ISLAMABAD - Former world champion Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad moved into the final of the Pakistan Open Squash Championship on Saturday.

He outclassed Malaysian 4th seed Nafiizwan Adnan in straight games in the semi-final played at DHA Asif Nawaz Squash Complex, Creek Club Karachi.

In the second semi-final, second seed Peru’s Diego Elias thrashed 5th seed Mexico’s Arturo Salazar 3-0 in just 24 minutes.

In the ladies semi-finals, top seed Yathreb Adel had to dig very deep to overcome compatriot Zeina Mickawy 3-1 to set final date with Egyptian second seed Nadine Shain, who outclassed 5th seed Malaysian Sivasangari Subramaniam 3-0 in the second semi-final.

In the men’s semi-finals, it was expected that Gawad will be given real fight by highly experienced Malaysian Nafiizwan, who had the habit of inflicting upset victories on top opponents. But this was not the day for the high-flying Nafiizwan as Gawad was not only mentally but physically prepared and never allowed his opponent any chance to settle down in the match and kept same pressure throughout the match. The first game started on a fast tempo and both players were involved in long rallies.

Both fought for each and every point and a seesaw battle was witnessed by a thin crowd. Gawad sensing danger changed gears and piled huge pressure on Nafiizanwan and took the first game 11-8 in 9 minutes. Gawad kept same pressure and simply outclassed Nafiizwan to take second game 11-5 in 7 minutes. Third game started in whirlwind fashion as Nafiizawan started playing aggressive squash. The strategy paid off and he raced on to take 7-3 lead. But Gawad never gave up. He first level the game at 7-7 and then went on to take the third game 11-7 in 9 minutes to wrap up the match in 25 minutes.

In the second semi-final, second seed Peru’s Diego Elias was in sublime form and simply toyed with Mexico’s Arturo Salazar. It seems like a fully grown man was playing against a school-going kid. Such was Elias dominance that he never looked in any sort of trouble and played cool, calm and awesome squash. Elias took time to settle down in the first game and it was Salazar, who raced onto take commanding 7-4 lead. Then it was 9-7, but that was all, Salazar could take from the game as Elias first level the game at 9-9 and then went onto take the game 11-9 in 10 minutes. Second game was one-sided affair as Elias was just enjoying and kept Salazar on the run to all sides of the court and won the game 11-4 in 7 minutes.

After playing two tough games, Salazar simply ran out of the gas and was looking so much tired that he was hardly able to move. At one point; Elias was leading 9-0 before Salazar managed to take one point. But it was the end of the road as Elias raced on to take two more points and won the game 11-1 in 7 minutes, thus winning the encounter in just 24 minutes.

In the first women’s semi-final, it was top seed Egyptian Yathreb Adel against compatriot Zeina Mickawy. It was expected a cakewalk, but Zeina was not in a mood to go down without a fight. The first game started on a fast pace as both players were involved in long rallies and drop shots, but it was Yathreb, who prevailed and took the game 11-8. Second game started in same fashion and Zeina wasted very little time to stamp out her authority and took the game 11-5 to level the match at 1-1. Third game was also a highly close affair and could have gone in anybody’s favour but at crucial stages, Zeina made huge mistakes, which costs her dearly as Yathreb took the game 11-9. Fourth game also started brightly and both players fought for each and every point, till Yathreb, using her experience, upped the tempo and took the game 11-7, thus winning the encounter in 35 minutes.

In the second semi-final, Egyptian second seed Nadine Shahin though won in straight games but Malaysian young sensation Sivasangari Subramaniam gave her a tough time. Shahin won 11-8, 11-7 and 11-7 in 20 minutes.