Karim Abdel Gawad wins PSA Optasia Championships in Wimbledon

March 27 2023

Karim Abdel Gawad defeated fellow Egyptian Youssef Soliman 11-4 11-7 11-3 in just 34 minutes to win the PSA Optasia Championships staged at the Wimbledon Club, London, England.

It was expected that the conclusion of the championships would result in a new World No.1 with Diego Elias of Peru and Mohamed ElShorbagy both able to replace Mostafa Asal should they lift the trophy. However, the tournament, previously known as Channel VAS Championship when it was staged at the nearby St. Georges Club, was notable for a series of major upsets with neither Elias or El Shorbagy unable to reach even the quarter-finals after shock exits to the eventual champion and wild card Charlie Lee respectively.

Other notable casualties were the inform Joel Makin and top seed Ali Farag who were both beaten in the quarter-finalised with the 7th seeded Welshman losing in straight games to Baptiste Masotti of France and Farag beaten by Mazen Hesham in a 66-minute five-game thriller.

Despite competing in just his third tournament since returning to the PSA World Tour after recovering from a career-threatening foot injury, Gawad was in devasting form throughout with impressive performances against Diego Elias, Eain Yow Ng of Malaysia and Baptiste Masotti.

The unseeded former World No.1 and World Champion started the final with attacking intent, finding all all-four corners of the court with unrelentless pressure which combined by typical skilful disguise saw him claim his first title since March 2022.

“A year ago, I didn’t have a chance to be on court, I didn’t think I’d be on court again,” said Gawad after the win.

“My only wish was to take every advantage I could, train as hard as I could and play every tournament I could. I learnt a lot from my injury, I'm really happy and grateful to have another chance to be on court in front of an amazing crowd and doing what I love the most in my life.

“It is a great pleasure to be on a court that all the legends have been on, thanks to the promoter, all the sponsors, all the crowd that came to watch. Without all these things, the tournament wouldn’t be able to happen so I'm looking forward to coming back and playing again.

“I was so down; I was very depressed. I lost 7kg of muscle. I want to thank my wife for taking care of me, my coaches, my physio, my mental coach, everyone. It was a hard time, luckily I’m back on court and enjoying every moment here and looking forward to the next one.”

Professional Squash Association (PSA) Optasia Championships
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [8] Youssef Soliman (EGY) 11-4, 11-7, 11-3 (34m)

[9/16] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (42m)
[8] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt [5] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4 (73m)

[9/16] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Eain Yow Ng (MAS) 16-14, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8 (65m)
[9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt [7] Joel Makin (WAL) 12-10, 11-7, 11-8 (52m)
[8] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt [WC] Charlie Lee (ENG) 11-4, 11-9, 11-3 (43m)
[5] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 1-11, 12-10 (66m)

2nd Round:
[9/16] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [2] Diego Elias (PER) 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 4-0 ret. (54m)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [6] Victor Crouin (FRA) 6-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6 (56m)
[7] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (43m)
[9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 6-11, 11-6, 11-2, 9-11, 11-5 (46m)
[WC] Charlie Lee (ENG) bt [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9 (46m)
[8] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bt [9/16] Nicolas Müller (SUI) 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (45m)
[5] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [9/16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) 11-3, 11-8, 11-7 (40m)
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [9/16] Grégoire Marche (FRA) 4-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-4, 11-4 (55m)

1st Round:
[2] Diego Elias (PER) bye
[9/16] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (32m)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) bt [9/16] Patrick Rooney (ENG) 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
[6] Victor Crouin (FRA) bye
[7] Joel Makin (WAL) bye
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Auguste Dussourd (FRA) 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (56m)
[9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 10-12, 2-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-3 (65m)
[4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bye
[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) bye
[WC] Charlie Lee (ENG) bt [9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (43m)
[9/16] Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt Dimitri Steinmann (SUI) 11-8, 12-10, 11-3 (42m)
[8] Youssef Soliman (EGY) bye
[5] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bye
[9/16] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) bt Sébastien Bonmalais (FRA) 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-2 (45m)
[9/16] Grégoire Marche (FRA) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 11-2 (49m)
[1] Ali Farag (EGY) bye