PSA International 25 3 Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open,
Seventh Heaven In Pittsburgh
Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad notched up the seventh - and biggest -
PSA World Tour title of his career when he defeated top seed
Alister Walker, the defending champion, in the final of the 3
Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open, the PSA International 25
squash event at Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, USA.
"The match was spectacular - perhaps the best match we have had in
recent years," reported tournament director Steve Baicker-McKee
of the climax of the fifth tournament of the 2014 US Pro Squash
Series. "The crowd literally gasped and oohed and aahed repeatedly!"
error-strewn opening game saw Walker, the world No.19 from Botswana,
take a first game lead. After second seed Gawad raced to an early lead
in the second, Walker fought back to draw level - but was unable to stop
underdog Gawad drawing level.
Buoyed by this success, the Egyptian raced to an 8-0 lead in the third
and soon closed it out to move ahead.
"Game four was a real battle, as both players knew the championship was
on the line," Baicker-McKee continued. "The game went back and forth,
with neither player managing to get ahead by more than two points. Gawad
got the first game (and match) ball at 10-9, but took a high backhand
into the top of the tin.
"Walker then scored two straight to go up 11-10, but Gawad took a
backhand short into the front left corner, and earned a no-let call. The
players then competed fiercely for court space, with a series of lets
the result, but Gawad finally closed out the match to add his name to
Walker's on the tournament trophy."
Gawad, who moved to 17 in the latest PSA World Rankings, was delighted
with his 5-11, 11-7, 11-4, 13-11 triumph after 82 minutes: "Really happy
to win Pittsburgh open against Alister Walker," tweeted the
22-year-old from Cairo to his followers. "What a wonderful week for me
Gawad Make Pittsburgh Final
Defending champion Alister Walker will contest the final of the
3 Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open for the second time when he
faces second-seeded Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad in the climax of
the PSA World Tour International 25 event - the fifth tournament
of the 2014 US Pro Squash Series - at Rivers Club in
World No.19 from Botswana survived a tough test against Tour veteran
Olli Tuominen, the 34-year-old former World No.13 from Finland.
Honours were shared after the first two games before Walker overcame a
brief lead by the fourth-seeded Finn in the third to open a 2/1 lead.
was nip and tuck in the fourth until eight-all - when top seed Walker
ran off three points in a row to clinch his 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8
victory after 69 minutes.
"Playing Olli is always tough both physically and mentally," said
US-based Walker afterwards. "Today I managed to get a very good win
because Olli has been playing very well lately having followed his
is very experienced, ever hungry and a highly-ranked player," added the
31-year-old on the eve of his 16th PSA World Tour final.
Gawad, the 22-year-old second seed is the latest Egyptian to burst into
the world top 20 - and demonstrated his prowess in an 11-7, 11-8, 6-11,
11-8 victory over third seed Nicolas Mueller, the Swiss number
one ranked 28 in the world.
"Niki and I played like twice in the juniors and once on the PSA Tour
and I was expecting a very tough battle - and here it was!" said the
World No.17 from Cairo later.
"Niki is so talented - I had to keep my eyes open and focus on each of
his shots and try to put the ball in the corners," continued Gawad, now
in the 12th Tour final of his career. "I'm very happy to win today and
looking forward to playing the finals tomorrow."
Walker and Gawad will be marking their second Tour clash - but their
first since May 2010 at the Sky Open in Gawad's home city Cairo.
Walker beat the then 18-year-old ranked outside the world top 70 in
"Tomorrow against Gawad will be very tough," said Walker. "He is
talented and can rattle off points quickly and things can get away from
you if you lose focus for a minute. We played several years ago in Cairo
but he has improved considerably since then."
Ousts Mustonen In Pittsburgh Shock
Unseeded Muhd Asyraf Azan doubled Malaysian interest in the
quarter-finals of the 3 Rivers Capital Pittsburgh Open when he
upset No.7 seed Henrik Mustonen in the PSA World Tour
International 25 event - the fifth tournament of the 2014 US Pro
Squash Series - at Rivers Club in Pittsburgh, USA.
27-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, ranked 35 in the world, defeated
Finland's World No.36 Mustonen 13-11, 6-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-6 in 44
minutes - and will now take on top seed Alister Walker for a
place in the semis.
the quickest match of the day, Botswana's US-based Walker - ranked 19 in
the world - despatched Brazilian qualifier Vinicius Rodrigues
11-0, 11-2, 11-4 in just 27 minutes.
Fifth seed Ryan Cuskelly looked like another upset victim after
the first two games against qualifier Farhan Zaman. "I came out a
little slow, and he was attacking from the start," said the Australian.
"I didn't feel too sharp, so I tried to focus on getting my shots
tighter and my length better, and he started to make a lot of mistakes."
Left-hander Cuskelly recovered to beat the Pakistani 9-11, 14-16, 11-5,
11-8, 11-4 after 72 minutes and will now line up against second seed
Karim Abdel Gawad.
Egyptian also survived a first round battle against a qualifier from
Pakistan - beating Syed Ali Mujtaba Shah Bokhari 8-11, 11-6,
had not played him before and he came out shooting from the start," said
the World No.16 from Cairo. "At first, I was shooting with him. Then,
when he won the first game, I decided to be more patient and pick my
Tournament director Steve Baicker-McKee was delighted with the
opening day of the event: "We had a tremendous first day of the main
draw. The standing room only crowd was treated to some high level
squash, with most of the seeded players advancing. We are looking
forward to some great quarter finals tomorrow."