In an anticlimactic end to a thrilling 2013 Motor City Open presented by the Suburban Collection, Egypt's Amr Shabana assured that his name will be engraved on the PSA International 70 event trophy for the first time after fellow countryman Karim Darwish retired midway through the second game of the final at Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, USA.
The win takes the illustrious four-time world champion from Cairo's career PSA World Tour title haul to 31 - stretching his lead as the top 20 player with the most titles.
It was after seeing off defending champion and fellow Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, the world No5, in the semis that Shabana - currently ranked eight in the world - appeared set for his toughest challenge: World No6 and 2010 MCO winner Darwish in a championship match between two former world number ones.
But Shabana, who had dropped only one game in his first three matches in Detroit, jumped out to an early 6-2 lead. After cutting the deficit to 4-6, Darwish tinned three of his next four shots as his opponent closed out the opening game 11-4 in just nine minutes.
Darwish came out firing in game two, nabbing a quick 6-1 lead. But in the ensuing rally, the 31-year-old from Cairo grabbed his calf in apparent discomfort.
"It was very sore before the match," said Darwish later. "I thought when I warmed up it was going to get better, but after lunging a few times in the second game I think I pulled a calf muscle."
After trying to stretch it out, Darwish decided not to risk further injury. The former champion retired 25 minutes into the match, handing left-hander Shabana his first MCO title, 11-4, 2-6 (ret).
"I knew he had a tough, physical game yesterday against Omar Mosaad," said the new champion. "And I knew if I had a good start it would help me a lot.
"More credit to him because he came back and managed to get ahead. I think he pushed himself on a lunge and it's a shame - but it's part of the sport."
Yet, the standing-room-only crowd didn't go home disappointed: "Good-sport Shabana beckoned local BAC pro Julian Wellings, a former world No46, to suit up for a friendly two-out-of-three," explained event spokesman James Hawkins. "Like every match in the tournament, Shabana won the exhibition, too - 12-10, 11-4."
For his week's work, Shabana walked away with a cheque for $13,300 and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer watch worth $6,000 - courtesy of Greenstone's Jewellers.
"I love coming here," 33-year-old Shabana said. "Unfortunately the last two times I came here, I pulled out. But I was just dying to get my name on that championship banner with all those great names."
The title is Shabana's second PSA World Tour victory of the month after successfully defending his ATCO PSA World Series Finals crown three weeks ago in London.
"I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year. After a few years with injuries and motivational problems, to be able to win two out of three tournaments, I'm very happy," added Shabana.
Darwish, who was looking to win his second MCO crown, took home the runners-up cheque of $11,200. "This tournament is one of the best events in the United States and I always enjoy playing here. I wanted to play a good match today but unfortunately couldn't," he said. "Hopefully I can come back next year and win it."