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.
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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.”