Last year's lessons help Farag in PSA Dubai World Series Finals

Last years lessons help Farag in PSA Dubai World Series Finals
Ali Farag plays a backhand as Karim Abdel Gawad looks on.

Dubai - Egyptian World No. 2 beats childhood friend Gawad to make first-ever semifinal

By James Jose

Published: Thu 7 Jun 2018, 9:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Jun 2018, 11:11 PM

Egyptian World No.2 Ali Farag said that the lessons gleaned from last year's exit helped him in his match against childhood friend Karim Abdel Gawad and added that he was quite delighted to make his first ever semifinal in the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals.

The 26-year-old beat countryman Gawad 11-5, 11-5 in a winner-takes-all Group B fixture to book his berth in the last four of the season-ending tournament at the Emirates Golf Club on Thursday.

Farag had begun the tournament by defeating Frenchman Gregory Gaultier but had gone down to Germany's Simon Rosner.

Farag had found himself in the same situation last year but lost eventually to runner-up England's James Willstrop.

"It was very tough, not only is he a good friend, he's such a lethal player," said Farag.

"Before the match and between games Nour (his wife Nour El Tayeb) told me that I didn't want to match him at the front of the court. He's so attacking and so talented, so I had to keep him in the back two corners.

"That's what I tried to do as much as possible, then when I had the opportunity I went short and thankfully it worked. Last year, I was in the exact same position, I won my first match, lost the second and then it was winner takes all in the third match and I lost to James (Willstrop), who played brilliantly.

"Today I wanted to learn from that and go through to the semis for the first time ever, so I'm quite delighted.

Meanwhile, Farag's compatriot Raneem El Welily was pleased to make the semis on her second appearance in Dubai.

"I'm very pleased to be through to the semis. It's the second time for me in Dubai, I didn't quite make it last year but I'm definitely happy to be in the semis this year," said Raneem.

Raneem beat Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry, to make it two wins from three matches.

"I didn't expect SJ to fight that way in the second game. I thought maybe she would be thinking that she was out of the semis so she wouldn't give it 100 per cent but all credit to her for doing her best to try and win today.

The 29-year-old felt for defending champion Laura Massaro, who lost out on a semis spot despite winning two matches.

"I can't help but feel bad for Laura. She won her first two matches and didn't do anything wrong there but she didn't qualify. It was a tough group just like the other one and I'm just glad to be through against such tough competitors," she said.

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