Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad has been named as the Men’s PSA November Player of the Month after the mercurial 25-year-old fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming World Champion in addition to capturing a maiden World Series title at the Qatar Classic – breaking into the world’s top two in the process.
Gawad has been the in-form player on the PSA World Tour so far this season and continued his ascent to stardom by lifting the sport’s most illustrious prize – the PSA Men’s World Championship – in Cairo.
The ‘Babyfaced Assassin’ almost dropped out of the tournament at the first hurdle, but overturned a 2-0 deficit against England’s Nathan Lake in round one to advance, before seeing off compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar and Hong Kong’s Max Lee to set up a last eight clash with three-time winner Nick Matthew.
Gawad had lost out to Matthew just three weeks previously in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open but, with Matthew hampered by illness, he avenged that defeat and followed it up by securing his first ever win over World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the semi-final to set up a showdown with countryman Ramy Ashour for the coveted title.
After Gawad went 2-1 up in an absorbing encounter, Ashour sustained a reoccurrence of the hamstring injuries that have ravaged the last few years of his career, and he was forced to retire, ensuring that Gawad became the third Egyptian to lift the prestigious trophy after Amr Shabana and Ashour himself.
There was no let up for Gawad though as he headed to the Qatar just over a week later and he extended his superb form to reach the final in Doha, where he beat ElShorbagy once more to capture a first ever World Series crown and top the PSA Road to Dubai Standings, where only the top eight qualifiers will earn a place at the season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals.
Meanwhile, Tesni Evans of Wales is the Women’s PSA November Player of the Month after she battled through from qualification to reach the semi-final stage of the Wadi Degla Open, PSA W50 tournament.
Evans began the tournament in the qualifying stages, but produced 3-0 wins over both Dina Farid and Nele Gilis to reach the main draw. A huge win over World No.17 Delia Arnold then followed for the Cardiff-born 24-year-old and she added fellow qualifier Salma Hany to her list of conquests to secure her last four berth.
Her tournament came to an end at the hands of World No.3 Nouran Gohar in the semi-final stage, but Evans was rewarded for her fine performances with a seven-place increase in her World Ranking as she moved to within one place of the world’s top 20.