Egypt’s former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad secured his place in the quarter finals of the CIB Egyptian Squash Open courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Hong Kong’s World No.26 Leo Au in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.
The former World Champion, who reigned victorious at the last tournament to take place in front of the Pyramids back in 2016, showed that he was in comfortable territory as despite Au taking the lead, Gawad was able to raise the pace to take the opener.
Au came out fighting in the second to use his lob and drop style of play to frustrate the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ as he drew level. However, Gawad started strongly in the third to regain the lead.
A 5-0 deficit in the fourth almost saw World No.4 Gawad pushed to five games, however, he managed to turn things around with his experience to close out the victory and set up a quarter final showdown with compatriot and World No.10 Marwan ElShorbagy.
“Leo played some amazing squash and he didn’t give any chance for some of the rallies,” said Gawad afterwards.
“He was playing tactical and this cold weather works well for his game. He likes to lob and drop and this is the perfect condition for his game. He gave me a very hard time on court today, I didn’t find any game plan or rhythm, but at least I’m happy to get through to the quarters.
“It’s very special to be here. I remember coming here 18 years ago to watch Ahmed Barada play and I just wanted to go on court, so coming back here after 2016 at this amazing venue is just great and I have to thank all the amazing sponsors and CIB for bringing this back and doing such an amazing event.
“Marwan is a very tough opponent, I’m glad to see back playing in the tournaments. He is very clever and plays some amazing squash – playing him in the quarters here is great and I’m sure I’ll be ready to play him again.”
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9 (48m)