World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad moved past compatriot Marwan El Shorbagy to earn his place in the semi-finals of the PSA Dubai World Series Finals.
The 25-year-old was in stunning form throughout the contest, and despite being three game balls down in the second, El Shorbagy looked to be suffering with illness as Gawad fought back to claim the win.
“I didn’t have the best start to the tournament,” said Gawad. “I just wanted to be on court as much as I could. I didn’t expect to get to the semi-finals, especially at the top of the group.”
Elsewhere, France’s Camille Serme survived a tense winner-takes-all encounter with last year’s runner-up Raneem El Welily to top Group A.
Despite taking two wins from her first two matches, Serme had to beat El Welily to progress to the semi-finals, with the Egyptian now out of the event.
“I can barely realise that I’ve made it,” said a delighted Serme, who had only won two of her previous 12 matches with El Welily.
“You can count on one hand the times I’ve beaten her, so I’ll take this one. It could have gone either way, it was so close and I had a different tactical plan from yesterday. I’m very excited for the semi-finals and will have a look at the other matches tonight to know who I will be playing.”
Meanwhile, Nouran Gohar took the other qualifying place from Group A with victory over England’s Alison Waters.
The Englishwoman did push through the gears in the second game to hold three game balls, but Gohar recovered to force a tie-break and take the game 14-12 to seal her place in the semi-finals for the first time.
“I’m really happy to have made it to the semis, it’s a dream to make it to the semis in Dubai,” said Gohar.
“I’m really happy that I get to play one more match on this beautiful court. It was mentally so tough to adapt and it was a crucial match today. To keep calm and relaxed was really important for this match.”
World No11 Simon Rösner became the first German ever to qualify for the last four after beating England’s Nick Matthew to qualify from Group A.
The 29-year-old claimed a first ever win against Matthew at the 12th time of asking, in a thrilling 39-minute battle by a 13-11, 11-8 scoreline.
“It’s huge, just qualifying for this tournament was a huge success for me,” said Rösner. “I tried to play fast today with a high accuracy level. He’s able to come back at any time, so I just tried to focus and concentrate on each point. I’m just glad I made it.”
Tickets to the evening sessions, semi-finals and finals can be purchased at https://dubaiopera.etixdubai.com/shows/show.aspx?sh=PSAUMB
Results – Men’s Group A Day Three: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0: 11-7, 12-10 (33m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 2-0: 13-11, 11-8 (39m)
Results – Men’s Group B Day Three: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2-0: 12-10, 11-7 (17m)
 James Willstrop (ENG) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 2-1: 4-11, 11-9, 11-6 (40m)
Draw – Semi-Finals
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Results – Women’s Group A Day Three: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 2-0: 11-7, 7-11, 12-10 (40m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 2-0: 11-7, 14-12 (35m)
Results – Women’s Group B Day Three: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 2-1: 6-11, 12-10, 11-2 (35m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 2-1: 6-11, 11-4, 11-8 (41m)
Draw – Semi-Finals
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
Which sports star does Gohar admire most away from squash? Who would she like to play her in a movie?
The 19-year-old reveals this and more in our video above.
Camille Serme has already doubled her win total at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals as she heads into the final day of group matches in the midst of a flawless run.
The French world No3 made it two wins out of two in Group A of the women’s event after she prevailed in a thriller with World Junior champion Nouran Gohar, 2-1, in the first session of play at Dubai Opera Wednesday.
Both players had claimed wins on day one, with Serme beating England’s Alison Waters and Gohar getting the better of World Championship runner-up Raneem El Welily.
And it was Serme who moved clear at the top of the group, taking the opening game, and having two match balls in the second, before a determined Gohar forced a tie-break and recovered from two further match balls down to take the match into a dramatic third game.
Serme looked to have squandered the chance after Gohar took the opportunity to move three match balls up, but a spirited fightback from the 28-year-old saw her take the fixture to another tie-break, with Serme closing out the game at the sixth attempt.
“I’m very happy, I saw myself winning, then losing, then winning again, so anything could have happened,” said Serme. “I guess we’ll know more about what’s going to happen after the second group match, but it’s already better than last year. Last year I only won one match, so it’s positive and I’m going to give it everything tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, England’s three-time world champion Nick Matthew is unlikely to make it through the group stage of the event for the second year in succession, after the 36-year-old fell to world champion Karim Abdel Gawad Wednesday.
Matthew failed to really get going against an impressive Gawad, who was clinical and accurate throughout the 21-minute contest to earn a chance of qualifying for the knockout semi-finals.
“I’m very pleased to get a 2-0 win today against one of the sport’s legends,” said Gawad.
“Nick is a really tough player to play in a best of three and he is one of the most experienced the players on the Tour.”