World No.3 Gregory Gaultier lifted the UCS Swedish Open title for the
third time in his career after he overturned a one-game deficit to
defeat World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the final in Linköping -
bringing an end to the Egyptian’s 19-match unbeaten run.
Defending champion Gawad, the 25-year-old from Giza, looked to be on
course to lift a fourth successive PSA World Tour title to add to his
World Championship, Qatar Classic and Tournament of Champions titles -
the latter of which saw him beat Gaultier in the final - after he pulled
away at the end of game one to take the lead.
However, a stunning response from Gaultier saw the 34-year-old storm
back into contention, with a masterful display seeing him ease to
victories in games two and three - without dropping a single point in
the latter - before he came out on top of an absorbing battle in the
fourth and final game to lift his 35th career PSA World Tour title
courtesy of a 7-11, 11-3, 11-0, 11-8 victory.
"I pushed as hard as possible to grab the win, he's obviously been
winning in the last three tournaments and he's the World Champion, so
all credit to him, he's an amazing player," said Gaultier.
chasing the World No.1 spot and I wish him good luck to get it. I know
this feeling and he is a super talented player. I'm sure he is going to
"I'm glad I managed to play well here and I'm really happy to come here
and support the event. I first came here when I was 18-years-old and now
I'm 34. I came to the first edition, so I'm really faithful to the
tournament and I will keep being faithful as the tournament keeps
Gawad, meanwhile, took time out to praise the new champion, saying: "I
had a tough week here, but all credit to Greg, he played some amazing
squash today. He was the better player throughout the match, so all
credit to him
"Since I won the Swedish Open last year, I have had a great season, and
to reach the final here again is a great feeling.
"I've had a very tough season and a very tough last six or seven
tournaments. This tournament I played well and reached the final.
Chicago [the Windy City Open] is very close from now, so hopefully I
will be able to reach another final and play as well as I have been
playing for the last few tournaments."
triumph sees him move past England’s three-time World Champion Nick
Matthew to become the sole occupier of third place on the list of the
most successful active players on the PSA World Tour – just three titles
behind World No.5 Ramy Ashour, who is in second place.
New Zealand’s World No.191 Mike Corren is currently the most successful
active player on the PSA World Tour with 51 Tour titles to his name.
champion Karim Abdel Gawad and two-time winner Gregory Gaultier will
lock horns in the final of the 2017 UCS Swedish Open after they both
claimed wins on semi-finals day at the PSA M70 tournament held in
Gawad - who triumphed over fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen in last year’s
final - went a game down to Scotland’s World No.34 Alan Clyne in his
last four clash after Clyne displayed some inch-perfect width and
Gawad adapted his tactics to target Clyne’s forehand side, and the
change in approach paid dividends as he crashed a series of drives into
the back right corner, before going in for the kill at the front. The
World No.2 took the next three games without reply to seal a 10-12,
11-4, 11-8, 11-5 and keep his hopes of lifting a fourth straight PSA
World Tour title alive.
"I didn’t want to play a very long match today, I had a very tough one
yesterday, so I wanted to keep as much energy for tomorrow’s match in
the final," said Gawad.
"I played Greg twice last month, once in an exhibition and once in ToC.
Now we’re playing in the Swedish Open for a third time, and it’s tough
to play him three times in 30 days.
"But I enjoyed playing him, I’ve had a lot of experience playing him
before and now I’m competing with him. I got the last win, so hopefully
tomorrow I can get another one."
- a winner here in 2012 and 2013 - earned his place in a fourth career
Swedish Open final after he came out on top in an entertaining clash
with German No.1 Simon Rösner.
It was a high-quality match from the off as both players exchanged
points with gusto, with some delicate touches and physically demanding
rallies captivating spectators at the
And it was Gaultier who held his nerve towards the end of all three
games to edge the tall World No.10 by an 11-9, 13-11, 11-8 margin.
happy to be in another final, especially here," the Frenchman said.
"I’ve been here for so many years, since the first edition 16 years ago.
I was a kid back then, 18-years-old, so I always try and play it. I’ve
missed it once or twice because of injuries, but otherwise I always try
to come here.
"For us, it’s not too far away and it’s good to motivate people from
Europe to organise tournaments. That’s why it’s important for me to come
here. People are always warm here, you feel really welcome and they do
everything to make you feel comfortable."
Gawad and Gaultier last met in January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions final, where an absorbing contest ended in a 3-1 win to Gawad
in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
The quarter-final stage of the 2017 UCS Swedish Open saw just two of the
four scheduled matches go ahead as planned, with title holder Karim
Abdel Gawad and World No.3 Gregory Gaultier beating Australia’s Cameron
Pilley and Egypt’s Tarek Momen, respectively, in Linköping.
Injuries to both England’s Daryl Selby and Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet
earlier on in the day saw them pull out of their respective last eight
fixtures with Germany’s Simon Rösner and Scotland’s Alan Clyne - both of
whom received walkovers to reach the last four - but the two remaining
matches produced a veritable feast of top-class squash action for an
enraptured set of spectators.
and Pilley contested a 99-minute thriller that saw World Champion Gawad
- who is aiming for a fourth straight PSA World Tour title - go 2-1 up
and match ball up in the fourth game, before the World No.2 was forced
off court after a sustaining a head injury during a seemingly innocuous
clash with Pilley at the front of the court.
After Gawad returned, Pilley managed to save two further match balls to
level the scores, before Gawad finally managed to shake off his
tenacious opponent to wrap up an 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-6 victory,
reaching the last four for the second successive year where he will take
"I went to the ball really quickly, he was going away from the ball
really quickly, so it was normal interference," said Gawad about his
"Unfortunately, my head hit his back. I was okay, then I walked back and
it was very blurry and I couldn’t see very well. I was a little bit
dizzy, so I couldn’t stand on my legs.
"But after five or six minutes I was feeling good, I was walking well
and seeing well so I went back on court. Sometimes it happens and all
you can do is try to regroup and play a normal game. It doesn’t matter
if you’re 2-1 up and match ball up. It’s just one game, so in the fifth
game you go on and you play like it’s the first game."
meanwhile, battled back from two games down to defeat Egyptian
opposition for the second tournament in a row.
The ‘French General’, who fell to the same deficit against Fares
Dessouky at last month’s Tournament of Champions before coming back to
win, was outfought and outclassed in the early stages as an attacking
masterclass from Momen saw the Egyptian surge into a two-game lead.
However, Gaultier recovered from his sluggish start to force Momen in an
all-out battle for supremacy, with the 34-year-old’s abundance of
experience shining through as he claimed a hard-fought 3-11, 7-11, 11-5,
13-11, 11-2 victory to set up a semi-final meeting with Rösner.
"I wasn’t there today, I was really struggling and I couldn’t see the
ball," said Gaultier.
"I was playing the wrong shots, everything was loose. I had to be
patient and play the ball into the two back corners until something
happened. That paid off at the end.
"In the fifth game I was playing point by point, I wasn’t thinking too
far ahead, I was just focusing on each shot. As long as your head is
still there, you keep fighting to the last point."
England’s World No.14 Daryl Selby has withdrawn from his 2017 UCS
Swedish Open quarter-final clash with German No.1 Simon Rösner due to an
The pair were due to contest the first of the four quarter-final
fixtures at the PSA M70 tournament held in Linköping, but Selby, who
turned his ankle during his first round match with Egypt’s Omar Abdel
Meguid in round one, has been forced into an early exit.
"I’m gutted to have to withdraw before my quarter-final match with Simon
Rösner in the Swedish Open," said Selby.
"Sorry to all spectators and organisers."
As a result, Rösner progresses to the semi-finals, where he will take on
either World No.3 Gregory Gaultier or World No.8 Tarek Momen for a place
in the final.
Draw – Quarter-Finals: 2017 UCS Swedish Open
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Daryl Selby (ENG) - walkover
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
but one of the top eight seeds on the opening day of action at the 2017
UCS Swedish Open made it to the quarter-finals unscathed, with former
World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez being the only seed to miss out after
he fell to Scotland’s Alan Clyne in Linköping.
Clyne, the World No.34, was without a win in his last three PSA World
Tour events, but recovered from a game down to win in four, ending a
six-match losing streak against World No.13 Rodriguez to move into the
last eight of the Swedish Open for the first time.
"Miguel was playing well at the start and he wasn’t letting me off with
any loose balls," said Clyne.
"Gradually, we had some really tough rallies in the second. That was a
really important game and I was glad I managed to sneak that. After
that, I came out pretty well and I was happy with the way I managed to
finish it off against a player like Miguel.
"We’ve had some close matches before. I watched the last match we
played, which was in Colombia and was 3-2, and I felt like I had a
really good chance to win that. I felt like I knew how to win, I just
had to execute it and thankfully I did that."
champion Karim Abdel Gawad got his 2017 campaign off to a winning start
after he swept past Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan in straight games.
Gawad, the current World Champion who is looking for a fourth successive
PSA World Tour title, came up against a resilient Adnan in the opening
game as both players traded points on the penultimate match of the
evening, with Gawad eventually taking it for the loss of eight points.
It was all one-way traffic in the second as Gawad dropped just four
points en route to doubling his lead. Adnan battled back in the third,
with some consistent play seeing him wrack up a series of points against
the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’, but Gawad held him off to take it 11-9 and
move into the last eight, where he will face Australian No.1 Cameron
"I enjoy playing here so much, it’s one of the best courts and best
atmospheres," said World No.2 Gawad said.
"It’s amazing to play here. I enjoy my squash so much on this court and
in front of this crowd.
"I watched Nafiizwan play over the past few tournaments, he has beaten
some very tough players and he is one of the top players also, so he’s
very tough to play and I am glad to get through to the quarters with a
secured safe passage through to the quarter-finals thanks to a 3-0 win
over Welsh qualifier Joel Makin.
The tall World No.17 dominated the centre of the court throughout and
was clinical as he capitalised on any loose shots from Makin to build on
early leads in games one and two to go 2-0 up. Makin started the better
of the two in the third game and he dug in and began to build up a
series of points, only to see Pilley shut up shop and see out the win by
an 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 margin.
"It was tough out there, Joel picks up a lot of balls that you feel
would win the rally two or three times," Pilley said.
"I had to play some quality straight hitting to keep him from using his
speed and using the angles, and I was able to do that for most of the
match. He got stuck in there in the third, started to play some really
good squash, so I had to knuckle down and try to close it out in three."
World No.3 Gregory Gaultier put any worries about his fitness to bed as
he opened up his Swedish Open campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 win over
qualifier Joe Lee setting up a quarter-final clash with Egypt’s Tarek
Gaultier struggled with a glute injury in the latter stages of last
month’s Tournament of Champions, but was exquisite as he dismantled Lee,
playing a free-flowing style that saw him at his very best as he
countered and controlled the court, picking out winner after winner with
“Today I was moving well, I didn’t come here last year and I was gutted
because I had an injury that kept me away for a long time,” said the
Frenchman who has won this title twice.
“I started mentally fresh again this year. I’m very motivated here, I
played well in New York and I’m in a good mood, so I am hoping to play
Gaultier’s compatriot, Mathieu Castagnet, made his return from a
three-month injury lay-off with a 3-1 win over tournament wildcard
Rasmus Hult, and he will meet Clyne in the last eight.
England’s Daryl Selby and German No.1 Simon Rösner were the other
winners on day one after they beat Omar Abdel Meguid and Adrian Waller,
respectively, and they will face off for a place in the last four.
Qualification at the 2017 UCS Swedish Open came to a close in Linköping
this evening with British squash players enjoying success in all four
encounters as English trio Joe Lee, Declan James and Adrian Waller were
joined by Welshman Joel Makin in the main draw of the PSA M70
Lee, the number six qualifying seed, produced an impressive performance
to get past French number two seed Lucas Serme in straight games, while
James was forced to come from behind to win a testing five-game,
80-minute encounter with Spaniard Iker Pajares Bernabeu.
James will hope to carry that momentum into a first round encounter with
Tarek Momen, runner-up here twelve months ago, while Lee earns a first
round match up with 2015 World Champion Gregory Gaultier.
Waller also had to battle his way through a five-game final
qualification match, with German Raphael Kandra being the victim, while
Makin, the number eight seed, edged his way past Egyptian Mohamed Reda
in a tense four-game encounter, recovering from dropping the first to
secure the victory courtesy of 13-11 wins in the third and fourth games.
Makin will face Cameron Pilley in the first round, with Waller going up
against Simon Rösner.