R3: Karim 3-1 Greg L

[5] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1 Greg Lobban (SCO)  6-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-7 (38m)

So strange when the players come with their families. At breakfast this morning, I saw Farah, Karim’s wife and their baby boy Youssef, born in July last year, who actually wailed his little bike off the first time he saw me, bless him. And Karim was pushing his bike, completely relaxed, like 2h before his match.

And that’s what makes those events so special for those guys, like Tarek, Ali, and I remember Simon Rosner, Karim Darwish, playing in Gouna with their young families. It’s still hard work, but it’s also a relaxed atmosphere that allows them to be at their best squash level.

Well, Karim not going the best of starters, God love him, Greg was on fire today, and played sublime and fast squash, leaving the Egyptian at 6/6 to quickly score 5 points, 11/6 in 11m. It would be the longest game of the match.

Now complete up for the match, and in exquisite mode, Karim “nous a régalé”, delighted us with the squash only him and maybe Ramy could produce: 11/2, 11/3 in 5 and 6 minutes.

But in the 4th, Karim started to slower the pace a bit, and lost his urgency. Greg, who was very fiery and frustrated with his inability to make a difference in games 2 and 3, took all his chances, managed to get Karim in longer rallies, and played the squash he was able to play, and it was the best game of the match. Fast, accurate, four corners. Loved it.

But 7/7, Karim put his foot down and connected his brain to the racquet, 11/7, 9m.

Great atmosphere on the court and off court, with plenty of non Egyptian Master players and tourists, who were supporting Greg and making it a lovely ‘vibe’…


He got a lot of great opportunities in the 1st and 4th game, where I didn’t have my tactic right.

In the 4th, I got too confident in my game, a bit passive, and tried to play winning shots from totally wrong positions. And Greg started to play amazing squash again, he is in great form. You can’t underestimate him, and if you play bad shots, he’ll crucifies you.

So from 7/7 in the 4th, I tried to be more patient and give myself the chance to win the points, making 100% sure that I was not going to give him easy tins or a chance to get to the front and hit a winner.

I’m pleased with the way I handle my mental focus at the end, I didn’t want to lose the 4th game against an opponent as talented and fiered up as he was!

Supposed to meet Paul or Greg M in the quarters on that glass, whoever player will be a tough opponent. I’m looking forward to my next match and I will concentrate 100% on court.

I have only good memories from Gouna, that’s where I became world number one, but more important, that’s where I met my wife. I enjoy the tournament here, it’s such a nice atmosphere, so glad to be here with Farah and Youssef my son…