[9/16] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-1  Diego Elias (Per) 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 4-0 rtd (54m)
The crowd was behind Karim Abdel Gawad tonight. Nothing against Diego, but you could feel they wanted the magic to continue. The gentleman sitting next to me confessed, “I would like it to go to 5, that would be a dream”.
I have to say it was incredible to see how fluid and easy Karim made it look tonight. And even when Diego was trying to expose his movement, the King of Touch was flying from one corner to the next one, front back, back front, side to side. It was quite incredible. Like a kid you leave into a sweet shop with a credit card no limit…
You’ll be stunned to read that Karim was slow off the blocks. I know, who knew? From 3/3, he kept finding the tin again and again, making 6 errors and giving away 2 strokes, that’s 8 points offered on a silver plate. 11/7 for Diego.
But strangely enough, the Peruvian seemed to play along with that fast ridiculous pace that characterises the Egyptian, instead of imposing a more settled squash he is more comfortable with. 13m first game, 12m second, 11/5 Karim.
Diego is in control it seems in the 3rd, 2/0, 5/1. The Egyptian is allowed to play some ridiculous squash, and a new shot at 5/6…
It looks even better from the front 🤩@karimabdelgawad #OptasiaChampionships pic.twitter.com/XEoXVTCml1
— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) March 22, 2023
And close we are again, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9. Game ball for the Peruvian, saved by a lucky shot that take the corner of the court. 10/10.
At that point, a few calls, ending with strokes for the Egyptian, confirmed by the ref, twice, 12/10 in a 20m game, and a very unhappy Diego, who as he came back on court, quickly fell 0-4 down in the fourth before offering his hand in retirement.
“It was in the second rally of the match, I felt a pain in my leg like I’ve never felt before. I don’t know what it was and I was really worried. I tried to carry on but it didn’t seem to get better and I was worrying about it. I thought best to stop in the 4th because I was getting annoyed at the ref, at myself, and that’s not good for me. It’s really strange, I never had a pain like that, I don’t know what it is.
“Of course, I wish him all the best with the recovery. Diego has been playing unbelievable squash for the last couple of years, he has been improving every month, and he is now the World No.2. Any time soon, I think he will be World No.1.
“I wish him the best for recovery. In the beginning, I saw the physio going to him between each game, but even with the injury, he was moving very, very well “He is a very dangerous player on the court. He is a great player on court and a great person off it, so first of all, the best to him for the recovery.”