2024 Reports Semis

SF: Mostafa Asal 3-2 Karim Abdel Gawad

[2] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-2 [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)  11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8 (73m)

I guess coming back to Egypt and playing the best on home soil, far from James Willstrop’s guidance is going to be a test for Mostafa. So far so good I would say, even if his camp was warned at the end of the third game to stop the coaching during play – not his doing that.

And if Mostafa was not impressed by the ref’s decision in the second game and third game, he realised in the 4th that Karim was being treated equally tough!

I guess poor Jason Foster – the ref on that one – will never hear the end of the “too much physical…” the phrase he used a couple of time during the match as he stopped play. It started already all the way from the venue on the shuttle bus taking us to the hotel…

First game was all about Mostafa – nothing new there, Gawad is not exactly a strong starter, from 5/5 to 11/6 in two hands, 10m, 6 winners Mostafa and only 3 for Karim.

Mostafa keeps the momentum going in the second, 5/1. Some gruelling fast-paced ridiculous squash/movement from both, and we are back level 6/6, 7/7. This time, it’s Karim who closes the game, 11/7 in 13m.
8 winners for Karim, only 5 for Mostafa.

He is not a happy Joker when the ref penalises him with 3 strokes; Mahmood, his father, who’s been very calm, is not happy either; pressure mounts a notch, 11/5 to Karim in a quick 9m game.

Only 2 winners from Mostafa, 6 for Karim.

The ref’s shoe is on the other foot in that fourth, starting with 2 no lets for Karim, losing his two appeals in a row at 0/1 and 0/2, and 2 strokes awarded to Mostafa! Peace is restored, Mahmood calms down, and the Joker smiles again. Pfew.

11/8 in quick 10m, 8 winners for Mostafa, 5 for Karim.

The fifth is nail-biting stuff for both camps. If Mostafa always a couple of points ahead, you feel that Karim has still plenty in the tank, that he is patient, forcing the game on the left wall, again, and again, and again. 3/1, 5/2, 6/3, 8/4. But Mostafa cannot relax as Karim is forcing him on the backfoot, sending to the four corners before forcing the game on the left wall again.

7/8. Close, very close. And the crowd is playing their part. If you think that the crowd stays quiet during an all Egyptian match, you’ve never been to Egypt! The kids are loud, the Alhy Football supporters are loud, the Karim’s fans are loud, it’s fun!

10/7, match ball, an error from the Joker, is he going to force a tie-break? But no, an error from the Smiling Assassin, 11/8.

And Karim, completely relaxed until the last shot. That boy is just incredible. Just incredible.


Since I came back from injury, I really don’t care about losing.

I just want to perform, feeling my best, and enjoying every moment on court. You know, my injury can come back at any time, today, tomorrow, the doctors just don’t know.

So I play every match as it’s my last one.

I do my best to enjoy it, I try to play my best squash. When I was starting squash, when I was very young, my Dad taught me “winning or losing is out of your hands. It’s uncontrollable. So just play and enjoy.”

Sometimes I would win a match, and he would be happy. And sometimes I would lose a match, but I played well. So we would come out of the Squash Club and he would buy me a little toy, a game… I feel I was very lucky to have parents like that, to be raised in a family that is mature enough to know that yes, it might be your job, it might be your career, but being healthy on court, being mentally strong and believing in the small steps, in the process you follow since your junior career to your professional career, is the most important thing.

Winning or losing, it doesn’t matter. Just play your best squash.


“Karim is a mentor to me, to play a battle against, I don’t know how to play it. He’s a friend, a big brother for me. I’ve played with him since I was 11-years-old. He was the first PSA player I played a game with.

“When I saw my father for the first time in a while in the crowd, I just smiled. Great memories together and for sure the fans boost me up. To be in the finals edit to all of my family and all of my loyal fans.

“I’ve played against Ali many times and didn’t get the win. I would say he’s one of the best of all of the sport, as an iconic player. To be playing against him is a bonus.

“It’s not often that you beat Ali Farag, but I’ve got my uncle and my coach here, just amazing guys, and I’m sure Jimbo will have all of the tactics for the match.”