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Squash: Lobban shocks big Canary Wharf Classic crowd with win

PUBLISHED: 07:22 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:22 11 March 2020

Greg Lobban in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Greg Lobban in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

Steve Line/SquashPics.com

Scotland’s world number 27 Greg Lobban shocked a packed crowd as he got the better of Egypt’s former world number one Karim Abdel Gawad to reach the quarter-finals of the St. James’s Place Canary Wharf Classic for the first time in his career.

Marwan ElShorbagy in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)Marwan ElShorbagy in action (pic Steve Line/squashpics.com)

The Scot had never before beaten the former world champion in six previous matches, and was yet to take two games off the current world number four, but this was their first meeting in the best-of-three format, and it suited Lobban.

He came flying out of the gate at the East Wintergarden and after a good run of points in the middle of the game, the Scot was able take the first 11-7.

He then got on a great roll at the start of the second game, scoring seven of the first eight points to take a commanding lead.

Gawad threatened to comeback, as he has the tendency to do, especially in the best-of-five format, pulling it back to 8-7, but Lobban was able to push through.

Despite seeing one match ball saved by the Egyptian, he was able to take the second, booking his place in the quarter-finals of a Gold level tournament for the first time in career.

'Without a doubt [the best result of my career]. Coming into today, it always tough getting into the last 16 of these tournaments because they are such strong events. There are very few players that play the game better than Karim so it is extremely rewarding to win this one!' said Lobban.

'I had played Karim six times and never got close as that, never got two games off him before. Nick [Matthew] has played him plenty and I think it is good to go back to him to come up with a good gameplan, and I was happy to execute it.'

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Lobban will face Egypt's world number eight Marwan ElShorbagy in the quarter-finals of the event, after he made it through to the last eight when Omar Mosaad had to retire from their second round clash through injury.

The world number eight started terribly, as Mosaad roared through to take the first game, restricting his compatriot to just a couple of points in the opening salvo.

Mosaad then had a solid start in the second, only for ElShorbagy to bounce back in the middle part of the game as a run of six straight points gave him control as he sent the match into a decider.

ElShorbagy held a 4-2 lead in the third when he caught Mosaad with the ball, with the Egyptian requiring treatment on his leg.

Just three points later, Mosaad went down again after accidentally standing on ElShorbagy's foot - the resultant twisted ankle causing the gentle giant too much pain to continue, sending the tournament's number seven seed through to the last eight.

'I just hope it is nothing too serious. We are in the middle of the season and I just hope that he recovers from it as fast as he can. Hopefully it is not serious, it is not the way I wanted to win. I just hope he is okay,' ElShorbagy said.

'To be honest, I didn't understand what was happening but when I saw it on the reply I could see that it did not look good. We have a physio in Derek [Ryan] here, and I know Omar is in good hands.'

The other two matches of the evening saw Egypt's world number two Ali Farag and world number 12 Fares Dessouky set up a quarter-final clash, after they got the better of England's Declan James and Egypt's Mohamed Abouelghar, respectively.

The quarter-finals take place from 6pm local time (GMT) on Wednesday and the action will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan).

St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic, second round: Greg Lobban (SCO) bt [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-0: 11-7, 11-9 (36m); [7] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-1: 2-11, 11-6, 6-3 rtd (63m); Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [8] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 2-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (42m); [2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-3 (27m).

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