SF: Karim stops Baptiste in 3….

Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-0 Baptiste Masotti (Fra)  11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (42m)

Baptiste won’t be happy with his game tonight. Not that he particularly did much wrong. But tonight, Karim was going Karim ‘dans toute sa splendeur’, in all his glory.

Of course the Egyptian made a few regrouped errors. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t know it was Karim, now would we. But he was as usual so laid back, so calm, so himself, Baptiste was struggling to get fired up.

A weird moment in the first game: after a splendid start from Karim – and a very nervous Baptiste, unable to really hit the ball deep – 5/0, 7/1.

From 7/3 onwards, so that’s 9 points up to 11/8 to Karim, not a single winner: 4 errors from Karim, one stroke in his favour, and 3 errors from Baptiste. 13m of Karim being Karim, and Baptiste ending frustrated with himself as he just couldn’t contain his opponent, despite several “Allez”.

The second will be heartbreaking for the Frenchman, as he managed to utilise a little drop of focus from his opponent to his advantage, finding exquisite shots and putting Karim under so much pressure, 7/3.

But a bit like Tesni Evans in DPD Open, when she lost in about 20m against Nour El Sherbini and commented “she’s having a laugh”, Baptiste was in fact – like Shorbagy so many times – admiring his opponent shot making.

It was a great match for us to watch. But Baptiste just couldn’t find any answers to that kind of squash tonight.

8 points in a row for the Egyptian, straight to 11/7. 15m hard work. And the Frenchman was down 2/0.

A great pride response in the third from my compatriot, 3/0, 4/2, 6/3, 8/5. But again, from that point on, it’s 6 points in a row, 11/8, game and match, 11m. And not a single error from Karim in that last game… (4 in the 1st and 3 in the second).


“I played Baptiste two or three years ago in Chicago, and there is a huge difference in the way he plays. I am so happy for him, the way he has improved in the last couple of years.

“He is playing beautiful shots and he has matured at the same time so all credit to him and I wish him luck in the next few tournaments. He is doing really well and I think that he is breaking into the top ten soon.

“It is great, and I am now in a new experience, I have never been out of the court for a year. This is a new experience and I am still learning. I am happy to be back into a final again, I haven’t been in one for a while now so to be back from injury and in the finals is great! I am still hoping to win the tournament tomorrow, of course.

“Youssef and I played last March in the final in Pakistan, it is always a tough match against him. He is playing well, almost breaking the top ten, so it will be a great match tomorrow and I am looking forward to it.”