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Egyptian Quartet prevail in top half quarter-finals of PSA World Championships A quartet of Egyptians – containing reigning champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily – claimed victories on the opening day of quarter-final action at the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships in Chicago to ensure that there is guaranteed to be an Egyptian finalist in Continue Reading...

Egyptian Quartet prevail in top half quarter-finals of PSA World Championships

A quartet of Egyptians – containing reigning champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily – claimed victories on the opening day of quarter-final action at the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships in Chicago to ensure that there is guaranteed to be an Egyptian finalist in squash’s first $1 million tournament.

ElShorbagy, the current World No.1, booked his place in the last four courtesy of a 3-1 win over Colombian World No.7 Miguel Rodriguez inside the Great Hall of Chicago’s Union Station.

The pair met in the final of the sport’s longest-running tournament – the British Open – last May, with Rodriguez taking the win on that occasion. The South American took the opening game, but ElShorbagy stayed strong mentally and battled back to take the next three games without reply, winning 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 to book his place in the semis.

“I actually think this is one of the best times he has played against me,” ElShorbagy said.

“From the first point I could see his focus, and I knew that I was one for a battle tonight. I could see that if I needed to win a point then he wasn’t going to give it easy to me today. I had to win the point myself and I had to extend the rallies as much as possible. It was very tough playing him tonight and every point we played, physically and mentally, I had to get my tactics right after I lost that first game, and I’m really glad I pulled through in the end.

“[Coach David] Palmer and me worked out a plan after that first game, and we needed to look at what was happening and that’s what you had to do. You go on with a game plan and, if it’s not working, then you have to get the next one on and tonight, I had to do that.”

Compatriot and World No.3 Tarek Momen awaits ElShorbagy in the semi-finals after he defeated the defending champion’s brother, Marwan, in straight games.

Marwan narrowly lost out to Mohamed in a historic World Championship final in Manchester back in December 2017, but was outplayed by Momen, who displayed some superb attacking touches during an 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 triumph to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for the first time since 2015.

“This result is more than I could ever have dreamed of because I had a very tough five-game match with Abouelghar and to keep my hopes alive in this tournament, I needed an easier match today,” said Momen.

“I’m also happy to be back in the semi-finals of the World Championship, the last time was 2015, also in the US, so I’m happy to be back.”

Momen’s wife, World No.1 El Welily, will join her husband in the semi-finals after she saw off the challenge of World No.8 Nouran Gohar.

30-year-old El Welily lost out to her younger compatriot in the semi-finals of the Egyptian Nationals earlier this month, but she overcame her opponent by an 11-4, 6-11, 11-4, 11-2 margin, which extends her winning run over Gohar on the PSA Tour to four matches.

“I was a bit nervous to be honest,” said El Welily, a three-time World Championship finalist.

“Nouran and I have played many times this season, with the last being 10 days ago at the Nationals and she beat me, so I was a bit edgy at the start. But I managed to push myself through the pressure to handle the situation that I was put in, and I’m pleased with that.”

She will face World No.4 Nour El Tayeb in the next round after she ended the run of Hong Kong’s Annie Au, winning 11-5, 11-7, 11-6 in just 25 minutes.

Au had beaten former World Champion Laura Massaro in the previous round to become the first player from Hong Kong ever to reach the quarter-finals of the sport’s biggest tournament, but she was unable to get into the match against a ruthless El Tayeb.

El Tayeb’s husband – World No.2 Ali Farag – will contest his quarter-final fixture tomorrow against New Zealand’s World No.6 Paul Coll, and a win for the 26-year-old Harvard-graduate will mean that the World Championship semi-finals will feature two married couples for the first time ever.

“For me, anyone who beats Laura, I worry,” said the 25-year-old Egyptian.

“Last time I played Laura was a few months ago and I lost in three, so anyone who beats Laura scares me, but I was ready for it. I tried to take away all the time for her because she hits so many lobs. I hope I can become more relaxed now that I have made it to my second semi-final in a row, and I’m excited for whoever I play next.”

Quarter-final action continues on Thursday February 28, with play starting at 17:00 (GMT-6).

Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): 
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-1 [6] Miguel Rodriguez (COL)  5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (61m)
[4] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0 [8] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)  11-5, 11-4, 11-6 (33m)

Men’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played February 28th
[3] Simon Rösner (GER) v [11] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[7] Paul Coll (NZL) v [2] Ali Farag (EGY)

Women’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): 
[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1 [8] Nouran Gohar (EGY)  11-4, 6-11, 11-4, 11-2 (37m)
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-0 [12] Annie Au (HKG)  11-5, 11-7, 11-6 (25m)

Women’s Quarter-Finals (Bottom Half): To Be Played February 28th
[4] Joelle King (NZL) v [5] Camille Serme (FRA)
[10] Tesni Evans (WAL) v [2] Nour El Sherbini (EGY)

21 February 2019 WSF and PSA have met the announcement on the proposed selection of additional sports for the Paris 2024 Olympic Programme with great disappointment. The proposed list of four sports only, of which three sports are already confirmed by the IOC on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme, leads to a belief that Paris Continue Reading...

21 February 2019

WSF and PSA have met the announcement on the proposed selection of additional sports for the Paris 2024 Olympic Programme with great disappointment.

The proposed list of four sports only, of which three sports are already confirmed by the IOC on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme, leads to a belief that Paris 2024 and the IOC favoured sports already in the Olympic programme, leaving practically no opportunity for other sports.

The unity that our sport enjoys globally is exceptional and is getting stronger by the day. WSF and PSA are supported by the entire squash community and, with our athletes at the forefront, have run a strong campaign that respected the timeline and the criteria set by Paris 2024 and the IOC. During the campaign, we showed that squash has a vibrant and real forward-looking programme rooted in constant innovation, which strives for more inclusiveness and sustainability, youth engagement and equality across all of our activities in and outside of the court.

We truly believe squash could seamlessly integrate into the Olympic programme with minimal costs and an optimised pool of participants. Our unique interactive glass court would allow squash to bring a lot of additional excitement and spectacular action to any iconic monument of the host city or shed a new light on less known urban areas, while also helping to engage young people in the sport from day one of the preparations and well beyond the Olympic Games.

Position officielle de la Fédération mondiale de squash (WSF) et l’Association professionnelle de squash (PSA):

WSF et PSA ont accueilli avec une grande déception l’annonce de la sélection de sports additionnels proposée pour le programme olympique de Paris 2024.

La liste proposée ne contenant que 4 sports, parmi lesquels 3 sont déjà confirmés par le CIO dans le programme de Tokyo 2020, on peut se poser la question de savoir si des sports déjà présents dans le programme olympique n’ont pas été favorisés par Paris 2024 et le CIO ne laissant pratiquement pas d’opportunité pour d’autres sports.

L’unité de notre sport au niveau international est exceptionnelle et se voit renforcée tous les jours. WSF et PSA, soutenus par la famille entière du squash et avec nos athlètes à l’avant-garde de ce mouvement, ont mené une campagne forte dans le respect des timings et des critères imposés par Paris 2024 et le CIO. Au travers de cette campagne nous avons montré que le squash proposait un programme dynamique et résolument tourné vers l’avenir, animé par la volonté d’innover, d’assurer l’inclusion, la durabilité, l’engagement auprès des jeunes et l’égalité des chances dans toutes nos activités sur le terrain et en dehors.

Nous sommes convaincus que le squash peut facilement intégrer le programme olympique avec des coûts minimes et un nombre limité d’athlètes. Notre court vitré interactif permet de développer des actions spectaculaires et dynamiques au pied de n’importe quel monument historique de la ville hôte ou bien de mettre en lumière des quartiers moins en vue et d’impliquer les jeunes dans le sport dès le premier jour des préparatifs et bien au-delà des Jeux.

Today's announcement that Nicol David is bringing to a close her illustrious playing career in squash signals the end of a unique era in the sport ...

Today’s announcement in her home country Malaysia that Nicol David is bringing to a close her illustrious playing career in squash signals the end of a unique era in the sport.

Since making her debut on the international stage in 1996 when she won the British Junior U14 Open title as a 12-year-old, this formidable woman from Penang has blazed a phenomenal trail through the sport, creating record after record. Now 35, David became the first player to win two world junior titles in 2001 before going on to accumulate a record eight senior individual world titles amongst a total of 81 PSA World Tour titles from 102 final appearances.

In 2015, David established a record 109-month unbroken run as world No.1 – and in Malaysia she is recognised as the country’s most successful Asian Games athlete with 7 gold medals (5 individual and 2 in team championships) in the quadrennial event.

David was inducted into the World Squash Federation ‘Hall of Fame’ in 2011.

In the statement issued in Malaysia today, David said: “After more than 20 years playing squash for Malaysia, competing on the professional tour and achieving the utmost best from my career being the only Malaysian athlete to achieve these accolades and to be recognised as the greatest female squash athlete of all time by my peers, I can proudly say that I am ready and happy to announce my retirement at the end of this seasonal tour.

“This is a moment that every athlete must go through – to explore fully on what more there is in store for them. I am now at this point in my life, ready to take on more beyond the pro tour.

“This decision has been thought through for quite some time and I do know this is my last season. My mind and body have battled it out to stay at the very top of my game for such a long time that I feel that I only have this last big push left for the final season to give it all I have before I enter the next phase of my life.

“I love squash with all my heart, and it will always play an important role in my life. Which is why I would like to give back in three ways:

“1. To Squash by joining PSA (Professional Squash Association) to work with them closely to raise the awareness of our sport globally and to build a support team for our professional squash athletes as they continue to raise the bar on tour.

“2. To Malaysia’s younger generation through the Nicol David Foundation which seeks to empower girls through sport to reach their full potential. This will be refined fully in a strategic partnership with PwC to create the best structure and programme moving forward to have more girls playing sport, improve their study skills and soft skills too.

“3. To the People in Malaysia, I will be sharing my story, ‘Nurturing Belief’, through a series of talks and writings.

“This is just the initial start of more exciting things planned and I cannot wait to venture into this next phase with all of you after my squash on tour.

“Throughout these next few months till the end of the seasonal tour in June, I will be sharing through my ‘The Dream Remains’ campaign, everything that my life in squash has given me.

“I would like to enjoy my last few tournaments together with everyone through this campaign in the hopes of giving all a chance to have their own dreams to go forth the way I plan to keep striving for.”

Andrew Shelley, CEO of the World Squash Federation, said: “Nicol’s playing record speaks for itself. She had already become a legend several years ago. Her results have been very special, but so is she.

“I can well remember trying to manoeuvre the winner and runner up of the British Junior Open under 14 event in 1997 into standing and smiling for a presentation photograph. The winner was Nicol, the runner up Omneya (Abdel Kawy) – and yes, at that time the girls hadn’t got to grips with smiling!

“Since then Nicol has not only developed a smile, but grew from girl into woman with such a warm and winning personality that has marked her as special both on and off court.

“It has been a privilege of mine to have watched her blossom in both respects. Running the Women’s Tour during so many years of her success, like everybody else I saw her wonderful athleticism so well-honed by Liz Irving, her drive to succeed, but also her humility. Her opponents have always been respected, those who have helped or simply supported her received sincere thanks, never a hint of diva, dealing with defeat, …. and always that smile.

“More than this, she would always give of herself. ‘No’ was such a hard word for her. From the Women’s Tour perspective, the burden of interviews was accepted with good grace. More than that, from 2002 onwards, Nicol would always say yes to the onerous WISPA Promotional Tours and latterly the WSF Ambassadors Programme (above image showing David with youngsters during the Malawi visit in 2012) whenever she could. And how the players and organisers from the ‘young’ squash countries loved her!

“All this followed the 19-year-old realising that in order to achieve her potential she had to move to Europe, leave her family and friends, and make her way on her own. She succeeded as we know – another accolade.

“For so many years as world number one, Nicol ‘carried’ the Tour. She was the face of it – and Malaysian sport too. She was the Ambassador. She was being pulled this way and that. She graciously dealt with it all.

“One can have no doubt that her next life phase will be a great success, with her drive and captivating style. She says that the dream remains, so not only has squash had a wonderful career to watch, but thankfully we know that Nicol will continue giving of herself in many ways in the future.

“Nicol, you are awesome, and will always continue to be!”

Feb 14 2019 3:36PM

Squash Goes Gold

WSF & PSA Announce New 2024 Paris Olympic Games Inspired Campaign ...

The World Squash Federation (WSF) and Professional Squash Association (PSA) have today launched an ambitious new campaign – “Squash Goes Gold” – aimed at giving the global squash community the opportunity to take an active part in the sport’s future, including the bid to become part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Gamesprogramme.

Alongside a series of other strategic initiatives launched over the past year, such as the youth-focused SquashFORWARD programme, Squash Goes Gold aims to shape the future of the sport and make it even more innovative, inclusive and sustainable.


Launched ahead of the biggest tournament of the year, the 2018/19 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family – which will see squash played inside Chicago’s Union Station just weeks after the 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions took place inside Grand Central Terminal in New York in one of world sport’s most unique venues – Squash Goes Gold www.squashgoesgold.com aims to build on the sport’s global growth during the past decade and will allow players and fans of the game in all corners of the world to come together in support of one common goal: seeing squash join the Olympic Games programme.

“Squash is played in some of the most spectacular locations in the world – in front of the Pyramids of Giza, on the harbour-front in Hong Kong, inside Grand Central Terminal in New York – and our ability to showcase the beauty, youth and innovative drive of Paris by setting up an all-glass court anywhere in the city is something few sports can do,”said WSF President Jacques Fontaine.

“Squash Goes Gold will allow the squash community to further unite behind our Olympic campaign and play their active part in helping our sport secure its place at the Olympic Games. As a sport, we pride ourselves on our inclusivity and work hard to provide opportunities for individuals to participate at all levels – playing, officiating, coaching, managing and volunteering. Including the Olympic dream, for those involved in the game at all stages, would be a wonderful addition.”

PSA CEO Alex Gough said: “The Olympic Games is the greatest sporting event in the world and there’s no question that a Gold Medal would be the pinnacle for any squash player.

“As a sport we have made huge strides forward in the past decade; uniting the men’s and women’s professional tours, enabling us to reach parity in men’s and women’s prize money at major events, dramatically improving the sport’s broadcast arm and continuously improving both the spectator and viewer experience.

“Squash is in the best position it has ever been and this campaign will allow the sport’s global player and fan base to get involved with the Paris 2024 bid directly and have their own influence on the future of the sport. A future we hope will see squash featured in Paris in four years’ time.”

France’s top ranked female player Camille Serme (featured in top image with French team-mate and former world No.1 Gregory Gaultier), winner of the World Games and major PSA titles such as the British Open, U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions, is playing a pro-active role within the bid campaign which is aimed to get squash a place on the Paris 2024 sports programme.

Serme said: “The chance to compete in an Olympic Games would be a dream come true – the chance to compete in an Olympic Games in my home city would be unbelievable.

“We already see the squash community coming together in support of our bid and hope that this new campaign will help us collectively propel squash to where it deserves to be – on the biggest sporting stage in the world.”

(Above image showing leading players from around the world (L to R): Camille Serme (France), Nour El Sherbini (Egypt), Miguel Rodriguez (Colombia) and Paul Coll(New Zealand))

Discover how you can help squash’s campaign for the 2024 Olympic Games campaign by going to www.squashgoesgold.com

(Image above showing leading USA player Amanda Sobhy, currently ranked 10 in the world)

WSF President Jacques Fontaine speaks to Francs Jeux ...

The following article has been translated from its original source. The original article can be viewed on the Francs Jeux website.

The bid for the inclusion of additional sports for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is in full swing. The French Organising Committee needs to hand a shortlist containing its recommendation of sports to be included to the IOC in March. This list will be looked into, discussed and might even be amended. The final decision won’t be made before the end of 2020, after the Tokyo Olympics.

After several unsuccessful bids to be included as part of the Olympic programme, squash is regularly mentioned amongst the strongest contestants. The sport has learned the lessons from its previous failures and has progressed. Now, all the arguments are set. Jacques Fontaine, President of the World Squash Federation (WSF), explains all about the Olympic bid to FrancsJeux.

FrancsJeux: Squash has launched its bid to be chosen as an additional sport for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris very early. We are now only a few weeks away from the first shortlist. Can you give us an update?

Jacques Fontaine: We have indeed started our bid early, from 2017, thanks to an agreement between the World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Professional Squash Association (PSA). Its goal was to unify the squash community around the same Olympic ambition and, therefore, to guarantee the attendance of the world’s best players at the Olympic Games, if we are chosen. With the agreement, we have been precursors, which was perceived by the IOC and the French Organising committee.

After that, in January 2019, we met the Paris 2024 team to give them a presentation of our bid. It was also a way to express the unity of the group, because we – WSFmembers – were accompanied by a PSA delegation. Two French players also attended: France No.1 Camille Serme and European Junior Champion Victor Crouin.

They expressed their ambition to gather a medal, especially the gold medal.

FJ: Squash started its inclusion in the Olympic community by being a demonstration sport at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018. How was this perceived?

JF: Squash’s success at the Youth Olympic Games was above our hopes and expectations. We were actually a bit surprised. Over 25,000 people came by the squash venue.

Within those spectators, some IOC members were very determined to play on the glass court we had set up, which was particularly innovative because it included the interactive wall. The system enables the best players to train, and helps people to discover the sport with a similar approach to the one offered by video games. With this concept, we matched one of the IOC expectations: offer a special activity, a novelty, and appeal to a non-specialised public.

FJ: It is not squash’s first bid. How does the current one different compared to the previous ones?

Gregoire Marche takes on Declan James during the 2018 Open International de Squash de Nantes

JF: We have learnt from the past failures, and we have listened to everyone’s comments. This Olympic bid is truly new. For the first time, all the squash community is united around the same Olympic ambition.

In addition, the innovation brought by the interactive wall is giving to the bid a more modern approach.

FJ: What would the squash competition look like at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games?

JF: It would involve 64 players, with 32 male and 32 female players. We would only need one single court, which would be used for practice and for the competition itself. It would gather all the world’s best players, likely including some of the current best youth French players, in a spectacular and dynamic atmosphere.

FJ: Since the application phase, the Paris 2024 Organising Committee insists on incorporating sustainable sports, with controlled budgets and a limited impact on society. Do these three requirements apply to squash?

JF: Definitely. Concerning the costs, things are very clear: the competition will be played on a single glass court, which only requires a 70m² surface on the ground, and 25 hours to set up and 15 hours to dismantle. The French Squash Federation owns several, and they would lend one to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. If you include 5000 seat stands, the complete squash venue could fit inside a 5-6000m² area.

There are plenty of iconic venues in Paris that could feature this layout, like the Trocadero or the square in front of the Paris town hall. The list is consequential. This layout completely matches with the costs and sustainable stakes.

Concerning heritage, we have anticipated this matter by multiplying contacts with all the towns and counties of the Grand Paris, where the Paris 2024 Olympics would help to develop the sport. For such an urban sport as squash, there would definitely be a before and an after to Paris 2024.

(L-R): Andrew Shelley, WSF Chief Executive; Jean-Denis Barbet, FFSquash President; Tommy Berden, PSA Chief Commercial Officer; Camille Serme, Nine-Time French National Champion and Six-Time European Individual Champion; Jacques Fontaine, WSF President; Pablo Serna, WSF General Secretary, and PSA Board Member; Victor Crouin, European Junior Champion; Alex Gough, PSA Chief Executive Officer

Kiwis Paul Coll and Joelle King advance to new career highs ...

MEN: Coll rises to Career-High ranking as Gaultier’s record streak ends

New Zealand’s Paul Coll has risen to a career-high ranking of World No.6 in the PSA Men’s World Rankings for February.

Coll, the highest ranked Kiwi male since Ross Norman in 1993, reached the quarter-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions at New York’s Grand Central Terminal in January. As a result, the 26-year-old has risen a place to overtake Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez, who moves down to No.7.

Meanwhile, Frenchman Gregory Gaultier has seen his record 154-month unbroken run inside the world’s top 10 come to an end after the 36-year-old fell three places to No.12.

Gaultier, a former World No.1 and World Champion, has been out of action since October due to knee surgery, and he is replaced inside the top 10 by Peru’s Diego Elias.

Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy stays atop the rankings for a 12th consecutive month, but he is guaranteed to lose top spot to World No.2 Ali Farag on March 1st. ElShorbagy’s ranking points for the Windy City Open – which he won – will expire at the end of this month, meaning Farag’s points average will be higher going into March.

Tarek Momen makes it an all-Egyptian top three after overtaking Germany’s Simon Rösner, while Karim Abdel Gawad completes the top five. ElShorbagy’s younger brother, Marwan, and Mohamed Abouelghar take the other spots inside the top 10.

India’s Saurav Ghosal rises a place to a joint career-high No.11 ranking, with Omar Mosaad moving up four places to No.13. Hong Kong’s Max Lee drops a place to No.14, while Germany’s Raphael Kandra stays at No.15.

England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop remains at No.16 ahead of compatriot Daryl Selby, with Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly dropping four places to No.18.

Welshman Joel Makin rises four spots to No.19 – marking the first time he has featured inside the top 20 – with England’s Declan James claiming the final spot inside the top 20.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour has fallen 11 places to No.35. The 31-year-old hasn’t featured on the PSA Tour since March 2018 due to a knee injury and he now resides at his lowest ranking since January 2006.

[su_button url=”http://thesquashsite.com/rankings” style=”glass” size=”16″ center=”yes” icon=”icon: caret-right”]FULL WORLD RANKINGS[/su_button]

Women: King rises to top three

New Zealand’s Joelle King has claimed a career-high ranking of World No.3 in the PSA Women’s World Rankings for February.

Cambridge-based King, 30, has been in superb form this season after claiming her first ever PSA Platinum title, the Hong Kong Open in November. She followed that up with a semi-final finish at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions last month in New York to move ahead of Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb.

Reigning World Champion Raneem El Welily stays at No.1 ahead of her World Championship title defence this month, while Tournament of Champions winner Nour El Sherbini remains at No.2. France’s Camille Serme completes the top five.

English trio Sarah-Jane Perry, Laura Massaro and Alison Waters stay at No.6, No.7 and No.9, respectively, with Egypt’s Nouran Gohar remaining at No.8.

United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy returns to the top 10. The 25-year-old was ranked as high as No.6 in the world before an achilles injury sustained in March 2017, and she will now celebrate her highest ranking since September of that year.

As a result, Wales’ Tesni Evans drops out of the top 10 and is followed by Hong Kong’s Annie Au (No.12), Egypt’s Salma Hany (No.13), India’s Joshna Chinappa (No.14) and England’s Victoria Lust (No.15).

Hong Kong’s Joey Chan moves up a spot to No.16, ahead of Egypt’s Yathreb Adel, Hania El Hammamy (No.18) Olivia Blatchford Clyne (No.19) and Emily Whitlock, who returns to the top 20 after three months outside.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David has dropped eight places to No.21, marking the first time since November 2003 that she hasn’t featured inside the top 20.

[su_button url=”http://thesquashsite.com/rankings” style=”glass” size=”16″ center=”yes” icon=”icon: caret-right”]FULL WORLD RANKINGS[/su_button]

Egyptian duo Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini are the 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winners ...

Egyptian duo Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini are the 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winners after contrasting victories over compatriots and top seeds Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

Farag looked down and out in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall after going two games behind and 6-2 down in the third. But he showcased his fighting spirit over the course of the next two games as he began to put some serious work into the legs of ElShorbagy, and the 26-year-old duly came back to level the scores at 2-2.

ElShorbagy then had an injury break before the fifth game to deal with a calf issue. The 28-year-old fought through the pain barrier to push Farag all the way, but it was the younger Egyptian who was able to close out the win to lift his first Tournament of Champions trophy and the 14th PSA title of his career.

Farag will now replace ElShorbagy at World No.1 on March 1 after prevailing in one of the most dramatic finals ever witnessed at the Tournament of Champions.

“It’s been a dream of mine since a very young age to reach that No.1 spot,” said Farag afterwards. “To do it in such a fashion in front of so many greats of the game, in front of the love of my life [wife, Nour El Tayeb], and my parents watching at home, it couldn’t get any better really… It was very emotional.”

ElShorbagy’s ranking points for the 2018 Windy City Open – where he took the maximum on offer after winning the tournament – will expire at the end of February. This means Farag will boast a superior points average going into March, which will elevate him to World No.1. In the meantime, ElShorbagy will stay at the top of the PSA World Rankings in February.

In the women’s final El Sherbini became the first woman to win the Tournament of Champions on three occasions after a dominant victory over World No.1 El Welily saw her retain her title.

The pair were meeting for the first time since the latter had ended the former’s 31-month reign at World No.1 last month and El Welily – the 2015 Tournament of Champions winner – came into the match with a narrow 10-9 lead on their head-to-head record.

But things went El Sherbini’s way this time around as the 23-year-old put on a masterclass of attacking squash to lift her 18th career PSA title, but her first of the season.

“This is my lucky place, this tournament was my first ever Platinum win and now it’s the first one I’ve won three times,” said El Sherbini, who won the ToC in 2016 and 2018.

“It’s really big to put my name on this trophy and to win this tournament, but to win it three times is something that I will never forget in my life.

“We’ve been battling against each other for so long, the head-to-head is 10-10, so that shows how tough it’s been. We’ve been battling in a lot of finals, sometimes it goes my way, sometimes it goes her way. At the end of the day, the better player is going to win, and I think I was better than her today.”

Both players take home just shy of $23,000 in prize money, while El Sherbini joins Farag in qualifying for June’s PSA World Tour Finals.

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Finals:

[2] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [1] Raneem El Welily (Egy)   11-9,11-8, 11-8 (38m)

[2] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-2 [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy)   10-12, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-8 (84m)

An Egyptian quartet will feature in the finals of the Tournament of Champions for the first time ever  ...

An Egyptian quartet will feature in the finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions for the first time ever  as the world’s top four players – Mohamed ElShorbagy, Ali Farag, Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini – get set to do battle for the PSA Platinum title in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.

World No.1 ElShorbagy and World No.2 Ali Farag will go head-to-head in the men’s final after respective wins over World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad and World No.4 Tarek Momen.

ElShorbagy avenged his defeat to Gawad in last month’s Black Ball Open by taking a 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 victory which sees him reach the final of this tournament for the third time. The win also means he is guaranteed to retain his No.1 ranking in February – a defeat to Gawad would have meant that Farag could have taken top spot had he won the tournament.

“I trained the whole summer to be in these kind of situation,” said ElShorbagy, who came through a brutal 73-minute fixture with Peru’s Diego Elias in the previous round.

“If I didn’t back it up today physically, if I was going to lose today, then it would have been because he was better than me, not because I was physically tired.

“He played amazing in Egypt to beat me in three, and I had to watch this match and analyse it with my team and see what went wrong. I felt I couldn’t cope with his pace. Maybe when I was young I used to play faster than him, but I think my body is telling me that I cannot play as fast as before and I have to use my brain a little bit. I think I played with my brain, I didn’t play emotionally, and I think I got my tactics right from the first point.”

ElShorbagy and Farag will now contest a second Platinum final in a row, while it will be the ToC’s first all-Egyptian men’s final. Farag will look to get his own back after losing in straight games in the final of November’s Hong Kong Open.

Harvard-graduate Farag bowed out in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions last year after losing to Momen, but this time the win went the way of the former as he closed out an 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 triumph in 42 minutes to reach his fifth PSA Tour final in a row.

“It is not hard to say that it is tough to play against Mohamed,” said Farag.

“He has proven that he is the toughest player to face to play against both mentally and physically. He has it all really, it is always exciting when you play against him, you know it is going to be a big one. We played twice so far this season, with the score at 1-1.”

The women’s final will also be contested by the World No.1 and World No.2 as Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini claimed semi-final wins over World No.4 Joelle King and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb, respectively.

El Welily got her revenge for her Hong Kong Open final defeat against New Zealand’s King as she recovered from a game down to win 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 after a high-quality 50-minute battle.

“The entire match was very tough, mentally and physically, it was brutal,” said El Welily, the 2015 Tournament of Champions winner.

“I remember being down [in game three], it’s not something you forget. I was being positive at the time and told myself to keep pushing because it didn’t matter what happened in this game, I just had to do my best and give it 100 per cent.”

Meanwhile, defending champion El Sherbini defeated El Tayeb in a repeat of last year’s final. The 23-year-old snuck wins in games one and three, before powering home to victory in a one-sided fourth game to seal a place in her third Tournament of Champions final.

El Sherbini and El Welily will now go head-to-head for the 20th time on the PSA Tour, with El Welily winning 10 of them. It will be the 12th time that they will have contested a PSA Tour final, and El Welily has taken the win on six of those occasions.

“It means a lot [to reach the final], I wasn’t really happy with my squash over the last few months, but I’m happy that I went back home, regrouped and trained hard,” said El Sherbini, whose 31-month reign at World No.1 was ended by El Welily last month.

“[Raneem] has taken the No.1 spot, but it’s just another match. I need to rest and focus for tomorrow, and I’m sure it’s going to be even tougher than today and more fair. We’re very good friends and it’s going to be a good match, hopefully.”

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Semi-Finals

[1] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1 [4] Joelle King (Nzl) 9-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (50m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-1 [3] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 (46m)

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-1 [8] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (56m)
[2] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 [4] Tarek Momen (Egy) 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (42m)


King gatecrashes Egyptian dominance of J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Quarter-Finals

New Zealand’s Joelle King has become the only non-Egyptian to reach the semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after she overcame 2017 winner Camille Serme at New York’s Grand Central Terminal on Day Seven of the .PSA Platinum event.

King, 30, won her maiden Platinum title at her last event – the Hong Kong Open – and she moved to within one win of back-to-back finals after she recovered from an 11-1 loss in game one to take the win in four games.

“I guess I laughed and said to myself that the only positive thing to come out of that [first] game was that I got a point,” said King.

“I just tried to relax and start again and see what happened. Someone like Camille, if she gets on a run and gets confident, she is so hard to play. I just tried to weather the storm and hang in there.

“Once you get older, you tell all the juniors that you will go through these tough matches later on in your career and I have been on the back end of many losses from being up in those points, so I guess it is just experience on that day.”

The World No.4 will play World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the semi-finals in what will be a repeat of their final clash at the Hong Kong Open.

El Welily overcame World No.8 Nouran Gohar by an 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 margin in just 28 minutes and is now one win away from an eighth successive PSA Tour final – a run which stretches back to last season.

“I was a bit sharper today than I was yesterday,” said El Welily, the 2015 Tournament of Champions winner.

“I think the game is so strong now. Being in the semi-finals is one better than last year at least, so I am happy to be step closer than 2018.”

The other women’s final will be a repeat of last year’s final as defending champion Nour El Sherbini and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb go head-to-head in an all-Egyptian battle.

El Sherbini dispatched World No.16 Salma Hany in straight games, while El Tayeb overcame England’s Alison Waters.


The final two men’s quarter-finals also took place today, with World No.2 Ali Farag and 2017 runner-up Tarek Momen joining compatriots Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad in the last four to make it an all-Egyptian affair.

Farag overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll by an 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 scoreline to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for the second time.

“Paul has been giving trouble to everyone and he is a very, very tough opponent to play against,” Coll said.

“If we get into a physical battle, he is going to come out on top, so I had to play smart to control the pace as much as possible.”

Farag will look to avenge his defeat to Momen in the semi-finals of last year’s tournament, with Momen axing World No.17 Omar Mosaad 3-0 to advance to the last four.

“Omar was my first rival since we were eight or nine years old,” Momen said.

“We have been competing at the same age group at every local tournament and at every international junior tournament. When I was a kid, I never thought we would be rivals for nearly 25 years. It is just incredible. Each one of us has had ups and downs.”

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, Day SEVEN Results:

Women’s Quarter-Finals:
[1] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-0 [6] Nouran Gohar (Egy)   11-6, 11-9,11-4 (28m)
[4] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 [5] Camille Serme (Fra)     1-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (48m)

[3] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-0 [9] Alison Waters (Eng)  11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (27m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [15] Salma Hany (Egy)  12-10, 11-5, 11-8 (29m)

Men’s Quarter-Finals:
[4] Tarek Momen (Egy) 3-0 Omar Mosaad (Egy)  11-7, 11-8, 11-7 (36m)
[2] Ali Farag (Egy) 3-0 [7] Paul Coll (Nzl)  11-9, 11-7, 11-6 (48m)

Egyptians dominate Day Six at Grand Central as Gawad dethrones Rosner ...

J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Day SIX, Mon 21st Jan

[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (Egy) 3-2 Diego Elias (Per)   9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 (73m)
[8] Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) 3-9 [3] Simon Rosner (Ger)   11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (39m)

[1] Raneem El Welily (Egy) 3-1 [14] Joshna Chinappa (Ind)   6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (39m)
[6] Nouran Gohar (Egy) 3-0 [10] Annie Au (Hkg)   11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (26m)

[5] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 [13] Victoria Lust (Eng)   11-4, 11-4, 11-1 (24m)
[4] Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 [11] Nicol David (Mas)   11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 (42m)

[3] Nour El Tayeb (Egy) 3-2 [12] Amanda Sobhy (Usa)   6-11, 12-10, 1-11, 11-5, 11-7 (48m)
[9] Alison Waters (Eng) 3-2 [8] Tesni Evans (Wal)   11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5 (71m)

[15] Salma Hany (Egy) 3-0 [7] Laura Massaro (Eng)    11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (30m)
[2] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-0 [16] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (Usa)   11-5, 11-5, 11-3 (23m)

Egyptians Dominate Day Six as Gawad dethrones Rosner

Egyptians went undefeated on the sixth day of match play, winning seven out of ten matches -including Karim Abdel Gawad dethroning Simon Rösner – at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.

Ten of the tournament’s remaining fourteen players are Egyptian following the women’s round of sixteen and first half of the men’s quarterfinals.

The most definitive match of the day saw Karim Abdel Gawad resurrect the same form that saw him win the 2017 ToC and reach world No. 1 to knock out defending men’s champion and world No. 3 Simon Rösner. A far cry from Gawad’s tournament-opening form that had the eight seed on the brink of elimination in the second round until injury stifled Joel Makin on Thursday, Gawad stopped the German in his tracks. The twenty-seven-year-old’s hit all his marks as he fired his way to a decisive 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 victory.

“Simon beat me the last two times last season, and he is now the world No.3.He has improved a lot, and he was always top ten, but now he is even better than he used to be. He is the defending champion here so it was a very tough match, of course. I had to be very strong mentally in order to win against someone like Simon, especially a 3-0 win. I had to focus 100% today.” Karim Abdel Gawad

Gawad’s next test in the semifinals will come against world No. 1 and two-time ToC champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, who defeated Peru’s Diego Elias in the match of the day. ElShorbagy had to use every ounce of fitness, experience and skill to come back from 2-1 down against the twenty-two-year-old and advance in five games.

“This kid is going to beat us all one day. We have played four times now, and all four have gone to five games. He beat me the last time, he just showed what a great player he is and there is no doubt he is a future No. 1 of the game.” Mohamed ElShorbagy

On the women’s side, world No. 3 Nour El Tayeb extinguished home hopes by avenging her five-game U.S. Open loss against American Amanda Sobhy in October with a five-game win of her own during the afternoon session. The back-and-forth match saw both players go on streaks of control, until El Tayeb edged ahead in the fifth after forty-eight minutes.

“Ever since the draw came out, I’ve been thinking about this match. It took a lot of fighting to be able to be in the match. I had Ali and Raneem in my corner, the world No. 2 and the world No. 1, so they were just trying to keep me disciplined, encourage me and thankfully I fought until the end.” Nour El Tayeb

Defending women’s champion and world No. 2 Nour El Sherbini displayed her intent on reclaiming world No. 1 with a clinical win over Team USA’s Olivia Blatchford Clyne in three games. El Sherbini will take on compatriot Salma Hany in Tuesday’s quarterfinals after the twenty-two-year-old world No. 16 pulled off the only women’s upset over world No. 7 Laura Massaro in three games.

“I have been working towards this for so much time now. I just relaxed and this is my first ever quarter-final in a [Platinum] event. Every time I step on this court, especially in this amazing venue, I get a bit nervous. When I talked to my physical coach, he told me that the most important thing is to enjoy my game and every time I was getting nervous, and I was thinking that I was getting closer to the quarter finals, I was just thinking about relaxing and to enjoy it like I was dancing.” Salma Hany 

France’s Camille Serme  the 2017 ToC champion – and New Zealand’s world No. 4 Joelle King guarantee at least one non-Egyptian women’s semifinalist. King contested one of the day’s extended matches against eight-time world champion and world No. 11 Nicol David – holding off a late comeback against the Malaysian to win in four games. Serme goes into Tuesday’s quarterfinal against King without dropping a game all tournament.



Tournament of Champions Days One to Five reports


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