Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad and New Zealander Joelle King have been named the Professional Squash Association (PSA) players of the month for September after a series of fine results.
Having finished runner-up to fellow countryman Ramy Ashour at August’s Hong Kong Open, Gawad went on to lift the Al Ahram Squash Open title in front of a home crowd at the foot of the Pyramids in Giza.
The 25-year-old, who this week celebrated breaking into the world’s top five for the first time in his career by rising to number four, defeated compatriots Tarek Momen and Omar Mosaad in straight games to reach the final, where he took on another promising Egyptian star, Ali Farag.
Farag, who had downed world number one Mohamed Elshorbagy in the last four, had no answer to the precision and focus of Gawad who stormed to a 3-0 win and set down a marker for the rest of the season.
That result for Gawad came just a week after King lived up to her billing as top seed at the Macau Open, ultimately triumphing with her most significant victory since coming back from a career-threatening leg injury suffered in 2014.
King started the month with confident wins against Malaysia’s Delia Arnold and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry at the China Open.
It signalled a return to the sort of form that took her as high as world number four in 2014.
While she lost out to England’s Laura Massaro in the semi-finals in China, King bounced back in confident style in Macau, getting past South Africa’s Siyoli Waters, Denmark’s Line Hansen and Arnold before downing Hong Kong’s Annie Au in the title decider to secure the PSA W50 tournament.
Success secured the Kiwi the biggest title of her career to date.