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Gaultier lunged for a retrieval

GC Cup: Masterclass From Gaultier To See Off Farag

Defending champion Gregory Gaultier produced a masterclass performance to see off the very dangerous Ali Farag and move into the final of the 2016 Grasshopper Cup where he will look to retain the title he won in style 12 months ago.

In the duo’s only two previous meetings Gaultier had emerged triumphant by the skin of his neck, coming through in fifth game tie-breakers on both occasions, but he shot out of the blocks in Zurich, playing with pace and intent from the first exchanges in what was a high quality opening game that went the way of the Frenchman 11-5.

Gaultier soon doubled his advantage to hold a commanding lead but was guilty of a lapse of concentration in the third which allowed Farag, who cut a frustrated figure on court as he searched for a way through the World Champion, the chance to attack and get himself back into the game. The Egyptian duly delivered and received a huge reception from the crowd as he forced a fourth and what was a game of supremely high quality.

However it started with the Egyptian 1-0 down courtesy of a conduct stroke, awarded after he disagreed passionately with the game ball decision on a dubious double bounce, but he composed himself quickly and battled through to force a climactic tie-break that had the crowd holding their breath. With game ball in hand the Egyptian failed to convert and was made to pay as Gaultier surged back to move into the final where either Simon Rösner or Marwan ElShorbagy will await.

“I think I played quite well today and I was moving well which really helped me,” said Gaultier.

“I think the match yesterday helped give me some rhythm which helped me today. He’s already a top class player – he’s ten years younger than me.

“I lost my focus a little in the third and I maybe got too greedy and tried to go short to early. I had to get my basics back in the fourth and it was a matter of just a few crucial points in the end. I’m happy with the performance and the way I am moving – I felt today was the first time I was moving well without any pain after the injury.”

After the match Farag spoke to the crowd and said: “I apologise to the referee and the crowd for my behaviour today as that’s not who I am.”

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [7] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10 (61m)

The pair share an embrace at the end of the match

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