Gawad is the Black Ball Champion
Karim Abdel Gawad rounded off a fantastic week by claiming the inaugural CIB Black Ball Squash Open title as he beat world #2 Ali Farag in front of a packed crowd and a massive TV audience, having already claimed the scalps of the world #1 and world #4 along the way !
Despite having spent 100 more minutes on court than Farag, it was Gawad who started the brighter, taking the first game with something to spare and then shrugging off the loss of two game ball to claim the second in extra points.
Farag fought back in the third, converting a 6-1 start, but it was Gawad on the front foot in the fourth as he forged, and stayed ahead to become the first Black Ball Squash Open Champion.
“I worked so hard, I had so many times where I was down, and depressed. I wasn’t 100% there physically but thanks to my team, I had a good recovery until 4am this morning and I didn’t feel exhausted today. Feels good to be back to my best squash.”
“Karim was too good today and I wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked to be, the pressure probably,” said Farag, who would have been the new world #1 in January had e won today.
“I didn’t think of it too much today, but when the match started, I wasn’t as fluid as I wanted. But I want to reiterate how good Karim was and he fully deserves the win.”
The Black Ball Squash Open returns in March with a Women’s $107,000 PSA GOLD event.
Second seed Ali Farag is having a great year – he’s already won the Swedish Open, Netsuite Open and Qatar Classic, and was runner-up in El Gouna, the Dubai World Series Finals, the Channel VAS Champs and the Hong Kong Open.
He’s also the reigning Egyptian National Champion, and has an extra incentive tonight because if he wins he will become World #1 for the first time in January.
didn’t have such a good start to the year, but after picking up his first title earlier this month in Pakistan he looks to be coming into the form that took him to World #1 and World Champion a couple of years ago.
This will their 14th PSA meeting. Farag leads 7-6, but it was Gawad who won their first five meetings while Ali has won the last five, four of them this year, in the World Series Finals Pools, the Channel VAS semis, and the Qatar Classic and Hong Kong quarters.
Farag has yet to drop a game this week while Gawad has dropped two, but perhaps more significantly Ali has spent just 143 minutes accumulating his four wins compared to Karim’s 242.