World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad captured his first PSA World Tour title
since January after the 25-year-old defeated fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen
in the final of the Life Time Hutkay.fit Houston Open, PSA M70
Gawad, who will become the fifth Egyptian of all time to top the World
Rankings next month, earned his place in the title decider courtesy of
wins over Pakistani qualifier Nasir Iqbal, Australian No.1 Ryan Cuskelly
and World No.9 Fares Dessouky.
World No.11 Momen, meanwhile, was appearing in his first Tour final
since Decemberís Channel VAS Championship and defeated Reuben Phillips,
former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez and the in-form Mohamed Abouelghar en route to the final.
But it was Gawad who took the spoils courtesy of an 11-6, 5-11, 11-8,
11-6 victory at the Life Time Athletic Club to lift the fifth title of a
trophy-laden season for the man from Giza.
Top seed Karim Abdel Gawad continued to cruise through the draw at the
Life Time Fitness Hutkay.fit Houston Open to secure his place in the
2017 tournament decider, where he will take on compatriot Tarek Momen
for the spoils.
Up against Fares Dessouky, who this month broke into the top ten for the
first time in his career, Gawad recovered from a slow start that saw him
drop the opening game 9-11 to come through a comfortable 3-1 winner.
Momen meanwhile was equally impressive as he swept aside Mohamed
Abouelghar in straight games to reach his first tournament final since
December 2016 - where he will be aiming to collect his first PSA title
There was Egyptian domination during the quarter-finals of the Life Time
Fitness Hutkay.fit Houston Open as number one seed Karim Abdel Gawad led
a clean sweep alongside compatriots Fares Dessouky, Tarek Momen and
Mohamed Abouelghar into the semi-finals of the PSA M70 tournament.
Gawad, who will next month overtake Gregory Gaultier atop the PSA World
Rankings, battled through against tough Australian left-hander Ryan
Cuskelly to prevail 3-1 and set up a last four showdown with Dessouky,
the 22-year-old who impressed as he battled back from losing the opening
game to defeat New Zealand's Paul Coll 3-1.
The bottom half of the draw saw Mohamed Abouelghar, who this month broke
into the top 20 for the first time in his career, end the run of
tournament Wildcard Mazen Hesham courtesy of a 3-0 victory - just 24
hours after Hesham had stunned former World No.1 James Willstrop.
Momen meanwhile came through a speedy and unorthodox affair with
Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez, winning 3-1, to secure his place
alongside Abouelghar in the semi-finals.
In just his second tournament since returning to competitive PSA World
Tour action following a six month injury absence, Egyptian Mazen Hesham
scored a major first round upset to knock former World No.1 James
Willstrop out of the Life Time Fitness Hutkay.fit Houston Open, PSA M70
Tournament wildcard Hesham, currently ranked World No.47, overcame a gap
of 41 positions on the World Rankings to defeat Willstrop in straight
games courtesy of his unorthodox style and maverick shot making
After taking the first two games for the loss of just six points the
23-year-old withstood a Willstrop resurgence to come through a tense
third game tie-break and set up a quarter-final encounter with
compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar - who squeezed past another Englishman,
Nathan Lake, 3-2.
Tarek Momen made it a trio of Egyptian winners on the night as he
dispatched Reuben Phillips in three while former World No.4 Miguel Angel
Rodriguez avoided another shock first round exit as he battled back from
2-1 down to defeat Mexican Arturo Salazar.
There were no upsets to be found on the opening day of main draw action
at the Life Time Fitness Hutkay.fit Houston Open as World Champion Karim
Abdel Gawad led his fellow seeds into the quarter-final stage of the PSA
M70 tournament taking place at the Life Time Athletic Club.
Gawad, the 25-year-old from Giza who will become World No.1 next month,
found it tough going in the early stages of his first round encounter
with Pakistani qualifier Nasir Iqbal - who was making his first Tour
appearance in 14 months - and fell a game behind after losing on the
But the talented Egyptian soon found his range to gain control of the
match and he took the next three games without reply to record an 11-13,
11-4, 11-3, 11-7 victory.
Gawad will pit his wits against World No.14 Ryan Cuskelly in the last
eight after Cuskellyís first round encounter with Farhan Mehboob was cut
short due to an injury to the man from Pakistan, with Cuskelly - a
semi-finalist here last year - two games up at the time.
The other quarter-final fixture in the top half of the draw will feature
Egyptís World No.9 Fares Dessouky and World No.13 Paul Coll from New
Zealand, with the pair set to contest a thrilling match in Houston as
they battle for a share of the $70,000 prize fund - a $20,000 increase
compared to last yearís tournament.
Dessouky only just snuck through against Collís compatriot, World No.39
Campbell Grayson, to take it 11-9 in the fifth, while Coll eased past
World No.24 Zahed Mohamed to seal his quarter-final berth.