Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad reached his first-ever Professional Squash Association (PSA) Men’s World Championship final after beating compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy at the Wadi Degla Club in Cairo today.
The 25-year-old put in a superb display, unleashing a veritable feast of winners on his world number one-ranked opponent as they contested high-octane rallies throughout the 90-minute clash.
With the scores poised at two games apiece and with Gawad 5-1 up in the decider, El Shorbagy was forced off court with an apparent Achilles injury.
Despite battling on, he was unable to prevent Gawad from sealing a 13-11, 10-12, 11-13, 11-2, 11-5 triumph to reach the final.
"I’m over the moon - I'm really, really happy and glad at the way I played today," said Gawad.
"I was playing really well throughout the whole match.
"I just need one more push - I have to focus really well and recover well for tomorrow."
Regarding the prospect of claiming his first world title, he added: "It's a very, very big dream and I've been dreaming about this since I started playing squash and started thinking that squash was my career.
"Even if I don't do it this time I will keep going for it and keep pushing for it.
"Hopefully one time I will win it."
Awaiting Gawad in tomorrow’s final is fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour, who advanced after reigning world champion Gregory Gaultier of France was forced to withdraw from their last-four encounter with an ankle injury.
Gaultier, 33, booked his semi-final berth after a physically testing quarter-final victory over Egypt's Tarek Momen of Egypt yesterday.
He suffered the injury as he pushed to secure the win in the fourth game, and was unable to recover in time to take to the court.
Ashour, who captured the World Championship title in 2008, 2012 and 2014, has been besieged with numerous injuries himself over the past two years, with a calf problem picked up in September’s Al Ahram Open in Giza disrupting his preparations for the PSA's flagship event.
The 29-year-old defied all critics when claimed his third world title two years ago, however, having returned to competitive action following a six-month injury-enforced break to take the crown.
He will be hoping history repeats itself as he looks to draw level with compatriot Amr Shabana on four World Championship titles.
"I feel truly sad for Greg," said Ashour, the world number 10.
"I have been there many times and I know exactly how it feels so I wish him a speedy recovery."