Team USA’s Chris Gordon reached the qualifying finals of the final World Series event of the season—the 2016 El Gouna International Open—Thursday through a three-game victory at Movenpick in El Gouna, Egypt.
Gordon will not be joined by U.S. teammate Todd Harrity, who suffered a narrow five-game defeat against twenty-year-old Egyptian and former world junior champion Karim El Hammamy Friday.
With the first round of qualifying contested over two days, Gordon was in action first Thursday against the local Egyptian nineteen year old. Gordon, world No. 59, dispatched Mostafa 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 in thirty minutes.
“I was never able to relax a bit, ” Gordon said after the match. “He is very gifted with the racquet, and I had to try and neutralize his shots by making sure my length was as good as possible, and putting him under pressure at the front with a powerful movement.”
“Nowadays, wherever you are going in the world, you’ve got to play extremely gifted players, ” Gordon said. “The level is that high, and especially be weary when they are new to the game. And it’s never more true than in Egypt.
“The level on the tour is such at the moment, any win I can get is a bonus. I mean, there are so many events now in the US, and so many great players in it. Every win is meaningful for me.”
The twenty-nine year old revealed he has been working with former French National Coach, Andre Delhoste, at his home base in New York City.
“I’ve been now back in NY for the past two years, developing a few nice routines. Luck has wanted that André, now married to an American, lives about one mile away from my house, which is very convenient of course. We have been working on my movement in particular, I’m a pretty big player, and we are trying to make my movement smoother, to cover the court and not being as tired as I used to.”
Gordon will face Malaysian world No. 32 Nafiizwan Adnan for a spot in the main draw Saturday.
On Friday, two-time U.S. champion Todd Harrity bowed out of the tournament in his first match, squandering three match balls in the fifth game as twenty-year-old Karim El Hammamy came back to win 11-9, 4-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10 in seventy minutes.
“He is a very good player, so fit, and I knew from the start I had to prepare for a marathon, ” said El Hammamy, the 2013 world junior champion. “So I made sure I was prepared not only mentally, but also physically, and I drank a lot of water. My game plan was to stay away from his volley, in particular the backhand side, but even when I was trying to pass him on the other side, crosscourt, he would be so good with his volley drop shots. It was really hard to get pass him.”
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