France’s Victor Crouin overcame 2017 champion Karim Abdel Gawad in an exciting contest to make it into the quarter finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, his second appearance in a Gold level quarter final in 2022.
France’s World No.23 Victor Crouin is into a second PSA World Tour Gold level quarter final, after he got the better of 2017 champion Karim Abdel Gawad to reach the last eight of this year’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
The Frenchman also made the last eight of the GillenMarkets Canary Wharf Classic earlier this year, where he defeated World No.1 Paul Coll en route to the quarter finals. Here, in New York City, he started his week with a win over England’s Nathan Lake, before taking on former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the second round on Tuesday afternoon.
It was the pair’s first meeting on the PSA World Tour, and Gawad, who typically starts slow, was dominated by his French opponent in the first game. The Frenchman kept the ball straight and tight, giving the 2017 Champion no angles to work his usual magic and after just seven minutes, Crouin took the lead 11-4.
The second game was a closer contest, as Gawad started to create more and more attacking opportunities to test the movement of Crouin. The former World Champion earned the first game ball but Crouin quickly equalised to force a tiebreak. Crouin took the game 13-11 to double his lead.
Despite Gawad securing the third game 11-7. Crouin kept his consistency up and rushed the Egyptian into making several unforced errors and finding winners of his own in the fourth game. The strong, composed movement from Crouin was making Gawad search a little deeper for his winners, which he was unable to find. After squandering a match ball at 10-9, the Frenchman regrouped to take the next two points and book his place in the last eight.
“I’ve watched Karim for many years and I remember watching him at the World Championships in Egypt, where he nearly lost in the first round and then basically chopped everybody else,” the Frenchman said.
“I knew it would be tough, I’ve never played against him and usually, when I play someone for the first time it takes me a few matches to get the right tactic and play my game. Usually, my strength is my consistency, I’ve beaten almost all the players ranked below me and not beaten many people ranked above me. Like I beat Paul Coll and Gawad today but have lost to some up and coming players, but still ranked below me, so I’ve just been trying to figure out what’s going on, I need to keep winning those matches but also get my consistency back.
“It’s hard to know what to do when you’re two up against Karim, you feel like you’re playing well and you want to play even better but after losing the third I tried to tell myself to not change anything and keep it on his backhand and play a three-quarter game and try to avoid that front left corner and every time I hit off the back wall it went over there and I thought ‘Damn you’re going to be in trouble’ and usually I was, but I was just trying to win one point at a time.”
There was also a seeding upset in the women’s draw as well, with Egypt’s Nada Abbas overcoming compatriot, and the No.7 seed, Nadine Shahin, in five games to reach the quarter finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions for the first time in her career.
The last two meetings between the two had gone all the way to a five-game conclusion, with Shahin winning both times, the latest at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family in February.
In a tightly contested first game, Shahin pulled ahead at the start of the game to lead 5-2. Abbas started to put her game together however and by exposing the technique of her compatriot, Abbas took the first game at the third time of asking 13-11. Abbas carried her form into the second game and continued to pile the pressure onto Shahin in the front right corner. The World No.16 utilised her backhand boast to great effect and forced errors from Shahin’s racket to take the game 11-7.
Shahin showed her fighting qualities, however, and managed to disrupt the rhythm Abbas had settled into, moving her younger opponent into all four corners of the court and took the third and fourth games 11-7, 12-10 to set up yet another five-game encounter. Abbas started the better of the two in the fifth game, but Shahin wasn’t going away without a fight. The higher seed set herself up with a game ball at 10-9 to complete the comeback, but after three well-constructed rallies, Abbas claimed her first win over Shahin in 62 minutes winning 12-10 in the fifth game.
“I’m really happy to get through, me and Nadine have played twice this season and it was so close today but I’m just so glad I could get the win today,” Abbas said after the win.
“I’m feeling okay. I’m looking forward to the next match and I’m looking forward to be playing on this beautiful court once again.”
Elsewhere on the third day, USA’s Amanda Sobhy delighted the home crowd to advance to the quarter finals, while Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby and Salma Hany both came through tough battles to make the last eight.
The second round comes to a conclusion on Wednesday, May 3, with action starting at 12:00 (GMT-4). All eight matches will be streamed live on SQUASHTV.
Men’s Second Round Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
Victor Crouin (FRA) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 13-11, 7-11, 12-10 (64m)
 Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt Shahjahan Khan (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 (32m)
 Diego Elias (PER) bt Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (31m)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [WC] Timothy Brownell (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 (47m)
Men’s Second Round Draw (continued): To Be Played Wednesday, May 4
 Ali Farag (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Auguste Dussourd (FRA) v  Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v  Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v [L] Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
Women’s Second Round Results: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt Sabrina Sobhy (USA) 3-2: 11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10 (57m)
 Salma Hany (EGY) bt [WC] Chan Sin Yuk (HKG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9 (43m)
Nada Abbas (EGY) bt  Nadine Shahin (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 12-10 (62m)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt Farida Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (32m)
Women’s Second Round Draw (continued): To Be Played Wednesday, May 4
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
Lucy Turmel (ENG) v  Hollie Naughton (CAN)
 Olivia Fiechter (USA) v Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
Melissa Alves (FRA) v  Olivia Clyne (USA)