Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 16-14, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8 (65m)
I remember the feeling I had when Shabana was getting on court. Or Ramy. That feeling of enjoyment, amazement, admiration. As Nick Matthew once said “Shabana makes it look easy, I make it look hard”.
Tonight, we had two “make it look easy” players. EianYow, who has been working for a few years with Hadrian Stiff, with Mohamed ElShorbagy as a sparring partner, is used to counterdropping, and using the energy/attack shots from his opponent to his advantage.
And tonight, Gawad was just a bit too much expecting his incredible shots to win the points at times I felt, just a fraction late to counterattack/defend, which gave us some ridiculous squash rallies, again and again, with the crowd going wild, again and again!
“Massive wind-up”, “that was sick”, “purely outrageous”, the gentleman behind me that seemed to enjoy his squash as much as his beer God Bless Him, was in awe with Karim’s squash and EainYow’s responses. And he was not alone!
Karim up 10/7 game ball in the opener, will follow 10m of ridiculous attacks/retrievals/ counterattacking/ counterdropping/lobbing/visitingThe4Corners rallies. The Smiling Ninja will get 2 opportunities to close the game, 11/10 and 13/10, but the King of Touch clinches the 18m game 16/14.
Excellent ripost from the Malaysian, who level in 9m, imposing his volleying/drop shot volleying, 3/1, 7/3, 8/5, 10/6, 11/7. 8 winners for EainYow, only 5 for Karim.
Third is definitely crucial as the young Malaysian is up 3/0 and 7/3, before 7 points strung by the King of Touch, 10/7. Mind you, it couldn’t go simply to 11, now could it. Course not, and the Egyptian will need 4 game balls to finally clinch the crucial third 12/10 in 20 very very long minutes.
EainYow will get a bit tired in the middle of the 4th – not exactly surprisingly mind – 4/4, 5/5. 9/5, the match seems done and dusted, that’s the moment the Egyptian chooses to get his opponent back in the match, three errors in a row, but it’s two enormous rallies to find the game/match, 11/8 in 12m.
I feel that the Egyptian was probably very happy not to have to play another one…
My ranking is nowhere where I want it to be, and even have dropped since the last events, but realistically, if you look at my results in the tournaments in the last few events, most of the times, I’ve only lost to a top 10 player. It’s the way the draws been done, it’s a little tough for me to get momentum.
I’m not saying that the reason I’ve been losing to them, cause I feel I can beat the top ten guys, it’s just that every time I’m playing them, it’s early on, so I can’t get the momentum on.
So you might look at my ranking and think I’m not doing as well but I think all the players on tour know how dangerous I can be. Still, a lot of work to do!
Today, there were patches where I thought I was good but it’s just not good enough. Far too many errros, over the last two rounds, I was not hitting that many errors, but all credit to Gawad, he was making me really uncomfortable, you could see how much I was running on there!
He was putting me under a lot of pressure, all credit to him, out for 10 months and he is back and have that kind of results, it’s unbelievable.
At the end of the first game, a little bit of experience from him, again, I’ve got back to see what went wrong, I don’t think I was far off, definitely, and the way he was celebrating I could see how much it meant to him, and how close the match was.
I’m getting one step closer I feel, I’m sending a strong message to the players…
“Yow played, all credit to him, he played amazing squash today, I think he dominated the whole match starting from the end of the first game until the fifth. So I just tried to change plans at different times to just try to grab the win today.
“I’m really happy with the way I fought from the beginning till the end. I think he had the lead in the third, and this one was really important for me to just win the third game to try to push, further in the match. And I’m really glad of the way I fought and looking forward to the next round.
“It’s really hard, especially if it’s not your day. I mean, for me, I think it wasn’t my day today. I mean, he was playing really amazing squash. I didn’t feel my shots today. I played a lot of tins, I let him back in the games so many times in the first game and in the fourth.
“Especially if it’s not your day, it’s hard to change plans and try to find a different game. But that’s the things we learn from the years of playing squash on tour, and I’m glad I got the win today.”