SEREMBAN, Malaysia – Egyptian duo Karim Abdel Gawad and Nour el-Tayeb are the 2023 Malaysia Squash Cup champions after they claimed respective wins over men’s top seed Mostafa Asal and women’s No.5 seed Rachel Arnold at the Sports Complex in Seremban.
Gawad has won the 27th PSA title of his career – and his second of the 2023-24 season – after playing some mesmerising squash to oust World No.5 Asal by an 11-8, 12-10, 11-5 scoreline.
Asal enjoyed early leads in each game but Gawad was always able to move through the gears and unleash his trademark racket skills to secure the victory.
It marks the first time since 2018 that Gawad has won back-to-back titles on the PSA World Tour following his triumph at last month’s Grasshopper Cup.
Malaysia marked Gawad’s second consecutive final, after winning the 2023 Grasshopper Cup in October. Asal reached the quarter finals of the same tournament but lost to France’s Baptiste Masotti.
The two Egyptians had played each other twice before: in 2019 where Gawad won in three games, and in a quarter final in 2021 where Asal won in straight games.
The No.1 seed gained an early lead in the first game through several error’s from his compatriot Gawad.
The 32-year-old showed his flair in the middle section of the game, and after three quick decisions went in his favour, Gawad took the opening game.
Coming into the second game, the ‘Raging Bull’ looked more composed, taking an 8-5 lead, but the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ undid Asal with three points in quick succession, and the game went to a tie-break. The game was decided by errors on the side of the 22-year-old, as he hit the same spot on the tin twice in a row to gift Gawad a two-game lead.
“I feel great, winning another title back-to-back and having such a good performance makes me very happy,” said Gawad according to psaworldtour.
“The way I perform, the way I move on court, the way I play squash is just very enjoyable for myself right now and hopefully for everyone [watching].
“Playing Mostafa is very hard, but I was looking forward to this match. We’ve played twice before, once when he was still coming up as a young player, and the second time was during my injury phase. I wasn’t playing my best squash then, so I was looking forward to this match.”
El-Tayeb, the No.1 seed in the women’s tournament, has captured the 15th PSA title of her career after she stormed to an 11-2, 11-4, 11-4 victory over Arnold in just 19 minutes.
World No.39 Arnold had the home crowd behind her but was sporting heavy strapping on her right leg after fighting through two five-game matches to reach the final.
She never really got going and El-Tayeb took full advantage to seal the PSA World Tour Bronze title. The Egyptian’s most recent tournament in Malaysia came in 2014 in the Malaysia Open, where El-Tayeb lost the final to then-World No.3 Raneem el-Welily.
Like Gawad, it’s El-Tayeb’s second title of the season after her South Western Open win last month. “I think I’ve been playing well all week so it’s nice to play well today,” said El-Tayeb afterwards.
“I could tell Rachel [Arnold] wan’t moving well; maybe she’s struggling from the long week. I’m sorry for her but I’m happy that I won.
“It gives me a lot of confidence in my ability, every opponent was different this week and every match was different. I’m glad I was able to back up match after match.”
The next stop on the PSA World Tour will be the Singapore Squash Open, PSA World Tour Gold event, which will take place between November 14-19.