The 18 year old Egyptian wunderkind, Karim Abdel Gawad prevailed after four games 1-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 in 65 minutes against stiff opposition from Englishman Tom Pashley to emerge victorious as the 2010 Rochester ProAm Champion. Another travel casualty of the volcanic ash mess last week after his flight from Cairo via Germany was cancelled, the Egyptian teenager eventually made the long trip to Rochester via a direct Cairo-NYC flight followed by a 7 hour bus ride from NYC to Rochester reaching in the wee hours of the morning last Tuesday. With barely a day and a half to recover from travel fatigue and jetlag, Abdel Gawad played some tough matches throughout the tournament including two 5 set matches, one against qualifier Oliver Pett in the first round that lasted 111 minutes! This is his 4th PSA title since he joined the tour in 2008.
Match recap by Thomson Chew:
Game 1: Tom Pashley controls the game with steady rails and cross courts. He produces few errors while Karim appears lethargic and hits several unforced errors to give Tom a commanding lead and the game 11 – 1.
Game 2: A new strategy appears from Karim in game two. He stays patient and hammers tight forehand rails and directs soft drop shots at the crucial time to win the points. Both players are working hard with several multi-minute points exchanged. Karim’s tenacity begins to wear down Tom who is struggling now to stay on offense. The game is at 2 – 10 in favor of Karim. Instead of giving up Tom hustles to regain the match with several winners and a few unforced errors from Karim helping him to reach 9 – 10. On the next point Karim closes the game with one of his front right wall volley drop shot that Tom cannot reach in time. Karim wins 11 – 9.
Game 3: Both players come out running with points getting exchanged back and forth to 5 – 5. Tom pulls ahead on the next two points due to his tough shot placements that forced Karim to tin twice. The game turns again to Karim’s favor after a very long point that pushed both players around the four corners before Karim wins it. A stroke given to Tom equals the score at 9 – 9. Another long point ensues, but Tom fails to capitalize on a potential winner by driving his low cross court into the top of the tin. He wins the next point and at 10 – 10 the game continues with two great rallies. Tom cannot pull it out and loses 10 – 12.
Game 4: Karim starts off aggressively and gains a 4 – 0 lead before Tom settles down to control the play. He gets to 5 – 5 but hits a tin to give Karim the lead again. Both players work hard for their points and appear to be on course for another score like game 3. Karim continues to mix his hard low drives along the rails with either a boast or delicate drop shot to the front corners. This continues to force Tom to cover the long diagonals and subsequently, he is stretching far and trying to recover in time for Karim’s replies. The score is 10 – 8 for Karim. The match point begins with both players pushing the ball around the court. Tom places a drop shot to the front left corner and hedges his position for a counter drop. Karim decides to hit a wide cross court that gets beyond a diving Tom for the winner. Karim wins 11 – 8 and the match 3 games to 1.
Both players put on a great match and a fantastic tournament. The local squash fans received a week of entertaining squash from all the pros. We wish them good luck in their upcoming tournaments and welcome them back to Rochester anytime.
Photos by Paul Schwartz.
Photos from Pro final and Awards Presentation:
Photos from Amateur finals:
5.0 Main Draw: Edwin Goncharuk bt. Chris Fennell
5.0 Consolation: Alex Green bt. Thomson Chew
4.0 Main Draw: Tyler Kurlas bt. Michael Haben
4.0 Consolation: Brent Dubeshter bt. Austin Gilbert
3.0 Final: Chris Fenlon bt. Rick Sweeting