World number one James Willstrop (back) of England in action against his compatriot Chris Ryder during their match at the PSA World Championship in Doha yesterday.
BY ARMSTRONG VAS
Doha: Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt defeated World No. 14 Tom Richards of England to pull off the first major upset of the PSA World Championship at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex here yesterday.
On day one of the seven-day championship all the other top seeds had it easy, winning their respective matches to advance into the second round of the $325,000 event.
World No.1 James Willstrop of England, Borja Golan of Spain and Peter Barker of England, all seeded players, advanced into the next round. Joining them into the second round were World No.8 Mohamed El Shorbagy and Cameron Pillay.
However, Richards was the only seeded player to make an early exit from the championship.
World No. 31 Gawad emerged on top in the 68 minute tussle with the Englishman by winning the five-game thriller 9-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7.
The 22-year-old from Alexandria lost the first game at 9-11, but, the Englishman came back strongly in the second to win it 11-6.
In the fortune fluctuating match, Gawad suffered a reverse in the third one but raised his game by a few notches in the remaining games to win the fourth at 11-5 and won the deciding one at 11-7.
In another match, Willstrop overcame the challenge of compatriot Chris Ryder, ranked World No.43, in three games to one to win 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2, in a match which went on for 52 minutes.
Ryder stunned the top-seed by taking the first game, but Willstrop who is in the peak form of his career this year, bounced back to win the next three games in style.
Qatar’s challenge in the championship also came to an end as World No.136 Abdulla Al Tamimi went down fighting to India’s Saurav Ghosal in three straight games 11-5, 11-4, 11-9.
Abdulla fought hard with the World No.23 but could not make much of an impression in the first two games which the Indian took at 11-5 and 11-4.
However, the local lad gave his best in the third, tying the scores twice at 7-all and at 9-all.
The Qatari could not finish the game as he committed a couple of errors by hitting the tin.
The Indian national champion on the other hand kept his cool to wrap up the third game and the match. THE PENINSULA