Thursday,20 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1372, (7 - 13 December 2017)
Thursday,20 June, 2019
Issue 1372, (7 - 13 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Smash hits

Abdel-Gawwad (right) vs Mathew
Al-Ahram Weekly

Egypt’s men’s squash team are the new Team World Champions after beating defending champions England 2-0 in the final clash which took place in Marseille, France.

As usual, the Egyptian squash players dominated the championships as they outclassed their opponents en route to the final to meet their arch-rivals England.

The defending champions England and top seeds Egypt contested the final of the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship for the third time in a row after prevailing in the semi-finals of the biennial World Squash Federation event in Marseille without dropping a match.

England, the second seeds, overcame their great opponents Australia 3-0 while favourites Egypt saw off surprise semi-finalists Hong Kong China – the fifth seeds who shocked hosts France in the quarter-finals.
According to the regulations, the team games are played out of three matches. With Egypt winning the first two, there was no need to play the third. The Pharaohs had already confirmed their victory.

Karim Abdel-Gawwad overpowered Nick Matthew 3-0 (11-9, 11-3, 11-7) in the first match in just 34 minutes. The beginning of the match was very close, with the two players battling hard for each rally. Abdel-Gawwad made a few unforced errors which allowed Matthew to stay in touch but he nevertheless found himself with three game balls at 10-7. The Wolf saved the first two but the Egyptian converted thanks to a wicked attacking boast.

The Egyptian squash team

The second game started very well for Abdel-Gawwad who took a comfortable lead while the Englishman seemed to be hindered in his movement and conceded, 11-2. Matthew took a three-minute injury break and then was back on court. But Abdel-Gawwad threw the ball at the front at will to test his opponent. Matthew managed to claw back from 3-6 to 6-6, but Abdel-Gawwad didn’t let go and concluded the game in his favour, 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 in 34 minutes.

The second match saw Ali Farag knock down James Willstrop, another 3-0 (11-5, 11-9, 11-5) in just 37 minutes. Willstrop had not played many “live” matches this week, however, he went on court with only one option: win to keep his team’s hopes alive to retain the world title. But his younger opponent Farag started the match relentlessly, imposing his pace and taking a commanding lead from the start. Despite a mini fight-back from the tall Englishman, it was first game to Egypt, 11-5.

But Willstrop is known not only for his accuracy but also for his fighting abilities, which he showed at the beginning of the second game. He made a few unforced errors though, and fell a few points behind. He clawed back to 9-10, but Farag’s boast gave him a two-game lead.

Egypt thus was one game away from a fourth WTC title. Willstrop was visibly tired but he continued to fight incredibly hard although Farag was dominating most of the rallies. The inevitable happened and the Egyptian won 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 and Egypt were crowned winners.

The Marwan Al-Shorbagi vs Daryl Selby clash was therefore not played.

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