – Score: 6-11, 8-11, 6-11 (42m)
► Oct 2013 | Willstrop def Gawad | R2 US Open – Score: 11-7, 11-9, 11-4 (35m)
Announcer Corner | Player Introductions
James Willstrop -18- (ENG)
This 36-year-old requires no introduction. One of the most gifted shot-makers in the history of the sport, he was a Finalist at the 2010 PSA World Championship…and has reached the Semifinals in 6 of his 16 career World Championship appearances. He’s a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, owns 8 PSA Platinum titles, has reached 19 Platinum Finals, and held the World #1 Ranking for 11-months. Last season, he captured his 20th career PSA title at the London Open, won his 3rd British National Championship, and capped his 20th season on Tour by reaching his 45th career Final. Back in Doha – where he won his second Platinum title, defeating David Palmer at the 2005 Qatar Classic – From England, he is the Marksman…James Willstrop.
► During his last World Championship appearance in Doha (2012), James reached his 5th of 6 career World Championship Semifinals.
► Now in his 21st-season on Tour, he has been ranked inside the top-10 for astounding 10-years and 8-months.
► This was his 48th match in Qatar
 Karim Abdel Gawad -04- (EGY)
In 2016, he captured his fist Major title at the PSA World Championship in Cairo – defeating Nick Matthew, Mohamed Elshorbagy and Ramy Ashour to lift the trophy. That season, he went on to capture his first two Platinum titles, went undefeated for 3-months, and claimed the World #1 ranking. And just last week – in an all-Egyptian Final in front of the Pyramids of Giza – he captured his 4th Platinum title, defeating the sport’s top-player Ali Farag in the championship match. 9-years-ago, he made his Doha debut as an 18-year-old Qualifier at the 2010 Qatar Classic. Today, he’s back in Doha as the reigning PSA World Tour Finals champion, with 22 career PSA titles in all. From Egypt, this is 2016 World Champion – The Baby Faced Assassin – Karim Abdel Gawad.