PSA NewsSquash News | Professional Squash AssociationSun, 21 Jan 2018 06:39:35 +0000 Sun, 21 Jan 2018 06:39:35 +0000 http://psaworldtour.com Mueller Stuns Defending Champion Gawad on Day Three of Tournament of Champions Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller secured the biggest win of his career as he dumped defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, the World No.4, out of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions on day three of the PSA World Series tournament held inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The 28-year-old from Zurich came through a tense five-game match with England's Adrian Waller to reach the second round, but he put in one of the best displays of his career as he dominated and controlled the court from the off, taking Gawad out of his comfort zone and playing a high-tempo attacking game that saw him take the first two games untroubled. The World No.27 then found himself with match ball in hand to complete an unexpected 3-0 victory, but the tension told as he snatched at a golden opportunity at 11-10 up, allowing Gawad back in to punish him and he took the next two games to send the match into a decider. Mueller refused to give in though and he held the nerves at bay to take a massive 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9 victory. “I'm really over the moon,” said Mueller afterwards. “That's one of best matches that I have played in a long time and it is one of the biggest wins of my career. “To knock out the defending champion here in New York, inside Grand Central, is pretty special." 2012 winner Nick Matthew got the better of long-term domestic rival James Willstrop after prevailing by a 3-1 margin against his fellow Yorkshireman to avenge his defeat to Willstrop at the same stage of last year’s tournament. The duo have contested one of the sport’s most captivating rivalries ever, but it was a rivalry dominated by Matthew between 2007-2017 as he struck up 19 consecutive wins against his compatriot until a momentous win for Willstrop in New York last January - but Matthew got his revenge today after prevailing in a high-quality four-game encounter. "I was relieved to get over the line there and progress in this great tournament," said Matthew.20180121041305_Matthew-ToC-DayThree.jpg?x=-1&y=-56&w=619&o=608"I read before the match that this was the 60th time [including 36 PSA World Tour meetings] that James and I have played and that’s an absolutely incredible statistic. "No matter whether it’s the first time or 60th time, James is an incredible player and hopefully there will be one or two more chapters left yet." World No.1 Gregory Gaultier stands between Matthew and a place in the last four after the 35-year-old powered past English qualifier Tom Richards in straight games. Germany’s Simon Rösner made it four European victories out four in the men’s draw today after he defeated World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy, coming through a scrappy affair to win it in five and he will face best friend Mueller for a place in the semi-finals. The women’s draw saw two players from the United States in action, with the country’s number one player, World No.13 Olivia Blatchford, taking out Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling by an 3-0 scoreline to set up a second round fixture with World No.8 Sarah-Jane Perry.20180121041343_Blatchford-ToC-DayThree.jpg"Being out here is incredible, I’ve been watching this [in the crowd] since I was in diapers, so to have a win on this court is massive for me," said Blatchford, who is one of four American women in the main draw of a PSA World Tour event for the first time in history. "Playing for my country is one of the biggest honours and privileges that I have ever had in my life. I know how good the US is, I’m proud that the ladies are leading the way and I feel very blessed to be a part of it." Blatchford’s compatriot, Marina Stefanoni, today became the youngest player ever to compete at the Tournamant of Champions but the 15-year-old bowed out after going down in straight games to World No.5 Nouran Gohar, despite acquitting herself well showing some deft touches and vicious drives that belied her tender years. World No.1 Nour El Sherbini kicked off her campaign after the 2016 champion eased past World No.19 Joey Chan of Hong Kong with a 3-0 victory in 29 minutes seeing her through to face compatriot Mariam Metwally, who upset World No.14 Joshna Chinappa. “Joey is a very tricky first round, so I was trying to put her deep in the back of the court,” said El Sherbini, who will face compatriot Mariam Metwally in the next round.20180121041428_Sherbini-ToC-DayThree.jpg?x=-2&y=-48&w=616&o=608“In the first game I was doing well, I hit zero errors, but after that she was playing better and I found the tin more. But I’m really happy to finish it in three and I’m looking forward to the next round." Meanwhile, two-time runner-up Laura Massaro lives to fight another day after digging in to come through a difficult encounter with compatriot Fiona Moverley, eventually edging an 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 victory to ensure she will take on another fellow Englishwoman - Victoria Lust - in the last 16. There was also a victory for 2015 runner-up Alison Waters after her first round opponent, World No.18 Salma Hany, retired shortly after the second game had started. Waters will take on Gohar in the next round. Round two action from the men’s event and the opening round of the women’s tournament continues tomorrow (January 21), with play beginning at 12:00 local time (GMT-5). Glass court fixtures inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only). *Results - Second Round (Top Half): 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (33m) [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6 (68m) Simon Rösner (GER) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 12-10 (76m) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9 (71m) *Draw - Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played January 21st* [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL0 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [2] Mohamed ElShobagy (EGY) *Draw - Men’s Quarter-Finals (Top Half): To Be Played January 22nd* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) Simon Rösner (GER) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI) *Results - First Round (Top Half): 2018 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (29m) [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt [16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-1: 15-13, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9 (58m) [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (24m) [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (39m) [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 (23m) [10] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Salma Hany (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 3-1 ret. (8m) Victoria Lust (ENG) bt [14] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 12-14, 11-3, 11-2 (42m) [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 (65m) *Draw - First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played January 21st* [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [Q] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG) [9] Joelle King (NZL) v [Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) v [6] Nicol David (MAS) [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [Q] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) *Draw - Second Round: (Top Half): To Be Played January 22nd* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG) Victoria Lust (ENG) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5293/mueller-stuns-defending-champion-gawad-on-day-three-of-tournament-of-champions 5293 Sun, 21 Jan 2018 04:12:07 +0000 TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: DAY THREE - AS IT HAPPENS We're on site for day three of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - which sees the men's event enter the second round while the women's event gets underway with round one action inside one of the most iconic locations in squash – New York's Grand Central Terminal. Amongst those in action on the all-glass court today will be defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, with the Egyptian going up against Nicolas Mueller while Gregory Gaultier will continue his tournament against against Tom Richard. Then the men's action comes to a crescendo with the all-English rivalry of James Willstrop v Nick Matthew. The two met at the same stage last year, with Willstrop ending a 10-year losing streak to Matthew - but with Matthew competing here for the last time in his career he'll be keen to gain one last revenge over Willstrop. On the women's side, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini is the star name in action but there is double home interest as Wildcard Marina Stefanoni takes on Nouran Gohar before current top ranked US woman Olivia Blatchford takes on Liu Tsz-Ling of Hong Kong. You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player. Not able to watch live? Then check out our live scoring page instead.Here's the Order of Play (All times are local GMT-5)20180120152244_26814511_2077901055559894_5738691986677190696_n.jpg*Massaro Digs In To Defeat Moverley* 20180120184350_18TC11965.jpgEngland's Laura Massaro was forced to call on all her experience and grit to come through a difficult encounter with compatriot Fiona Moverley in the opening match of the third day at the 2018 Tournament of Champions - and the first match of the women's main draw - with the former World No.1 eventually edging an 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 scoreline. Despite sitting 16 places below Massaro in the rankings Moverley looked every inch a player capable of competing at the very highest of levels. The 30-year-old from Yorkshire recovered from losing the opening exchanges to come back strong in the first game, and while she couldn't recover from the early deficit she went on to control proceedings throughout the second, playing with an attacking ability and tactical awareness that made life very difficult for Lancashire's Massaro. After levelling the match Moverley then only had herself to blame when, after continuing to control the game throughout the third, she found herself behind on the scoreline once again courtesy of a series of costly errors. But she continued to play the better squash of the pair through the fourth and while she too often followed up a well constructed winner with an error that handed the initiative back to Massaro, she managed to stay firm through a tight tie-break to take the match to a decisive fifth that continued to follow the tone of what had went before, with little to separate the pair. Then, with the scores at 8-9 in the fifth, it was Massaro who struck a perfect width to get the first match ball opportunity, which she duly converted to keep her tournament aspirations alive. "It was very difficult to keep her at bay today," said Massaro. "I thought she played well. and she's very clinical, as soon as I played short I was at the wrong end of the rally. Over the course of the match you get critical of yourself and when I was just a little bit off she was able to get on top. "In the end it was just a gutsy performance to get over the line "I've had some mixed results here over the year but I think I speak for all the players when I say we love coming here and it's an amazing venue for a squash court and the New York crowd is one that we all love. We all love it when the crowd here really get into it and the louder the better." Result [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt Fiona Moverley (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8 (65m) *Mueller Stuns Defending Champion Gawad*20180120200833_18TC12935.jpgSwitzerland's Nicolas Mueller secured the biggest win of his career as he dumped 2017 tournament winner Karim Abdel Gawad, the World No.4, out of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions courtesy of a spell-binding second round display. The 28-year-old from Zurich came through a tense five-game match with England's Adrian Waller to reach the second round and could have been forgiven for feeling less than fresh for today's encounter, but he put in one of the best displays of his career as he dominated and controlled the court from the off, taking Gawad out of his comfort zone and playing a high-tempo attacking game that saw him take the first two games untroubled. The World No.27 then found himself with match ball in hand to complete an unexpected 3-0 victory, but the tension told as he snatched at a golden opportunity at 11-10 up, allowing Gawad back in to punish him and take the match to a fourth game. And the 2016 World Champion moved through the gears to take the fourth game, cutting down Mueller's lead, and it looked like the match was swinging his way as he got off to a better start in the fifth. But credit to Mueller, who has been searching for a major win throughout the past few seasons, as the Swiss Rocket refused to give in, managing to stick with Gawad and get momentum back on his side to move ahead 10-6. With nerves telling, Gawad clawed his way back to 9-10, but Mueller finally saw it out to secure a huge win that he dedicated to his mother. "I'm really over the moon," said Mueller afterwards. "That's one of best matches that I have played in a long time and it is one of the biggest wins of my career. "To knock out the defending champion here in New York, inside Grand Central, is pretty special. "I thought I'd thrown it away in the third with that match ball. I hit a perfect winner the point before and went for the same shot again at match ball and I thought the match was over. It then took me a game to get my head back on, during the fourth I just wasn't there. "But I'm super happy with how I came out in the fifth. I tried to stay positive and use the belief that I have in myself. I've put in a lot of hard work over Christmas and for the first time for many years I've been injury free for quite a long time, so I'm confident that the background work is there. "I've got a day off to rest now and recover and come back for another big match. I love playing here and I feed off a vocal crowd, which is exactly what we get in New York, so I'm excited." Result Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9 (71m) *Perry Powers Past Adel*20180120211752_18TC13252.jpgSarah-Jane Perry became the second Englishwoman to book a place in the second round of the Tournament of Champions as she got past Egyptian qualifier Yathreb Adel 3-1. It was Adel who had won the only previous meeting between the two back in 2014, but since then Perry has worked tirelessly on her game and developed into one of the top players on Tour and that transition was evident as she controlled the encounter this time around to thwart any hopes Adel had of causing an upset. "She stops you getting a rhythm going and I had to try and contain her today and I'm happy I did that," said Perry. Result [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (39m) *Rösner Halts ElShorbagy In Five*20180120223506_18TC14579.jpgSimon Rösner came through a scrappy up and down five-game affair to record his second straight win over World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy and book a berth in the quarter-finals of the Tournament of Champions. Rösner thwarted ElShorbagy last time out when the pair met in the last eight of the Qatar Classic in what was a breakthrough win for the man from Paderborn, and he kept his winning streak up after twice coming from behind to prevail under the chandeliers inside New York's Grand Central Terminal. Things began poorly for the 30-year-old as he fell to an early 1-6 deficit in the first game courtesy of an error-strewn period of play that allowed ElShorbagy to profit easily. Rösner managed to find some momentum to string together his own period of success, but it wasn't enough to recover the early damage as he fell to a first game defeat. The opening game set the pattern for what was to follow, with both players enjoying periods of untroubled success before succumbing to error-strewn periods - with the two rarely playing their best simultaneously. As a result the scoreboard fluctuated back and forth all the way until a fourth game tie-break that finally saw the pair produce the kind of squash their rankings and abilities are capable of. After sneaking the fourth game 15-13, Rösner then managed to keep his composure as the fifth game went all the way to the wire, sealing the match with a wonderfully struck trickle boats to take it at the second time of asking. "It was difficult today," said Rösner. "I was just trying to push myself hard and keep fighting. I don't think the quality of the match today was that high but the fighting spirit was very high between both of us. "I'm just very glad that I was able to get through that match and get the win. "When I was 2-1 down I tried to take the pace off the ball. The quality wasn't there in my hitting in the third, but when I did that I started to get back into the corners and got him behind me which I think was the key to the match in the end." Result Simon Rösner (GER) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 12-10 (76m) *El Sherbini Claims First Round Victory Over Chan*20180120235528_Sherbini-ToC-DayThree.jpgWorld No.1 Nour El Sherbini began her 2018 Tournament of Champions campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Hong Kong’s Joey Chan to book her second round berth as she eyes a second successive PSA World Series title after her victory at the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Masters earlier this month. The two had met at the same stage of last year’s tournament, with El Sherbini making it three wins from three matches against Chan with a similarly dominant 3-0 win inside half an hour. The 22-year-old Egyptian set about her task quickly and dominated the middle of the court as she put away nine winners and made no errors during a quick-fire first game that finished 11-5 in El Sherbini’s favour. And it didn’t take long for the 2016 Tournament of Champions winner to double her lead, dropping six points in the second, but Chan looked to have found something of a foothold in the third after battling back form 5-2 down to restore parity. However, some lethal volleys from El Sherbini saw her cut off Chan’s resurgence and the pressure soon told as she wrapped up an 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 victory to claim a fourth win in a row over the woman from Hong Kong. "Joey is a very tricky first round, so I was trying to put her deep in the back of the court," said El Sherbini, who will face compatriot Mariam Metwally in the next round. "In the first game I was doing well, I hit zero errors, but after that she was playing better and I found the tin more. But I’m really happy to finish it in three and I’m looking forward to the next round. "I’m getting more confident and I’m playing better, I’m enjoying my squash at the moment and I’m really hoping that this tournament will go well." *Result* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 (29m) *French General Gaultier Marches Past Richards to Book Last Eight Spot*20180121002551_Gaultier-ToC-DayThree.jpgWorld No.1 Gregory Gaultier lived up to his ‘General’ moniker as the 35-year-old put England’s Tom Richards to the sword in a virtuoso display from last year’s runner-up. The charismatic Frenchman has struggled with both an ankle injury and a lung issue this season, which has prevented him from displaying the kind of form that saw him capture six PSA World Tour titles on the bounce in the first half of 2017. But he looks to have put those troubles behind him after following up a dominant round one win over United States No.1 Todd Harrity with an equally impressive showing against World No.40 Richards, who had come through qualifying before upsetting India’s World No.16 Saurav Ghosal in the opening round. Gaultier marched around court and put Richards under pressure time and time again as he strode to an 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 win in 33 minutes to book his quarter-final berth, where either Nick Matthew or James Willstrop will await, with the two Englishmen set to face off later today. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Absolutely bruuuutal rally between Gaultier & <a href="https://twitter.com/TomRichards86?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomRichards86</a>!<br><br>The lactic acid will be building up after that<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToC18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToC18</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://t.co/h8teGNmQeD">pic.twitter.com/h8teGNmQeD</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954862162010238976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 20, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> "Tom gave me a tough job to do today," said Gaultier. "He had two five-setters in qualifying and a tough first round against Saurav, so maybe there is a lot of energy that was damaged from all of these tough games he had. "He had a good run and he managed to push me today. I had to work pretty hard in every rally to win the points and I’m happy to get away with a win and hopefully I improve in the next round. "I’ve been playing here for almost 20 years now and I like the atmosphere with the crowd. The people here have a good knowledge of our sport and I know they like a show, so maybe I’ll return with something special this week." *Result* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (33m) *Gohar Beats US Up-and-Comer Stefanoni*20180121012634_Gohar-ToC-DayThree.jpg?x=-1&y=-42.625&w=613&o=608Egypt’s World No.5 Nouran Gohar defeated 15-year-old American Marina Stefanoni to advance to the quarter-finals of the women’s tournament. Connecticut-born Stefanoni was making history as the youngest player ever to compete at the Tournament of Champions and is one of four US women involved in the main draw - the first time this has happened at a PSA World Tour event. Stefanoni, who won the US Junior Open Girls U19 title last month, showed a mixture of some deft touches and vicious driving which belied her tender years and each point she put on the board was greeted with a roar from the partizan home support inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. But Gohar, a two-time World Junior Champion and five years Stefanoni’s senior, had too much for the American teenager as her pace of hitting and superior experience saw her take an 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 triumph in 23 minutes and she will meet 2015 runner-up Alison Waters in round two. "She’s only 15 years old, I feel so much older," said Gohar. "I’ve been in her place and at the last World Juniors I was watching her and I knew that she would be one of the best players in the US and on the Tour. I’m pretty sure she will be in the top five, maybe World No.1 in the future." Stefanoni said: "This was a great opportunity, I’ve watched this tournament, have always wanted to play it and I never thought it would be this soon. I watched her [Nouran] at the World Juniors two years ago and her style of game is so fast and so strong. "I was happy when I saw I would be playing her as she’s one of the ones closest to my age and hopefully I can be like her." *Result* [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-5 (23m) *Matthew Defeats Rival Willstrop in Battle of Yorkshire*20180121032336_Matthew-ToC-DayThree.jpg?x=0&y=-0.625&w=617&o=6082012 winner Nick Matthew got the better of long-term domestic rival James Willstrop after prevailing by a 3-1 margin against his fellow Yorkshireman to avenge his defeat to Willstrop at the same stage of last year’s tournament. The duo have contested one of the sport’s most captivating rivalries ever but it was a rivalry dominated by Matthew between 2007-2017 as he struck up 19 consecutive wins against his compatriot until a momentous win for Willstrop in New York last January. However, this time around it was 37-year-old Matthew - appearing at his last Tournament of Champions after announcing that he will retire at the end of this season - who rose to victory under the chandelier-adorned roof of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall in a match of supreme quality. It was first blood to Matthew after he closed down the court superbly and hit his lines to take an 11-8 victory in the opener and it was nip and tuck in the second until Willstrop showcased his trademark accuracy at the front of the court to rack up a succession of points towards the end of the game to draw level. There were some truly brutal rallies in the third game as Matthew went for the jugular, giving Willstrop barely any time to get back to the ’T’ as he sent the 34-year-old into all four corners of the court and he was rewarded with victory in the third to restore his lead. There was no let up for Willstrop in the fourth as Matthew kept up the assault, while Willstrop’s touch deserted him at the crucial moments as Matthew moved ahead to match ball. A superb counter-drop from Matthew then sealed the win for the World No.6 from Sheffield by an 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6 scoreline and he will take on World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the last eight. "When James is moving the ball around the court like that, you’ve really got to move well, but that’s not enough on its own, you’ve got to really hit the four corners and try to make him play those shots from bad positions," said Matthew. "I went through a stage when he was really dominating me down the backhand side. I felt like tonight was more of a mental battle then a physical battle. In that last game, both of us were getting edgy, it seemed like whoever hit a loose shot made an error. "I was relieved to get over the line there and progress in this great tournament. I read before the match that this was the 60th time [including 36 PSA World Tour meetings] that James and I have played and that’s an absolutely incredible statistic. "I’ve never felt relaxed playing him once and in that second game I was 1-0 up and 7-4 up and I relaxed for one second and it felt like he won six straight points, won the game and I was back under pressure again. "No matter whether it’s the first time or 60th time, James is an incredible player and hopefully there will be one or two more chapters left yet." *Result* [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6 (68m) *Blatchford Sweeps Past Liu*20180121034544_Blatchford-ToC-DayThree.jpgUnited States No.1 Olivia Blatchford booked her place in the second round of the Tournament of Champions for the first time in her career after a solid display from the 24-year-old saw her down Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling in straight games. Blatchford dominated proceedings at Grand Central Terminal in a polished display that saw her take her chances well and limit the opportunities for Liu to go two games ahead. Liu briefly threatened a comeback in the third game, going 9-8 up but, backed to the hilt by her home crowd, Blatchford came back fighting and took the next three points in succession to claim her first ever main draw win at this tournament. "Being out here is incredible, I’ve been watching this [in the crowd] since I was in diapers, so to have a win on this court is massive for me," said Blatchford, who is one of four American women in the main draw of a PSA World Tour event for the first time in history. "Playing for my country is one of the biggest honours and privileges that I have ever had in my life. I know how good the US is and I’m proud that the ladies are leading the way and I feel very blessed to be a part of it. "Each one of those ladies is a fantastic player, so to count myself on the same team as them is phenomenal, so we’re a force to be reckoned with. We’re coming after the whole world." *Result* [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (24m) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5292/tournament-of-champions-day-three-as-it-happens 5292 Sat, 20 Jan 2018 15:14:11 +0000 Ashour Beats Hesham on First Appearance at Tournament of Champions since 2013 Three-time J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winner Ramy Ashour defeated fellow Egyptian Mazen Hesham to cap a triumphant return to New York’s Grand Central Terminal as he made his first appearance at the PSA World Series tournament since 2013. A litany of injuries over the past five years have prevented Ashour from becoming a regular fixture at the tournament, but he had won his last 10 matches in New York, a run which encompassed title wins at both the 2011 and 2013 instalments. And, on day two of the 2018 edition, the 30-year-old maverick profited from a series of errors from Hesham to take an 11-5, 11-8, 13-11 victory through to round two, where he will take on World No.11 Paul Coll after the Kiwi beat Zahed Mohamed. “It’s been a while, last time I came here was 2013 and it’s like a dream come true,” said Ashour. “The tournament is prestigious, everyone wants to win the Tournament of Champions. It’s really good to be back, a lot has happened and I wasn’t sure when I would be back here and when I would win again on court. “On the last point I was just looking around and absorbing everything. I don’t even want to win it, I just want to play because I’ve won it three times before and I want to be here. I’m just grateful for everything I’ve been through and I’m glad to be back.” Ashour will be joined in the last 16 by World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy after he claimed a 21st successive win on the PSA World Tour courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Hong Kong’s Leo Au. ElShorbagy has won four tournaments in a row - including last month’s PSA World Championships - and picked up where he left off in 2017 to complete an 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 triumph. “I played him during my junior career and I know how dangerous he is,” said ElShorbagy, who won the Tournament of Champions in 2015 and 2016.20180120035745_ElShorbagy-ToC-DayTwo.jpg?x=2&y=-79&w=619&o=608“He’s been in very good form, he beat Ramy in Hong Kong and he took his team into the semis of the World Team Championships last month as well. “He’s been playing very well and I had to be focused from the first point.” ElShorbagy will face Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly for a place in the last eight, while compatriot Ali Farag also won on day two with a 3-1 victory against Kiwi qualifier Campbell Grayson.20180120035847_Farag-ToC-DayTwo.jpg"To get off to such a start against a tricky opponent is always good and I’m very glad to be through to the second round," said Farag. "Campbell likes to play at a mid-pace and he is very accurate, so I had to push up the court a little bit and play with more intensity and I’m happy I was able to do that in the third and the fourth." Colombia’s former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez awaits Farag in round two in a repeat of their quarter-final meeting at the World Championships last month, in which Farag prevailed. Rodriguez made his breakthrough at this event back in 2015 when he beat current World No.1 Gregory Gaultier en route to a maiden World Series semi-final and he advanced to the second round of this year's tournament courtesy of a 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 victory over Tsz Fung Yip. "Yip is a very talented player, he’s very fast and he’s a big guy," Rodriguez said.20180120035937_Rodriguez-ToC-DayTwo.jpg"The last time I played him, I lost in Hong Kong two years ago but I was ready to play this match. The end of the year for me was excellent, so I’m trying to keep that momentum and it worked." World No.7 Tarek Momen, meanwhile, defeated compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar in a captivating five-game encounter and he will take on Peruvian World No.10 Diego Elias, who required four games to beat England’s Declan James. Elsewhere, qualifying for the women’s tournament came to an end today with Harvard Junior Sabrina Sobhy beating World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby to ensure that there will be four American women in the main draw of the Tournament of Champions for the first time in history. Sobhy - who will compete alongside older sister Amanda, United States No.1 Olivia Blatchford and 15-year-old wildcard Marina Stefanoni - will take on World No.3 Camille Serme in round one. Meanwhile, Amanda is set to make her return from a 10-month injury absence against 2007 World Champion Rachael Grinham after the Australian defeated United States No.3 Haley Mendez in the final round of qualifying. Former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf was also a victor as she edged experienced Mexican Samantha Teran 16-14 in the fifth game of a dramatic 80-minute clash at the Yale Club and she will take on World Champion Raneem El Welily in round one. The main draw of the women’s tournament begins tomorrow (January 20), while the men’s tournament reaches the second round stage. Play starts from 12:00 local time (GMT-5) and action from the glass courts inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only). *Results – First Round (Bottom Half): 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (50m) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 (42m) Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 13-11 (44m) [8] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (44m) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10 (70m) Diego Elias (PER) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10 (62m) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (54m) [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (32m) *Draw - Men’s Second Round (Top Half): To Be Played January 20* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) James Willstrop (ENG) v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) *Draw - Men’s Second Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played January 21* [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL0 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [2] Mohamed ElShobagy (EGY) *Results – Final Qualifying Round: 2018 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt [12] Nada Abbas (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-3, 13-11 (31m) [L] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [15] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (24m) [4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [11] Samantha Teran (MEX) 3-2: 11-3, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 16-14 (80m) [10] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt [3] Nele Gilis (BEL) 3-2: 5-11, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10 (51m) [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Haley Mendez (USA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-3 (26m) Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt [7] Mayar Hany (EGY) w/o [5] Heba El Torky (EGY) bt [9] Hollie Naughton(CAN) 3-2: 11-0, 11-6,11-13, 10-12, 11-4 (45m) [2] Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt [14] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 (27m) *Draw - Women’s First Round (Top Half): To Be Played January 20* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG) [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) v [16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Q] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) Salma Hany (EGY) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG) [14] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Victoria Lust (ENG) Fiona Moverley (ENG) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) *Draw - Women’s First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played January 21* [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [Q] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG) [9] Joelle King (NZL) v [Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) v [6] Nicol David (MAS) [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) [Q] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [Q] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5291/ashour-beats-hesham-on-first-appearance-at-tournament-of-champions-since-2013 5291 Sat, 20 Jan 2018 03:56:29 +0000 Tournament of Champions: Day Two - As It Happens Follow us here for reports and reaction from day two of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which is held at one of the most iconic locations in squash - New York's Grand Central Terminal. Some of the world's greatest players are in action today, with World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy making his first appearance since lifting last month's PSA World Championships. The Bristol-based Egyptian will take on Hong Kong's Leo Au, while World No.3 Ali Farag will play Kiwi qualifier Campbell Grayson. Three-time winner and crowd favourite Ramy Ashour returns to the Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2013 and he takes on fellow shot-maker Mazen Hesham in a tantalising match that is sure to throw up some Shot of the Month contenders. Peruvian World No.10 Diego Elias makes his return from a hamstring injury against England's Declan James, while the likes of World No.7 Tarek Momen, World No.11 Paul Coll and 'Colombian Cannonball' Miguel Angel Rodriguez are also in action. You can watch *LIVE* coverage on <a href="https://psaworldtour.com/tv">SQUASHTV</a> and <a href="https://promo-uk.eurosport.com/squashgeneric?ns_campaign=player-inter-prospect-squash-psaworldtour&ns_mchannel=partner&ns_source=squashtv&ns_linkname=banner&utm_campaign=player-inter-prospect-squash-psaworldtour&utm_medium=partner&utm_source=squashtv&utm_content=banner">Eurosport Player</a>. Not able to watch live? Then check out our <a href="https://psaworldtour.com/pages/live">live scoring page</a> instead. *Here's the Order of Play* (All times are local GMT-5)20180119144132_ToCDayTwo.jpg?x=0&y=0&w=448&o=608*Elias Beats James to Make Winning Return from Injury*20180119185221_Elias-ToC-RD1.jpgPeruvian World No.10 Diego Elias marked his return from a hamstring injury to book his place in the second round of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions at the expense of England’s Declan James. Elias was making his first appearance on the PSA World Tour since November’s Qatar Classic, with a hamstring injury meaning he missed out on competing at last month’s PSA World Championships. The pair had met just once before on the PSA World Tour, with a brutal five-game epic going the way of James in the 2016 Nash Cup final. Elias hit his groove early on in a slow-paced beginning to the proceedings and he was seldom tested in the opening stages of the first game, going 9-3 up until James began to test him, but the Peruvian ultimately took it 11-8. Errors from James then saw Elias build up another substantial lead in the second game as he went 6-2 ahead, before pressing forward to double his lead for the loss of five points. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/diegoelias96?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@diegoelias96</a> has called <a href="https://twitter.com/declanjames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@declanjames</a> a taxi here in Grand Central Terminal!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToC18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToC18</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://t.co/aZ1C5dISPa">pic.twitter.com/aZ1C5dISPa</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954412309484466176?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> However, Elias was forced off court at the outset of the third game when he fell, lunging into the back-hand corner, and he was rattled from that point onwards as James took charge, building up two game balls before Elias hammered a volley into the tin to hand his opponent a lifeline. The fourth game was a captivating affair as James pushed Elias all the way to a tie-break, although the Englishman could consider himself unfortunate to have a couple of strokes given against him after he was adjudged to have taken Elias’s line, with the second of those strokes given Elias two game balls. True to nature, James dug in and took the next two points on offer to draw level, but Elias prevailed in the next point, before James hit the ball out of court to send Elias through to the next round, where he will face either World No.7 Tarek Momen or World No.9 Mohamed Abouelghar. "This is my first match after the injury but I’m feeling really good and I’m just happy to win my first match of the year," said Elias. "He’s been playing really well and he beat me the last time, so I knew how good he was. I was really concentrating and I knew it was going to be really hard. "I’m just coming back, I’m not feeling really confident yet with my fitness, so I was trying to close it out in the fourth." *Result* Diego Elias (PER) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10 (62m) *Cuskelly Vanquishes Mosaad*20180119200043_Cuskelly-ToC-DayTwo.jpgAustralia’s World No.15 Ryan Cuskelly dispatched former World No.3 Omar Mosaad by a 3-1 scoreline to book his place in the second round of this tournament for the third time in succession. The 30-year-old from Evans Head made blistering starts to the first three games and, while Mosaad managed to weather the storm in the opening game to go 1-0 up, he was unable to prevent the Australian from converting victories in games two and three. The fourth game was a tight affair which saw both players trade points as momentum ebbed and flowed between the two of them, with Cuskelly eventually getting the better of the Egyptian to amass two game balls. Mosaad managed to save one of them, but a tinned effort soon after from ‘The Hammer of Thor’ brought the match to a close, with Cuskelly progressing to face either World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy or Hong Kong’s Leo Au in the next round. "I’m really happy, I’ve played Omar a few times and he’s a good, solid player," said Cuskelly. "He cuts off the ball well and hits it very hard, so I was just trying to be aggressive and my coach [former World Champion Rodney Martin] changed the tactics a bit after the first game. "If I didn’t have Rod here I might have lost that because he told me to be a bit more aggressive and it paid off. I was rallying too much in the first game and then I started taking it in short and being more aggressive and it worked out in the end. "He’s [Martin] probably the reason why I’m here today, we’ve been working hard on my game for over ten plus years. Now I’m starting to see the results, I’ve put in the hard work, so it’s good to see it’s finally paying off. "I’m not done yet, I still want to get to the top 10 and I’ve got to keep beating guys like Omar." *Result* Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (54m) *Momen Weathers Abouelghar Storm to Reach Round Two*20180119212106_Momen-ToC-DayTwo.jpgEgyptian World No.7 Tarek Momen fended off a late comeback from compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar to book his second round berth - where Peru’s World No.10 Diego Elias awaits. World No.9 Abouelghar represented one of the toughest first round draws that Momen could possibly have had, with the 24-year-old enjoying a strong start to the season that has seen him win two titles, resulting in his rise into the top 10 earlier this month. But Momen was red-hot in the opening two games of their clash in New York as Abouelghar failed to connect with his drop shots and he took full advantage to open up a two-game lead. The older Egyptian then squandered a 9-8 lead in the third as Abouelghar came through to claim a game back, before building on a 7-1 lead in the fourth to draw level and set up a nail-biting decider. There was little between the two in a dramatic fifth game, but the experience of Momen won out as he held his composure at the crucial points to take the win on the tie-break. "It’s extremely tough to play someone as good as Abouelghar in the first round of a major tournament," said Momen. "It’s just crazy, he’s such a talented player and he’s a nightmare to play in any round, especially the first round. "I’m so happy to pull through today, I’ve been playing a few tough matches and they weren’t going my way, so I’m really happy to have managed to stick with it today and to squeeze it in the end. "We do a lot of physical work [in training], but even that doesn’t help when it’s 2-2 and 10-10 after that many minutes. I could feel that the cramping stage was approaching, so I’m very lucky to have pulled it off without any cramps. "It was a mental battle as well today and I want to congratulate Mohamed on getting into the top 10." *Result* [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10 (70m) *Crowd Favourite Rodriguez Downs Yip*20180119221600_Rodriguez-ToC-DayOne.jpgColombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez moved through to round two after a solid display from the former World No.4 saw him dispatch Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip in straight games. Rodriguez truly established himself as an elite player here back in 2015 when he made it to the semi-finals, beating current World No.1 Gregory Gaultier en route, and his all-action displays and incredible speed around court has made him a firm crowd favourite at Grand Central Terminal over the past few years. The 2016/17 season saw his form slip - culminating in a shock loss to Yip in the opening round of the 2016 Hong Kong Open - but he made amends for that defeat today in New York. A crucial first game saw both players hold game balls as they traded blows, with Rodriguez eventually converting at the third attempt to go ahead. And his athleticism came to the fore at the end of the second game as he leapt through the air and glided around court to pick up a series of deft touches from Yip to double his advantage, eliciting a huge roar from the crowd packed inside Vanderbilt Hall. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"Get the suit out PJ, it's disco time!"<br><br>Crowd favourite <a href="https://twitter.com/MiguelSquash?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MiguelSquash</a> is on form here in New York - outrageous speed on show from from the Colombian Cannonball<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToC18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToC18</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://t.co/r0l2bLRZkj">pic.twitter.com/r0l2bLRZkj</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954468700114923520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> The 32-year-old then put up the barricades in the third game and gave Yip little to attack as he closed out an 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 victory to move through to the last 16, where he will come up against either World No.3 Ali Farag or New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson. "Yip is a very talented player, he’s very fast and he’s a big guy," Rodriguez said. "The last time I played him, I lost in Hong Kong two years ago but I was ready to play this match. The end of the year for me was excellent, so I’m trying to keep that momentum and it worked. "I had to push really hard in the first and second games because I knew it was going to be very hard against him but I’m happy with my performance today." Now ranked at World No.23, Rodriguez has shown glimpses of recapturing his best form over the past two months, reaching the quarter-final stage of December’s PSA World Championships, and says that he is relishing being fully fit after revealing that he had carried an injury for the majority of last season. "I think I fixed a few problems that I had in my body," he said. "Last season was very tough for me and I was playing with injuries, but I have my physical trainer back at home and my dad is with me here, which I’m very happy about because he is the one who has guided me since I was a kid. "I’m 100 per cent at this event now." *Result* Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 (42m) *Kiwi Coll Earns Second Round Spot After Beating Mohamed*20180119234337_Coll-ToC-DayTwo.jpg?x=-1&y=-57.0625&w=614&o=608New Zealand’s World No.11 Paul Coll put in a polished performance to overcome Egypt’s Zahed Mohamed by a 3-0 margin to move into round two. Coll, the 25-year-old from Greymouth who reached the quarter-finals at last year’s tournament, was solid right from the beginning of the match and he went a game up after profiting off six unforced errors from Mohamed. Mohamed showed glimpses of quality throughout the encounter - hitting a stunning cross court nick towards end of the opener - but Coll was too consistent and dictated the pace of the match as he surged to an 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 win in 44 minutes. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><br><br>Scandalous finish from <a href="https://twitter.com/ZahedSheren?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ZahedSheren</a> after a back-and-forth exchange with <a href="https://twitter.com/paulcollsquash?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@paulcollsquash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RollerCity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RollerCity</a> <a href="https://t.co/PeoqS3oLhg">pic.twitter.com/PeoqS3oLhg</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954480199898312704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> "I felt very good out there and I’ve got good memories on this court from last year," said Coll. "I’ve been working hard over Christmas and I was a bit disappointed with my last appearance [at the PSA World Championships] so I worked pretty hard for this. "It’s definitely a different feeling this season being ranked where I am now compared to last year, but I’m enjoying coming into the first round fresh and not having any matches under my belt. "I’m just trying to stay relaxed and I’ve got good people around me and watching me. I’m just focusing on my game and my strengths and going from there. "I felt really good on court today, a lot of the stuff I’ve been working on was coming off, so I’m extremely happy with where my game is at and it’s a good start to the year." *Result* [8] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (44m) *Ashour Beats Hesham After Making ToC Return*20180120003903_Ashour-ToC-DayTwo.jpg?x=0&y=-50&w=614&o=608Three-time Tournament of Champions winner Ramy Ashour made his return to Grand Central Terminal for the first time since 2013 after the former World No.1 overcame compatriot Mazen Hesham by a 3-0 margin. A litany of injuries over the past five years have prevented Ashour from becoming a regular fixture at the tournament but he had won his last 10 matches in New York, a run which encompassed title wins at both the 2011 and 2012 instalments. Both players are renowned for their shot-making talents and had met just once before on the PSA World Tour, with Ashour taking a one-sided victory in just 26 minutes during the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championships. Hesham struggled to keep the ball above the tin throughout as the 23-year-old maverick failed to really hit his stride and it was Ashour who found his shots first. The older Egyptian took the first two games in relatively comfortable fashion but was forced to a tie-break in the third, with Hesham threatening to take the match to a fourth. But he squandered the opportunity as Ashour came back into it and the three-time World Champion held out to seal an 11-5, 11-8, 13-11 victory. "It’s been a while, last time I came here was 2013 and it’s like a dream come true," said Ashour. "The tournament is prestigious, everyone wants to win the Tournament of Champions. It’s really good to be back, a lot has happened and I wasn’t sure when I would be back here and when I would win again on court. "On the last point I was just looking around and absorbing everything. When I came to the States, I started thinking about living here and every time I say that this is the year. "I don’t even want to win it, I just want to play because I’ve won it three times before and I want to be here. I’m just grateful for everything I’ve been through and I’m glad to be back." *Result* Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 13-11 (44m) *World Champ ElShorbagy On Form to Dispatch Au*20180120014348_ElShorbagy-ToC-DayTwo.jpg?x=-8&y=-78.6875&w=627&o=608World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy made it 21 wins in a row after storming to a 3-0 victory over Hong Kong’s Leo Au to seal his place in round two. The Bristol-based Egyptian has been in sensational form of late and finally got his hands on the PSA Men’s World Championship trophy last month - beating younger brother Marwan in the final - to win a fourth tournament in a row. Au, meanwhile, had hit the headlines on home soil during November’s Hong Kong Open, when he stunned defending champion Ramy Ashour in a memorable first round victory and he was playing at a career-high ranking of World No.22. However, ElShorbagy picked up where he left off in 2017 with a dominant display against Au and the 27-year-old’s unrelenting pressure and incredible pace of hitting saw him claim an 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 victory to set up a second round matchup with Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly. "I played him during my junior career and I know how dangerous he is," said ElShorbagy, who won the Tournament of Champions in 2015 and 2016. "He’s been in very good form, he beat Ramy in Hong Kong and he took his team into the semis of the World Team Championships last month as well. "He’s been playing very well and I had to be focused from the first point." *Result* [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (32m) *Farag Comes Through Against Grayson*20180120025957_Farag-ToC-DayTwo.jpgEgyptian World No.3 Ali Farag was made to work for his victory over Kiwi qualifier Campbell Grayson before ultimately coming through to take the win by a 3-1 margin. Grayson had won their only previous meeting on the Tour - back in 2009 when Farag was just 17 years of age. Harvard-graduate Farag had the better of the opening game to go ahead but a superb response from Grayson saw the World No.39 stretch the court and keep the ball away from Farag’s racket in game two. The New Zealander was rewarded with victory in the second as he drew level but Farag was soon back on top and he claimed 11-4 victories in the third and fourth games, with the final point serving up a bizarre climax to the match after Grayson lost his grip on his racket, only to see Farag inadvertently volley it along with the ball before being awarded a stroke due to interference. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We're not sure we've quite seen a match end with a point like this before<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToCSquash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToCSquash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToC18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ToC18</a> <a href="https://t.co/CNVna8QgdG">pic.twitter.com/CNVna8QgdG</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954544786572062720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 20, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> Next up for Farag is a second round meeting with Colombia’s former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez. It will be a repeat of their quarter-final clash at last month’s PSA World Championships, in which Farag prevailed. "To get off to such a start against a tricky opponent is always good and I’m very glad to be through to the second round," said Farag. "Campbell likes to play at a mid-pace and he is very accurate, so I had to push up the court a little bit and play with more intensity and I’m happy I was able to do that in the third and the fourth. "It was a shame the way it ended, I’m sorry about that and I’m glad that everyone is okay." *Result* [3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (50m) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5290/tournament-of-champions-day-two-as-it-happens 5290 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:31:41 +0000 Rivals Matthew and Willstrop to Contest Tournament of Champions Second Round Clash Long-term rivals Nick Matthew and James Willstrop will meet in the second round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions for a second year in succession after the Englishmen defeated France’s Gregoire Marche and Australia’s Cameron Pilley, respectively, on day one of the PSA World Series tournament taking place inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal. World No.13 Willstrop ended a 19-match, 10-year losing streak to Matthew during last year’s tournament and he will look to end Matthew’s run at the prestigious tournament for a second year running after he saw off World No.19 Cameron Pilley by an 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 margin. "I love playing here, the Tour is strong and to beat Cameron here is really tough," said Willstrop.20180119032356_Willstrop-ToC-DayOne.jpg?x=0&y=-49&w=617&o=608"I’m very happy. Every single event brings up either a new player or someone who is very good like Cameron, so I don’t really look at the draw anymore because you know you’ve got to turn up and be ready and that’s what I’m trying to do from the very beginning." Matthew, meanwhile, began his final ever Tournament of Champions campaign with an 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 victory over World No.29 Marche. Matthew, 37, will retire at the end of the season and has been a regular participant at the Tournament of Champions over the past 16 years, with five runner-up finishes to go with his title triumph in 2012. Matthew and Willstrop will meet for the 36th time on the PSA World Tour, with Matthew currently leading their head-to-head record 26-9.20180119032450_Matthew-ToC-DayOne.jpg"You try and take it like any other match but there’s something extra special about playing at this station, never mind with it being the last time," said Matthew. "The first match of any tournament is the trickiest, especially here because no matter how many times you play the noise and the ambience takes some getting used to. "I’ve started this tournament a little slowly [in the past], even when I’ve won it I’ve dropped games, so I was really determined to start well and he’s a tricky first round opponent. I was really delighted with how I played." Meanwhile, World No.1 Gregory Gaultier became the first male player of the modern era to reach 700 PSA matches after the Frenchman dispatched men’s United States No.1 Todd Harrity to end home hopes in the men’s draw. 35-year-old Gaultier, who was a losing finalist at last year’s tournament, will line up against English qualifier Tom Richards in the last 16, with World No.40 Richards upsetting India’s Saurav Ghosal to claim his first victory in the main draw of a World Series tournament since February 2016. "700 is not a nice number, I will make it to 1000, I’m sure!" said Gaultier.20180119032602_Gaultier-ToC-DayOne.jpg"I still feel good but I’ve been pretty upset with the last few months, coming back from an ankle injury was tough because I had to go to Qatar with no preparation at all. I thought I would catch up with the matches but I never really felt comfortable. "But over Christmas I managed to have three good weeks for the first time since summer, so I’m happy that I managed to have these weeks on the court, which will probably make a difference." The man Gaultier lost to in the 2017 final, World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad, is also through to round two after the Egyptian defeated Welshman Joel Makin to set up a meeting with Swiss World No.27 Nicolas Mueller, who came back from two games down to overcome England’s Adrian Waller.20180119032713_Gawad-ToC-DayOne.jpg"It’s always hard when you have the pressure of defending your title, especially here in Grand Central,” said Gawad. “It’s nice to play here, I love New York and I love being on court here. I’m trying to get as much time on court as I can and I’m really enjoying it." World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy and Germany’s World No.8 Simon Rösner were the other players to triumph on day one and they will go head-to-head in the next round after claiming respective wins over Cesar Salazar and England’s Daryl Selby. The first qualifying stage of the women’s tournament also took place today, with US players Sabrina Sobhy and Haley Mendez making it through unscathed. Sobhy, who beat World No.30 Coline Aumard, will line up against World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby, while Mendez’s victory over Milou van der Heijden means she will take on 2007 World Champion Rachael Grinham. First round action from the men’s draw continues tomorrow (January 19) when stars such as World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag begin their tournaments, while the women’s qualifying finals will also take place. Matches start from 12:00 local time (GMT-5) and action from the glass courts inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only). *Results - First Round (Top Half): 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (38m) [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (49m) James Willstrop (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (41m) [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (43m) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (29m) Simon Rösner (GER) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (75m) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (63m) [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (51m) *Draw - Men’s First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played January 19* [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) Diego Elias (PER) v [Q] Declan James (ENG) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) Leo Au (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) *Draw - Men’s Second Round (Top Half): To Be Played January 20* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) James Willstrop (ENG) v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) *Results - First Qualifying Round: 2018 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt [L] Thaisa Serafini (BRA) 3-0: 11-4, 11-0, 11-1 (17m) [12] Nada Abbas (EGY) bt Menna Hamed (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9 (53m) [15] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) bt [L] Olivia Fiechter (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (21m) [L] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) bt [6] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-1: 10-12, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 (41m) [4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) bt [L] Elani Landman (RSA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-1, 11-5 (19m) [11] Samantha Teran (MEX) bt Tinne Gilis (BEL) 3-1: 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6 (53m) [10] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) bt Nikki Todd (CAN) 3-2: 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m) [3] Nele Gilis (BEL) bt [L] Reyna Pacheco (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-1 (17m) [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Hana Moataz (EGY) 3-2: 11-3, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8 (45m) Haley Mendez (USA) bt [13] Milou van der Heijden (NED) 3-1: 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 (41m) Yathreb Adel (EGY) bt [16] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5 (34m) [7] Mayar Hany (EGY) bt [L] Mary Fung-A-Fat (GUY) 3-0: 11-5, 12-10, 11-1 (19m) [5] Heba El Torky (EGY) bt Sarah Cardwell (AUS) 3-1: 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7 (38m) [9] Hollie Naughton (CAN) bt Nicole Bunyan (CAN) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (21m) [14] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) bt [L] Tiffany Hau (USA) 3-0: 11-2, 11-2, 11-3 (17m) [2] Samantha Cornett (CAN) bt [L] Weenee Low (MAS) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (20m) *Draw - Women’s Final Qualifying Round: To Be Played January 19* [1] Mariam Metwally (EGY) v [12] Nada Abbas (EGY) [15] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v [L] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) [4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [11] Samantha Teran (MEX) [10] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [3] Nele Gilis (BEL) [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Haley Mendez (USA) Yathreb Adel (EGY) v [7] Mayar Hany (EGY) [5] Heba El Torky (EGY) v [9] Hollie Naughton (CAN) [14] Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [2] Samantha Cornett (CAN) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5289/rivals-matthew-and-willstrop-to-contest-tournament-of-champions-second-round-clash 5289 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 03:21:23 +0000 Tournament of Champions: Day One - As It Happens Join us in New York's iconic Grand Central Terminal for the opening day of main draw action at the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions. The men's main draw begins today, with the women's following in two day's time, as World No.1 Gregory Gaultier makes his 700th PSA appearance, coming up against United States No.1 Todd Harrity, while defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad takes on Welshman Joel Makin. Meanwhile, England's Nick Matthew begins his final ever Tournament of Champions campaign against French qualifier Gregoire Marche, with compatriot James Willstrop bringing proceedings to an end against Australia's Cameron Pilley. World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy is also in action against Mexico's Cesar Salazar, while German No.1 Simon Rösner faces Daryl Selby. The other two matches on day one will see Nicolas Mueller play Adrian Waller and Saurav Ghosal clash with Tom Richards. You can watch *LIVE* coverage on <a href="https://psaworldtour.com/tv">SQUASHTV</a> and <a href="https://promo-uk.eurosport.com/squashgeneric?ns_campaign=player-inter-prospect-squash-psaworldtour&ns_mchannel=partner&ns_source=squashtv&ns_linkname=banner&utm_campaign=player-inter-prospect-squash-psaworldtour&utm_medium=partner&utm_source=squashtv&utm_content=banner">Eurosport Player</a>. *Here's the SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Order of Play* (All times are local GMT-5)20180118161424_ToCDayOne.jpg?x=0&y=0&w=455&o=608*Rösner Ends Eight-Match Losing Streak to Selby*20180118185908_Rösner-ToC-DayOne.jpg?x=3&y=-221&w=621&o=608German No.1 Simon Rösner claimed his first ever victory over World No.17 Daryl Selby to earn his place in round two of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions. The Paderborn-based World No.8 had never beaten Selby in eight previous encounters and had only taken more than a game against the Englishman on one occasion, which was their last meeting back in 2013. But Selby struggled to get going in the early stages, with a number of tins in the first game in particular seeing Rösner take the opener for the loss of four points. An improved showing from Selby in the second game saw him finally stretch the tall German player to level the scores but Rösner found his rhythm again in the third to restore his lead. Selby was then forced off court in the early stages of the fourth game when he wiped his hand on the back right-hand corner and came away with a small piece of glass stuck in his finger. The 35-year-old soon returned to court though and showed off his trademark shot-making skills with a sublime shot from between his legs into the nick. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">WHAT. A. SHOT!!!<br><br>An absolute scandal from <a href="https://twitter.com/DarylSelby?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DarylSelby</a> - between the legs into the nick!! <br><br>Shot of the month could be over already! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/psaworldtour?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#psaworldtour</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/squash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#squash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/toc18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#toc18</a> <a href="https://t.co/uYAodYJBtZ">pic.twitter.com/uYAodYJBtZ</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954056405115322368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 18, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> But Rösner held his nerve from that point onwards to see out the match, taking it 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 in 75 minutes. "It feels amazing, I’ve played Daryl eight times on the PSA World Tour and I haven’t won a single match against him," said Rösner. "Winning here in New York and getting through in four is a really good effort and I’m really glad about the match. I took the ball early and put the pace up and I think that worked out for me in the end. "Daryl was getting a little bit slower at the end, so I was able to hit my corners, hit my shots and that was the key to my success today. "I think if your opponent plays the kind of shot he did [in the fourth], it’s pretty special and you have to smile yourself, which isn’t easy for me. "Normally I hate losing points and want to win as much as I can but it was just a really good and I enjoyed it a lot." *Result* Simon Rösner (GER) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (75m) *ElShorbagy Sweeps Past Salazar*20180118193646_ElShorbagy-ToC-DayOne.jpgWorld Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy made light work of World No.21 Cesar Salazar to take a 3-0 victory into the next round. ElShorbagy, the World No.5, has been in splendid form recently, reaching the final of last month’s PSA World Championships before following that up a week later by taking silverware at the Pakistan Open in Islamabad. ElShorbagy led the pair’s head-to-head record 3-1 coming into the match, having won their last three meetings and he made it four in a row after a clinical display that saw him take it 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 in just 29 minutes. "It’s been quite a good month that last one and I feel I’ve been playing really well," said ElShorbagy. "It’s about consistency now, I just want to keep playing well, keep enjoying it and this is an amazing venue for all of us and the perfect venue to enjoy your squash. "I’m just trying to relax as much as I can. It’s been working well for me lately, so hopefully things can come together and keep getting better. "Cesar has been playing really well lately, he had some good results at the U.S. Open, so I was trying to contain him as much as I could because I know he’s really fast and he’s a great player." ElShorbagy and World No.8 Simon Rösner will lock horns for a place in the quarter-finals. *Result* [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (29m) *Mueller Comes Back to Beat Waller*20180118205130_Nicolas-Mueller-ToC-DayOne.jpgSwiss World No.27 Nicolas Mueller came back from two games down to defeat English qualifier Adrian Waller in a punishing five-game matchup. Mueller, the 28-year-old from Zurich, had won all five of their previous clashes on the PSA World Tour but the recent form book had gone the way of Waller after he had won their last two meetings. And the Englishman looked on the verge of claiming a third successive win after an error-strewn display from Mueller in the opening game saw the man from England take the first game, while Waller edged the second by an 11-9 margin. But Mueller dug in his heels from that point onwards and showed his tenacity as he began to put in a consistent display which was completely at odds with his performance in game one. The ‘Swiss Rocket’ came back to take three games without reply, earning his place in the last 16 with a 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 triumph which will see him take on either defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad or Welsh qualifier Joel Makin next. "I’m definitely very relieved that I came out on top today," said Mueller. "It didn’t look too good after being 2-0 down but I kept on working hard and eventually he got a bit tired. He’s already played two matches in qualifying, which probably made a difference in the end. "I found my way into the game and started being a bit more positive and a bit more attacking, which is my natural kind of game. I’m very relieved to be through to the second round. "It’s a pity I lost the second game, I thought I played very well in that game and deserved to win it, but obviously he played the big points better in the end. I’ve done a lot of work on court together with [World No.8] Simon Rösner and [World No.42] Raphael Kandra over the Winter and I think that paid off in the end. "I’ve hardly came back from 2-0 down, normally I’m 2-0 up and end up losing. I’ll take it this time." *Result* Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (63m) *Richards Axes Ghosal to Claim Second Round Spot*20180118220756_Richards-ToC-DayOne.jpg?x=0&y=-42.625&w=615&o=608England’s World No.40 Tom Richards claimed his first victory in the main draw of a PSA World Series tournament since February 2016 after coming back from a game down to defeat India’s World No.16 Saurav Ghosal. Richards, a former World No.13, is currently playing at his joint-lowest ranking since 2009 but did reach the final of the London Open last month. Ghosal, meanwhile, has played some of his best squash this season, winning the CCI International and reaching the final of the Macau Open. The duo had met twice before on the PSA World Tour but were doing battle for the first time in a decade, with their last encounter throwing up a brutal 85-minute, five-game epic. Ghosal started the better of the two as he prevailed in some lengthy opening rallies, with Richards’ looking slightly tired after playing two matches in the qualifying stages, the second of which saw him go all the way to five games against Scotland’s Greg Lobban. However, some severe attacking from Richards swung the momentum in his favour and he went a game ahead until a much-improved showing from Ghosal in the second game saw him draw level. Richards rallied brilliantly though in the third, going 8-3 up and he fended off a late comeback from Ghosal to restore his lead, Richards was in the ascendancy again in the fourth as he powered 6-1 ahead, only to see a dogged Ghosal fight his way back into the encounter bringing it back to 6-5, until a three wall boast from Richards at match ball in the fourth died into the nick to give him his first main draw victory at a World Series event since the 2016 Windy City Open. "I train hard, I know I’m fit, but having two five gamers in the last couple of days means that I’m feeling pretty tired," said Richards. "As the match went on, I felt better and better and I’m happy to get that nick at the end because I was looking for something there. "Anyone with the class of Saurav, you know that they’re capable of coming back and you can’t give them an inch. Recently, I feel I’ve had a bit more clarity in the way I play and I’m attacking a lot but with a bit more structure. "I felt like I did that quite well today and that lead in the fourth game meant I could inch my way home." *Result* [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (49m) *Defending Champ Gawad Sees Off Tenacious Makin*20180118233839_Gawad-ToC-DayOne.jpgDefending champion Karim Abdel Gawad got his Tournament of Champions title defence off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory against the dangerous Welsh player Joel Makin in Grand Central Terminal. Gawad kept the men’s title in Egyptian hands for the fifth successive year when he beat World No.1 Gregory Gaultier to take the 2017 title but he found it tough against a tenacious Makin, who profited off seven errors from Gawad to take a surprise one-game lead. Gawad responded well though and the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ stepped up court and ramped up the pressure on the World No.41 to draw level as he finally began to connect with his attacking shots. Makin continued to stay in the rallies despite Gawad displaying evidence of his impressive shot-making skills but the Egyptian pulled through with 11-7 victories in games three and four to close out the win. "It’s always hard when you have the pressure of defending your title, especially here in Grand Central," said Gawad. "It’s nice to play here, I love New York and I love being on court here. I’m trying to get as much time on court as I can and I’m really enjoying it. "It’s weird because in each tournament we play during the season we normally play the same people, it’s been that way since 2008 when I started playing. For the first time I’m playing someone new. "It was me who was coming up to play the top players and now the opposite is happening to me. He’s very talented and strong physically and mentally. It was a tricky first round for me and I wish him all the best, I’m expecting him to have a great future." *Result* [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (51m) *Matthew Moves Past Marche in Straight Games*20180119003156_Matthew-ToC-DayOne.jpg2012 winner Nick Matthew began his final ever Tournament of Champions campaign with a win over French qualifier Gregoire Marche to ensure that he will take on either long-term domestic rival James Willstrop or Australia’s Cameron Pilley in the last 16. Matthew, 37, will retire at the end of the season and has been a regular participant at the Tournament of Champions over the past 16 years, with five runner-up finishes to go with his title triumph in 2012. 'The Wolf’ was in fine fettle against Marche - an opponent he had lost to just once in their five previous PSA World Tour encounter - despite Marche living up to his ‘Acrobat’ nickname during a breathtaking second-game rally, which saw the World No.29 pull off three dives in succession. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"That's why he's called the Acrobat!!"<br><br>Unbelievable athleticism from <a href="https://twitter.com/GregMarche?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GregMarche</a> as he goes full superman - with three dives! - in a ridiculous rally against <a href="https://twitter.com/nickmatthew?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nickmatthew</a> at the <a href="https://twitter.com/ToCSquash?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ToCSquash</a> <br><br>Fantastic entertainment<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/squash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#squash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/psaworldtour?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#psaworldtour</a> <a href="https://t.co/QhRglSRuNE">pic.twitter.com/QhRglSRuNE</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954139403953217536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 18, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> But he couldn’t do enough to prevent the experienced Englishman from taking the match in straight games, with World No.6 Matthew moving into the second round of this tournament for the 12th time in a row. "You try and take it like any other match but there’s something extra special about playing at this station, never mind with it being the last time," said Matthew. "The first match of any tournament is the trickiest, especially here because no matter how many times you play the noise and the ambience takes some getting used to. "I’ve started this tournament a little slowly [in the past], even when I’ve won it I’ve dropped games, so I was really determined to start well and he’s a tricky first round opponent. I was really delighted with how I played." *Result* [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (43m) *Gaultier Reaches 700 PSA Matches After Beating Harrity*20180119015241_Gaultier-ToC-DayOne.jpgWorld No.1 Gregory Gaultier became the first male player in the modern era to reach 700 PSA matches after he overcame United States No.1 Todd Harrity in straight games to end home hopes in the men’s draw. Gaultier, a 2009 winner and three-time runner-up, traditionally starts tournaments strongly and the ‘French General’ was solid throughout the 38-minute encounter as he kept the World No.50 at arm’s length. The 35-year-old took the opening two games by an 11-7 and then a 11-6 margin and was ahead in the third until a ferocious volley into the nick from Harrity to level up at 7-7 coincided with the lights going off in the court. Some fast-paced rallies then went the way of Gaultier as the veteran showed off his superb movement around the court and he closed out the third game by an 11-8 scoreline to earn his place in the last 16, where he will take on English qualifier Tom Richards. "I played okay but my shots were average in the front, so I need to work a little bit on that tomorrow so I can get a bit sharper in those areas," said Gaultier. "Todd was really strong and I thought he was hanging in the rallies pretty well and moving well side to side. He has pretty soft hands in the front corners, so we had some great rallies and it will make me fell better for the next round. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Home hero <a href="https://twitter.com/toddharrity?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@toddharrity</a> giving the crowd something to shout about as he comes out on top in a quality exchange with World No.1 Gregory Gaultier!!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/squash?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#squash</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/toc18?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#toc18</a> <a href="https://t.co/TKWpdKc1te">pic.twitter.com/TKWpdKc1te</a></p>— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) <a href="https://twitter.com/PSAWorldTour/status/954154121065451520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> "700 is not a nice number, I will make it to 1000, I’m sure! As long as I play, I want to win. Over the years I have had injuries and the body is weaker in certain areas and I can’t train the way I did 10 years ago. "I still feel good but I’ve been pretty upset with the last few months, coming back from an ankle injury was tough because I had to go to Qatar with no preparation at all. I thought I would catch up with the matches but I never really felt comfortable. "But over Christmas I managed to have three good weeks for the first time since summer, so I’m happy that I managed to have these weeks on the court, which will probably make a difference." *Result* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (38m) *Willstrop Overcomes Pilley to Set Up Blockbuster Clash With Rival Matthew*20180119024817_Willstrop-ToC-DayOne.jpgFormer World No.1 James Willstrop will take on long-term rival Nick Matthew in the second round after the 34-year-old put in a polished display to see off Australia’s Cameron Pilley. Willstrop, known on Tour as ‘The Marksman’ after his unerring accuracy, has had an acrimonious relationship with fellow Yorkshireman Matthew for the best part of a decade, with Matthew dominating the rivalry ever since a hot-tempered British Open final clash back in 2009. But Willstrop finally ended a 19-match, 10-year losing streak to his compatriot in the second round of last year’s Tournament of Champions and the pair are set to face off in the same stage of the 2018 edition after Willstrop’s 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 victory against World No.19 Pilley. Willstrop controlled the rallies well, taking a one-game lead after a strong start before narrowly edging ahead to take the second after fighting back from 9-6 down. The third game was a procession as the Englishman picked Pilley off and he wrapped up the win in 41 minutes to set up a titanic showdown with Matthew in the next round. "I love playing here, the Tour is strong and to beat Cameron here is really tough," said Willstrop. "I’m very happy. Every single event brings up either a new player or someone who is very good like Cameron, so I don’t really look at the draw anymore because you know you’ve got to turn up and be ready and that’s what I’m trying to do from the very beginning." *Result* James Willstrop (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (41m) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5288/tournament-of-champions-day-one-as-it-happens 5288 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 16:00:19 +0000 Saudi's Self-taught Squash Pioneer Sees A Better Future For Women "I am truly honoured to represent Saudi Arabia,” Those are the words of Nada Abo Alnaja - a trailblazing self-taught squash pioneer who last week wrote her name not only into squash history, but into sporting history. Beating off competition from four of her country-woman, the 32-year-old – who holds a masters degree in Marketing Management and works full time as manager of support services at Emkan Education - won the wildcard spot at the recent PSA Women’s Masters - the first professional women’s-only sporting event of any kind ever to take place in the Kingdom. As such, she became the first Saudi female ever to compete not only on the international squash stage but also the first Saudi professional female athlete to compete in Saudi Arabia - earning the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world for a share of a $165,000 prize fund - a fund that is equal that on offer at all Men’s World Series event, a fact that stands out in stark contrast to the opportunities historically available to women in the Kingdom. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would one day stand in front of a Saudi crowd, playing against Camille Serme, in front of all the top players from around the world. "It has been truly amazing to be a part of the professional tour experience this week and meet the players I have idolised for so long. "To be the first woman ever to represent Saudi Arabia is an honour for me.” During a squash era that is dominated by Egyptian triumphs, Abo Alnaja’s story speaks off a different kind of success. While only the width of the Red Sea separates Abo Alnaja from the Egyptian players she has idolised - like World Champions Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily - her relationship with squash has been the polar-opposite of Egypt’s world beating contingent. When El Welily, El Sherbini and co were testing their skills on the international circuit in junior competitions, Abo Alnaja was restricted to playing only in a local squash court - without any coaching, competition or opportunities. It was only last year, 2017, that Saudi women were granted the right to drive vehicles on their own, while the staging of the PSA Women’s Masters comes just weeks after the Saudi General Sports Authority granted women permission to attend professional Saudi Football League matches for the first time - a major shift in the country’s stance towards women. "I started playing squash in 2008 on a court that was in the gym I went to in Jeddah,” explained Abo Alnaja. "It was something fun to do to get fit. I thought the game was extremely interesting and ever since I have been a great fan, for many reasons. It is extremely physical, and it requires an incredible amount of technique and skill, all of which helped me have more focus in the gym. I just couldn’t go and do exercises: I needed a reason to go to the gym. Squash gave me that goal, that motivation. "However, there were no proper squash coaches available to me, which made it more difficult obviously. Myself and the group of people I played with all played for years without the proper technique, it wasn't until I went to France between 2010-2013 and found a coach there that I learned the correct technique needed to play. "Around that time, I played with four or five other ladies, but as time went by they became busy or lost interest, so I ended up doing a lot of solo practice and unlike the men we never had any organisation or entity that arranged any official matches, so my only competitive experience was in amicable matches with friends, but they happened very scarcely.” For Abo Alnaja to swap solo sessions for the challenge of Camille Serme on an all-glass show court is a monumental shift. The stance towards women in Saudi is changing. Opportunities are out there for Saudi women to test themselves and experience life like never before. And Abo Alnaja believes the experience she has had, combined with the impact the tournament itself has had on local women, could leave a lasting impact on a growing number of Saudi’s female pioneers. “Having this event, and having the world's best players come here to play, I believe will have a great impact on squash in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “I have already been contacted by female squash lovers in the country - the girls are now reaching out to me because of this event, which is amazing, and I hope that we will form a more organised squash community. "Playing squash in Saudi for a woman is challenging, we have a long way to go to take Saudi Arabia to the next level. “But being able to watch the professionals in this environment has been a huge source of motivation and drive for me personally. It inspires me to keep practicing and improving my own game, but I also hope that we can create a community here in Saudi Arabia where we will be able to attract coaches to come into the country and offer coaching to females and develop a competitive environment that will help us get experience and eventually allow us to compete internationally.” With Saudi committing to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent as part of the kingdom’s post-oil economy plan Vision 2030, life for Saudi women looks set to be altered forever. And Abo Alnaja’s name will forever be associated with the beginning of change. She will be associated with the changing of a country’s philosophy, of an era of new opportunities. “When I was hitting the ball for hours in my club in Jeddah, I would never have imagined where it would take me. So, the lesson is, ladies, whatever it is, if you love something, whatever activity, make up, clothes, if you love it enough, just do it, just put all of your energy in it because you never know where it may take you.” http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5287/saudis-self-taught-squash-pioneer-sees-a-better-future-for-women 5287 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 14:01:40 +0000 Men's Qualifying Draws to a Close at Tournament of Champions The final day of qualifying at the 2018 Men's J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions saw World No.41 Joel Makin upset top qualifying seed Alan Clyne to reach the main draw of the PSA World Series tournament - which takes place inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal - for the first time. Makin prevailed in a gruelling five-game clash with Scotland’s Clyne, taking it 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 in 80 minutes to send the Welshman through to the main draw, where he will take on defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad in round one. He will be joined in the main draw by fellow Brits Declan James, Tom Richards and Adrian Waller after the English trio defeated Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, Greg Lobban, and Ramit Tandon, respectively. James will lock horns with Peruvian World No.10 Diego Elias, while Richards comes up against Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal for a place in round two. Waller, meanwhile, takes on Switzerland’s Nicolas Mueller. Elsewhere, World No.29 Gregoire Marche came out on top in an all-French battle with Lucas Serme to set up a main draw meeting with 2012 winner Nick Matthew, while New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson is also through after his opponent, Hong Kong’s Max Lee, retired during the fifth game of their fixture. Egypt’s World No.33 Mazen Hesham is the other man through to the main draw courtesy of a victory over England’s Chris Simpson and he will take on three-time champion Ramy Ashour in one of the standout matches of the first round. The first round of the men’s tournament begins tomorrow (January 18), with the women’s tournament starting two days later. The finals of both the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place on Thursday January 25 from 19:00 local time (GMT-5) onwards. Main draw matches held on the glass show court inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown on mainstream broadcasters, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. Tickets for the tournament start from just $8 and can be purchased via the tournament website: www.tocsquash.com *Results - Final Qualifying Round: 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [8] Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [15] Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (43m) [6] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt [13] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 (31m) [7] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt [L] Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-1: 11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 11-2 (44m) [3] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [12] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (50m) [2] Declan James (ENG) bt [9] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (48m) [11] Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [4] Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 11-9, 4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 4-1 ret. [10] Tom Richards (ENG) bt [5] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-2: 7-11, 11-13, 13-11, 11-5, 11-8 (68m) [14] Joel Makin (WAL) bt [1] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-2: 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 (80m) *Draw – First Round (Top Half): To Be Played January 18* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) James Willstrop (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS) [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX) Simon Rösner (GER) v Daryl Selby (ENG) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) *Draw - First Round (Bottom Half): To Be Played January 19* [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) Diego Elias (PER) v [Q] Declan James (ENG) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) Leo Au (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5286/mens-qualifying-draws-to-a-close-at-tournament-of-champions 5286 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 04:01:01 +0000 Tournament of Champions: Draw Preview There is just one day to go until the iconic J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions gets under way on January 18. The world’s top players will descend on New York’s Grand Central Terminal with the tournament offering up valuable points on the PSA World Series Standings as players battle for a top eight finish which will guarantee their participation at June’s PSA World Series Finals. France’s World No.1 Gregory Gaultier tops the men’s draw and will face tournament wildcard United States World No.50 Todd Harrity in round one. The ‘French General’ is seeded to meet World Champion and World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy in a blockbuster final clash which would decide who became World No.1 in the PSA Men’s World Rankings. The two faced each other in a dramatic encounter in the semi-finals of last year’s tournament when 2009 champion Gaultier outsmarted his Egyptian opponent in a tense 3-2 victory to reach the final, where he lost out to Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad. ElShorbagy is the in-form player currently on the Men’s Tour having secured the biggest title of his career in Manchester in December when he beat younger brother Marwan ElShorbagy to lift the PSA World Championship trophy, which continues the former World No.1’s streak of reaching the final in every tournament he has played in so far this season – losing only the U.S. Open title to Ali Farag – and he will be looking to take the top spot on the Men’s World Rankings in a so far dominant season for the Egyptian. ElShorbagy will begin his search for a third ToC title against Hong Kong’s Leo Au, while defending champion Gawad will take on a qualifier in round one on January 18. Also competing in New York is 2012 champion Nick Matthew, who will take part in his last ever Tournament of Champions before he retires at the end of the season. The 37-year-old Yorkshireman lines up against a qualifier in round one and is seeded to meet long-term rival and compatriot James Willstrop in the second round. The two met 12-months ago at the same tournament when Willstrop ended a 19-match losing streak – that spanned ten years – against Matthew. Willstrop will go up against Australia’s World No.19 Cameron Pilley in round one. Other big names in the men’s draw includes three-time winner Egypt’s Ramy Ashour and U.S. Open winner Ali Farag – who will both take on qualifiers in round one and World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy who will face Mexico’s Cesar Salazar in the opening round. The women’s draw – which starts on January 20 – is headed up by World No.1 Nour El Sherbini – who recently won the Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters – as she targets a second ToC crown after her title win in New York in 2016. El Sherbini will take on Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in round one and is seeded to meet World Champion Raneem El Welily in the final, with a semi-final meeting against either two-time runner-up Laura Massaro or World No.5 Nouran Gohar in store. Defending champion France’s World No.3 Camille Serme – who defeated Massaro in last year’s final – will get her tournament under way against a qualifier. Whilst her opponent in the final 12 months ago, Massaro, will begin her campaign against compatriot Fiona Moverley. Whilst fellow Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry will line up against a qualifier. Elsewhere on the women’s draw, United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy makes her long awaited comeback from a ruptured achilles – which happened at last year’s Ciudad de Floridablanca – against a qualifier in round one. Two other American women also join Sobhy in the main draw. World No.13 and American No.1 Olivia Blatchford and 15-year-old Marina Stefanoni – who has been awarded the wildcard entry – in what is the first time that a trio of American women have competed in the main draw of the tournament. The men’s tournament will take place between January 18-25, while the women’s tournament starts two days later and will be staged between January 20-25. The Tournament of Champions will offer up points for the men’s and women’s PSA World Series Standings as players battle for a top eight finish which will guarantee their participation at June’s PSA World Series Finals. *2018 Tournament of Champions – Men’s Round One* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier] James Willstrop (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS) [Qualifier] v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX) Simon Rösner (GER) v Daryl Selby (ENG) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Qualifier] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) Diego Elias (PER) v [Qualifier] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) Leo Au (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) *2018 Tournament of Champions – Women’s Round One* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG) [Qualifier] v [16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) Salma Hany (EGY) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG) [14] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Victoria Lust (ENG) Fiona Moverley (ENG) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [Qualifier] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG) [9] Joelle King (NZL) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [6] Nicol David (MAS) [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) [Qualifier] v [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [Qualifier] v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5285/tournament-of-champions-draw-preview 5285 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:02:22 +0000 Watch Live Action from the Tournament of Champions The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions gets under way on January 18 as the world’s top players descend on New York for the next World Series event on the squash calendar. The iconic Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will play host to the world’s greatest players between January 18-25 and action will be shown *LIVE* on *SQUASHTV* and *Eurosport Player*. Egypt’s World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad returns to defend his title under strong competition from the likes of newly named World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and U.S. Open winner Ali Farag. In the women’s event, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini heads up the draw ahead of World Champion Raneem El Welily and defending champion Camille Serme. *2018 Tournament of Champions – Men’s First Round Draw* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier] James Willstrop (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS) [Qualifier] v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX) Simon Rösner (GER) v Daryl Selby (ENG) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Qualifier] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) Diego Elias (PER) v [Qualifier] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) Leo Au (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) *2018 Tournament of Champions – Women’s First Round Draw* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG) [Qualifier] v [16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) Salma Hany (EGY) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG) [14] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Victoria Lust (ENG) Fiona Moverley (ENG) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [Qualifier] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG) [9] Joelle King (NZL) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [6] Nicol David (MAS) [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) [Qualifier] v [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [Qualifier] v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) *2017/18 Upcoming SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Schedule:* J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions: January 18-25, 2018 UCS Swedish Open: February 8-11, 2018 Windy City Open: February 22-28, 2018 Canary Wharf Classic: March 5-9, 2018 Grasshopper Cup: March 14-18, 2018 El Gouna International: April 20-27, 2018 British Open: May 15-20, 2018 PSA World Series Finals: June 2018 * *Early rounds are exclusive to SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player only. Semi-finals and finals from World Series tournaments, the World Championships and selected other tournaments will be shown on SQUASHTV, Eurosport Player and <a href="https://psaworldtour.com/howtowatch" target="_blank">multiple broadcasters around the world.</a>* http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5284/watch-live-action-from-the-tournament-of-champions 5284 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:10:43 +0000 Sobhy Aiming to Put ‘Difficult Journey’ Behind Her Ahead of Tournament of Champions Return United States No.2 Amanda Sobhy will make her long-awaited comeback from a 10-month injury absence at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions later this week when the 24-year-old Harvard-graduate lines up at the prestigious World Series tournament held inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal. New York-born Sobhy became the first American-born woman ever to reach the final of this tournament back in 2016 - ultimately losing out to World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the title-decider - and she moved up to a career-high World No.6 ranking a matter of months later. However, a ruptured achilles - suffered while playing compatriot Olivia Blatchford in the semi-finals of the Ciudad de Floridablanca last March - halted Sobhy’s development and forced the charismatic American into a gruelling recovery process. Now ranked at World No.28, Sobhy will face a qualifier in round one and admits that her return to the court will be an emotional one. "Recently, it has turned to eagerness and excitement but the past few weeks it has been a whole rollercoaster of emotions, from excitement, to doubt, to anxiety and panic, to excitement again," said Sobhy, discussing her feelings about returning to the Tour. "It’s crazy to think that I am finally getting back to competing again, it’s been so long. "This has been the most difficult journey I’ve ever had to encounter so far. When people told me the recovery process takes a long time, I had no idea it was going to be this difficult. It’s been 10 months and I still can’t do a single leg calf raise, plus the atrophy on my leg is beyond absurd. "The hardest part for me mentally, physically, and emotionally was when I had to make that jump from doing normal PT [Physical Therapy] rehab that got you back to being a regular human again, to doing specific PT rehab for a professional athlete. "It has been such a crazy journey filled with a lot of ups and downs. There were a lot of times when I thought I was never going to get back to this level. Fortunately, I have an amazing team of people helping me out and working with me, who stuck by me throughout the whole recovery process." The Tournament of Champions is one of the sport’s longest-running tournaments and its stunning setting in the Vanderbilt Hall inside Grand Central Terminal means it is held at one of the most picturesque locations on the PSA World Tour. And Sobhy, who has the likes of U.S. Open champion Nour El Tayeb and World Champion Raneem El Welily on her side of the draw, is backing her home crowd at Grand Central Terminal to get behind her and spur her on when she takes to the court. "The Tournament of Champions is by far my favourite tournament, so the timing could not be better having my return to the Tour be at this tournament," Sobhy said. "Everybody, and I mean everybody, is coming to watch my first round match on Sunday evening. It is so amazing to see how much home support I have from the fans. They all want to see me get back out there again. "I could not be more excited to kickstart my return to the PSA World Tour with the Tournament of Champions." Alongside the women’s tournament - which is held between January 20-25 - there is also a men’s World Series tournament, which begins two days earlier and features the likes of World No1 Gregory Gaultier, World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, title holder Karim Abdel Gawad and 2012 winner Nick Matthew. The Tournament of Champions will also see players battle for points on the PSA World Series Standings as they try to qualify for a top-eight berth that will see them qualify for June’s PSA World Series Finals. Glass court matches from the main draw will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown on mainstream broadcasters such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. Tickets for the tournament start from just $8 and can be purchased via the tournament website: www.tocsquash.com *Draw – First Round: 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier] James Willstrop (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS) [Qualifier] v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX) Simon Rösner (GER) v Daryl Selby (ENG) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Qualifier] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) Diego Elias (PER) v [Qualifier] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) Leo Au (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) *Draw – First Round: 2018 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG) [Qualifier] v [16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) Salma Hany (EGY) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG) [14] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Victoria Lust (ENG) Fiona Moverley (ENG) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) [3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [Qualifier] Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG) [9] Joelle King (NZL) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v [6] Nicol David (MAS) [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) [Qualifier] v [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) [15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [Qualifier] v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5283/sobhy-aiming-to-put-difficult-journey-behind-her-ahead-of-tournament-of-champions-return 5283 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:48:40 +0000 Blatchford Hails ‘Monumental’ Saudi Experience American squash number one Olivia Blatchford, World No.13, has heaped praise on the organisers of last week's Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters, the PSA World Tour squash event which made history by becoming the first ever professional women’s sports event to be held in Saudi Arabia. In a week that also saw women granted the right to attend Saudi League football matches for the first time in history following a recent initiative backed by the General Authority of Sports in Saudi Arabia to increase sporting participation and awareness across the country, the ground-breaking squash tournament further helped break down barriers as the world’s leading female squash players descended on Riyadh to compete for a share of the $165,000 prize purse. And Blatchford – who reached the last 16 of the tournament – believes the timing of the event and the appearance of the world’s top squash player in Saudi Arabia could play a significant role in helping to promote positive change for women in the kingdom. “Going to Saudi and competing at the event was, for me, about resisting succumbing to misconceptions and giving myself over to hope and fighting for change,” said the 24-year-old. “It was about being a proud independent woman giving herself over to an experience so much larger than herself. To be part of a growing movement that promises growth and development. “In the build up to the tournament there was a lot of speculation regarding women’s rights and whether or not we were doing the right thing by being there. ‘No-one could watch, where’s my streaming, what about women’s rights?’ were comments that were being posted on various media - and I can understand that. “But this tournament was unlike anything that has been done before and that is entirely the point - it’s different. “Change takes time, nothing happens overnight, but I met so many people who care about change and with their strength and determination, change will happen. “I don’t see how anyone could call it anything but a step in the right direction." 20180117120251_DSC_5253.JPGAmongst the top female players in the world taking part in the ground-breaking World Series event – which saw Egypt’s World No.1 Nour El Sherbini crowned the winner - was tournament wildcard Nada Abo Alnaja, who became the first Saudi woman ever to compete on the PSA World Tour when she faced France’s World No.3 Camille Serme in round one. Abo Alnaja – who resides in Jeddah – taught herself how to play squash initially, before enlisting the help of coach Fabien Polly while spending time Grenoble, France and Blatchford described how inspirational it was for everyone involved at the event to listen to Abo Alnaja’s incredible story. “I met Nada on my first afternoon in Saudi,” said Blatchford. “She came into the ladies’ gym at the hotel, unravelled her head scarf and promptly proceeded to hike up the incline on the other treadmill. When I was done with my own session, she made her way over and introduced herself in the most eloquent of English. “We had dinner with her that night and it was amazing to listen to her speak of change in Saudi, her own views and opinions and of course her love of squash. We spoke about everything, from her own life to how things were for most women in the country. "It was inspirational to hear her talk of her dreams of one day opening a squash academy and even her nervousness towards her pending encounter with Camille. She spoke of frustrations and limitations, strengths and growth. “For us to be in Saudi meant the world to her, it gave her hope and joy and it really was then that I knew being here was important. Not just in a large newsworthy way but in a real way that this tournament was monumental. “In her post-match interview Nada urged spectating women to chase after their dreams, that they didn’t know where they might find themselves if they did. Her words got heard. Not going to Saudi world have been to keep that locked away, like a diamond under water. “To me, Nada was why we were there. Making history, or her-story. We are there to inspire new squash players, to give hope, to show people that you can pursue what you love - and that is power.” http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5282/blatchford-hails-monumental-saudi-experience 5282 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:55:34 +0000 PSA Team Up with Sports Data Labs to Capture Athlete Data at Tournament of Champions The Professional Squash Association (PSA) have today announced that they will team up with international technology company Sports Data Labs to capture data on their athletes performing at this month’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which takes place January 18-25 inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Sports Data Labs provides the technology and supporting infrastructure to enable in-game capture, analysis and distribution of real-time human data and will track player’s heart rate data in New York by utilising a sensor placed on the chest of players competing at the Tournament of Champions, which will be captured by Sports Data Lab’s real-time transmission and data platform. The PSA will also be working with Sports Data Labs during February's Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, where the captured data will be integrated into the broadcast of the World Series tournament held in Chicago. The use of Sports Data Lab’s infrastructure comes off the back of last week’s announcement that the PSA are set to launch a real-time statistics tracking system in partnership with interactiveSQUASH as the PSA look for new ways to market the sport and enhance their broadcasts from squash’s biggest tournaments. "As revealed by Forbes magazine, squash is the world’s healthiest sport and we’re excited to be able to demonstrate the hard work and sheer athleticism needed to compete as a professional squash player," said PSA COO Lee Beachill. "Squash is one of the world’s most physically demanding sports and the data captured by Sports Data Labs will help to highlight the incredible fitness and endeavour that our athletes showcase every time they step on to court. "Sports Data Labs have a proven track record in capturing and implementing athlete data and we are looking forward to working with them both in New York and Chicago." Sports Data Labs Chief Executive Mark Gorski said: "We are excited to be partnering with the PSA, an organisation that has been at the forefront of technology, innovation and adoption in professional sports. "We look forward to helping the PSA achieve its objectives of utilising human data to tell new stories around athletic performance in professional squash." *About Sports Data Labs* Sports Data Labs (SDL) provides the technology and supporting infrastructure to enable in-game capture, analysis and distribution of real-time human data. SDL solves the complexities inherent in working with multiple sensors, vendors and data types while unlocking the value of data for coaches, athletes and organisations looking to further develop quantified insights. SDL also provides data monetisation solutions through its internal global sales and distribution network. For more information, please visit www.sportsdatalabs.com http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5281/psa-team-up-with-sports-data-labs-to-capture-athlete-data-at-tournament-of-champions 5281 Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:56:28 +0000 El Sherbini on Verge of Qualifying for PSA World Series Finals World No.1 Nour El Sherbini is one victory away from qualifying for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals in Dubai after last week’s final victory over World Champion Raneem El Welily, which saw her lift the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Masters, PSA World Series title. Only the top eight players on the PSA World Series Standings will claim a coveted spot at June’s PSA World Series Finals and, after becoming the first female athlete ever to win a professional title in Saudi Arabia, El Sherbini has moved to the top of the women’s standings, overtaking previous leader El Welily to top the standings by 30 points. Points for the World Series Standings are on offer at all PSA World Series tournaments throughout the 2017/18 season, with the prestigious J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - which takes place between January 18-25 - the next tournament to have points on offer. El Sherbini faces Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in round one, with a win guaranteeing the Egyptian a minimum of 15 points, which would be enough to see her qualify for a place in Dubai in the summer. El Welily stays in second place on the women’s standings, while World No.7 Nour El Tayeb completes an Egyptian top three, with 65 points separating her and joint-fourth placed Joelle King and Nouran Gohar. World No.4 Laura Massaro follows in sixth, with France’s Camille Serme - who last season topped the PSA Women’s World Series Standings - sitting a place below the Englishwoman. Meanwhile, a quarter-final finish in Saudi Arabia for Nicol David means that the eight-time World Champion moves into the top eight for the first time this season, 10 points ahead of Alison Waters, Annie Au and Tesni Evans. The men’s standings are unchanged as World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy - who is already guaranteed to finish in the top eight - retains his place at the top of the standings, and he is followed by compatriots Ali Farag, Tarek Momen and Marwan ElShorbagy, while Germany’s Simon Rösner is the other player in the top five. World No.4 Karim Abdel Gawad sits in sixth ahead of 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad, while World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and three-time World Champion Nick Matthew stay at joint eighth. The battle for crucial points on the PSA World Series Standings continues later this week at the Tournament of Champions as the stars of the PSA World Tour do battle inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal. Glass court action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will be broadcast live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. The 2017/18 PSA World Series Finals will take place in Dubai between June 5-9. For more information on the tournament, please visit: <a href="https://worldseriesfinals.com/">www.worldseriesfinals.com</a>20180116155505_WSFStandingsUpdate3Events.jpg?x=0&y=0&w=504&o=608 http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5280/el-sherbini-on-verge-of-qualifying-for-psa-world-series-finals 5280 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:06:45 +0000 Tournament of Champions: Classic Encounters There are just two days until the iconic J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions gets under way in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, with the iconic event – which takes place between January 18 – 25 – offering up crucial points for the PSA World Series Finals Standings. To get in the mood, check out some of the greatest matches of the tournament’s recent history below. *2017 Men’s Tournament of Champions Semi-Final: Gregory Gaultier v Mohamed ElShorbagy* <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kEUNIVkAzqg" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> This was a match that had it all. The Frenchman strutted around court with style during the first two games as he dominated proceedings before a pivotal decision from the video referee in the third saw him capitulate as ElShorbagy pounced. An injury break, complaints from ElShorbagy and much more followed as the match drew to an epic conclusion much to the delight of the crowd inside Grand Central Terminal. *2017 Women’s Tournament of Champions Quarter-Finals: Sarah-Jane Perry v Raneem El Welily* <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/40oMhdevFb8" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> England’s Sarah-Jane Perry had halted home favourite Amanda Sobhy to secure an unexpected berth in the last eight of the tournament – but faced an even tougher task to reach her first ever PSA World Series tournament semi-final in the form of 2015 event winner Raneem El Welily. *2017 Men’s Tournament of Champions Round Two: James Willstrop v Nick Matthew* <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HcjesBsVuoE" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> James Willstrop hadn’t beaten compatriot Nick Matthew in 19 consecutive PSA attempts – spanning over a decade – when they clashed in the second round of last year’s Tournament of Champions. And with Matthew reaching the latter stages of both the U.S. Open and Qatar Classic during the season, could that streak end in New York? *2016 Women’s Tournament of Champions Quarter-Final: Nouran Gohar v Laura Massaro* <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/THehyS91e7k" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Then-World No.2 Nouran Gohar had been making waves in the build up to the 2016 Tournament of Champions after defeating the likes of Malaysian icon and eight-time World Champion Nicol David and Frenchwoman Camille Serme in the latter stages of 2015. The teenager - then 18-years-old - was up against England’s Laura Massaro as she aimed to reach a first ever World Series semi-final, while Massaro was appearing in her first tournament since claiming the World No.1 spot in the January 2016 World Rankings. *2015 Women’s Tournament of Champions Semi-Final: Alison Waters v Nour El Sherbini* <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zFtnx_pWEII" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> After stunning defending champion and then World No.1 David in the last eight, Alison Waters took on the dangerous El Sherbini for a place in the showpiece finale. A strong start from the young Egyptian saw her take a one-game lead, leaving Waters up against it as she looked to reach the final of the distinguished tournament for the first time. *2013 Men’s Tournament of Champions Final: Ramy Ashour v Gregory Gaultier* <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPrEIOGuTWo" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Arguably the greatest Tournament of Champions final in recent history, reigning World Champion Ramy Ashour took on Gregory Gaultier in his eighth consecutive PSA World Tour final. The New York-based Egyptian was in the midst of a sensational 25-match unbeaten run and stunned the watching crowd with some outrageous squash. http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5279/tournament-of-champions-classic-encounters 5279 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:42:50 +0000 2018 Windy City Open to Become Most Lucrative World Series Tournament Ever The 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company will become the most lucrative PSA World Series tournament ever next month when $500k of prize money will be split equally across both the men’s and women’s draws between February 22-28. Held at the University Club of Chicago’s iconic and intimate Cathedral Hall, the Windy City Open became the second World Series tournament to offer parity in prize money between male and female players back in 2015 and will offer a $200k increase in prize money compared to last year. World Champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily feature in a world-class draw that will contain 64 players, representing upwards of 15 different countries, while World No.1s Gregory Gaultier and Nour El Sherbini will also be in action. El Welily claimed an unprecedented third successive Windy City Open crown last March with victory over El Sherbini in the final, while France’s Gaultier collected his second title at the tournament after overcoming World Championship runner-up Marwan ElShorbagy. Also competing at the tournament will be 37-year-old Englishman Nick Matthew, who will make his last ever appearance at the tournament. The Yorkshireman made history in 2015 when he took the title to become the oldest ever winner of a PSA World Series tournament. The tournament wildcards will be made up of men’s World No.68 Chris Hanson and women’s World No.208 Sabrina Sobhy. New-York born Hanson is in line to make his fourth appearance at the tournament, while Harvard Junior Sobhy - the younger sister of former World No.6 Amanda - makes her first PSA World Tour appearance since 2016. "Becoming the most lucrative World Series tournament ever is a huge honour and is indicative of the Windy City Open’s status as one of squash’s premier events," said Tournament Promoter John Flanigan. "We would like to thank our title sponsors - the Walter Family and the EquiTrust Life Insurance Company - for their support and look forward to welcoming the world’s greatest players back to the University Club of Chicago once again." In addition to the record prize money, players will also be competing for points on the PSA World Series Standings as they aim to secure a top eight berth, which would guarantee them a spot at June’s PSA World Series Finals. Qualifying for the tournament takes place between February 20-21, while the main draw will be staged between February 22-28. Action from the glass court matches will be streamed live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), with matches from the semi-finals and finals also being shown live on mainstream broadcasters around the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. Tickets start from $25 and can be purchased <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-windy-city-open-tickets-39557624921?ref=ebtn">here.</a> For all the latest news on the Windy City Open, go to <a href="http://www.windycityopen.com/">www.windycityopen.com</a> or follow the tournament on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/WindyCityOpen/">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/chicagosquash?lang=en">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/windycityopen/">Instagram.</a> *2018 Men’s Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company – Entry List* 1) Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2) Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3) Ali Farag (EGY) 4) Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 5) Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 6) Nick Matthew (EGY) 7) Tarek Momen (EGY) 8) Simon Rösner (GER) 9) Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 10) Diego Elias (PER) 11) Paul Coll (NZL) 12) James Willstrop (ENG) 13) Ramy Ashour (EGY) 14) Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 15) Saurav Ghosal (IND) 16) Daryl Selby (ENG) 17) Borja Golan (ESP) 18) Cameron Pilley (ENG) 19) Omar Mosaad (EGY) 20) Cesar Salazar (EGY) 21) Leo Au (HKG) 22) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 23) Zahed Mohamed (EGY) Wildcard) Chris Hanson (USA) *2018 Women’s Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company – Entry List* 1) Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 2) Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3) Camille Serme (FRA) 4) Laura Massaro (ENG) 5) Nouran Gohar (EGY) 6) Nicol David (MAS) 7) Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 8) Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 9) Joelle King (NZL) 10) Alison Waters (ENG) 11) Annie Au (HKG) 12) Amanda Sobhy (USA) 13) Tesni Evans (WAL) 14) Olivia Blatchford (USA) 15) Joshna Chinappa (IND) 16) Emily Whitlock (ENG) 17) Victoria Lust (ENG) 
18) Donna Urquhart (AUS) 19) Salma Hany (EGY) 20) Joey Chan (HKG) 21) Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 
22) Fiona Moverley (ENG) 23) Mariam Metwally (EGY) Wildcard) Sabrina Sobhy (USA) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5278/2018-windy-city-open-to-become-most-lucrative-world-series-tournament-ever 5278 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:14:11 +0000 Blatchford Relishing Playing at ‘Electric’ Tournament of Champions United States World No.13 Olivia Blatchford is looking forward to playing in New York’s Grand Central Terminal when the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions gets under way later this week. For the first time in her career, Blatchford has secured a spot in the main draw of the Tournament of Champions without having to go through qualifying and the American – who will face a qualifier in round one - insisted she can’t wait to step on the glass court inside Grand Central Terminal’s iconic Vanderbilt Hall. “It’s electric,” said the 24-year-old. “Walking onto that court in Grand Central is exhilarating – I think that the bustling atmosphere only adds to the drama that is the ToC, the energy outside the court equalling that of the competitors on court. “The Tournament of Champions is a very special event for me, I grew up watching it year after year, starting when I was still in diapers.” Blatchford is one of three American women in the main draw – alongside Amanda Sobhy and teenager Marina Stefanoni – a first in the tournament’s history. “We are a force to be reckoned with! I think it’s marvellous to have the American flag represented in full force at such an iconic event, but I also know this won’t be the last time,” said Blatchford. “We have a lot of talented players and strong young women who are more than capable to join us on the circuit. “I’m really looking forward to these next 18 months with Team USA – we’ve got the World Team Championships in China come September time and we begin a Pan American Games year. I think it’s safe to say that good times lay in store for U.S. Squash.” The 24-year-old has seen her career go from strength-to-strength in the past year as she has risen up the World Rankings with last season proving to be a breakthrough one as she rose 27 spots to No.13 this month – after reaching a career high of No.12 in December. The American reached the final of the Ciudad de Floridablanca in Colombia last year and so far this season has reached the quarter-finals of the NetSuite Open and the second round of both the PSA World Championships and Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters. And with compatriot Sobhy sidelined for most of last year with an achilles injury, Blatchford is currently the No.1 American Player on the PSA World Tour. “I’d really been struggling at the tail end of 2016 and it all culminated at the World Team Championships in Paris,” said Blatchford. “I had a lot of truths to face and for the first time I actually did face them. Most of it was really just realising how lucky I am to do what I do, to have the life that I lead and also how much I love the game. “My favourite quote is by Buddha: ‘If you like a flower you pick it. If you love a flower you water it.’ I accepted that I had done a lot of picking in my life and that the only way to go forward was to become a waterer!” There is also one other reason for Blatchford to be excited about 2018 has in store – her July wedding to fellow pro Alan Clyne. “I’m very lucky – I’m marrying my best friend and really my teammate. “We met six years ago at the Tournament of Champions, right be the glass court in Grand Central – crazy huh? I don’t believe too much will change. I will still like to cook and make a mess and Alan will still be left with the dishes to clean up but really we are a team.” http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5277/blatchford-relishing-playing-at-electric-tournament-of-champions 5277 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:17:15 +0000 Title-Holder Serme Hoping to Lift First Title of the Season in New York Defending women’s champion Camille Serme is hoping to lift her first PSA World Tour title of the season when she participates in the 2018 edition of the prestigious J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which is held at the iconic Grand Central Terminal in New York. Taking place between January 18-25, the Tournament of Champions is one of the most highly-anticipated tournaments on the PSA World Tour calendar and last year’s instalment saw Serme become the first Frenchwoman ever to capture the title after a superb victory over World No.4 Laura Massaro in the final. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nk61i-d3r7Y" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Serme, who takes on a qualifier on day one of the women’s tournament (January 20), has been a serial semi-finalist so far this season - reaching the last four stage at three of her last five tournaments, including two semi-final losses to World Champion Raneem El Welily in November’s Hong Kong Open and last month’s PSA Women’s World Championships. And the World No.3, who is once again seeded to meet El Welily in the semi-finals in New York, says that she is focusing on her squash as she aims to end an 11-month trophy drought. "So far, my season has been a bit up and down," said 28-year-old Serme. "I’m a bit disappointed not to have won a PSA tournament yet, but there’s still plenty to come. I want to focus on my squash and on how I can still improve and become a better player. That is what worked last year. "Winning the Tournament of Champions last year was amazing, especially because I have always admired this tournament. Playing in the Grand Central Station in New York is incredible and it was great to have my staff and my good friends with me. "I’m the kind of person who always looks at the places where we play and thinks how lucky we are, we have an amazing job. Grand Central Station has a lot of history and it’s amazing to play there. "I can’t wait to play there, I just want to enjoy that location, that court, and play on it as much as I can." Serme is part of a top-class women’s draw that also includes stars such as Massaro, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and eight-time World Champion Nicol David, while 15-year-old tournament wildcard Marina Stefanoni will become the youngest ever player in the history of the Tournament of Champions to compete at the event. Meanwhile, World No.1 Gregory Gaultier heads up the men’s tournament, which starts two days earlier on January 18, and he is seeded to meet World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final - a match that could decide the destination of the World No.1 spot in next month’s World Rankings. This year’s Tournament of Champions is the most lucrative edition ever with an equal $165,000 prize fund up for grabs, while points for the PSA World Series Standings are also on offer as players try to qualify for a place in June’s PSA World Series Finals. Glass court matches from the main draw will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown on mainstream broadcasters such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. Tickets for the tournament start from just $8 and can be purchased via the <a href="http://www.tocsquash.com/">tournament website.</a> *Draw – First Round: 2018 Men’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS) 
[Qualifier] v [6] Nick Matthew (ENG)
 [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX) 
Simon Rösner (GER) v Daryl Selby (ENG) 
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier] 
[Qualifier] v [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Qualifier]
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
 Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [8] Paul Coll (NZL) 
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
 Diego Elias (PER) v [Qualifier] 
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Omar Mosaad (EGY) 
Leo Au (HKG) v [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) *Draw – First Round: 2018 Women’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions* [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 [Qualifier] v [16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 
[13] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Qualifier] 
[Qualifier] v [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 
[5] Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA)
 Salma Hany (EGY) v [10] Alison Waters (ENG) 
[14] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Victoria Lust (ENG) 
Fiona Moverley (ENG) v [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) 
[3] Camille Serme (FRA) v [Qualifier] 
Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [11] Annie Au (HKG) 
[9] Joelle King (NZL) v [Qualifier]
 [Qualifier] v [6] Nicol David (MAS) 
[8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
 [Qualifier] v [12] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 
[15] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 
[Qualifier] v [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5276/title-holder-serme-hoping-to-lift-first-title-of-the-season-in-new-york 5276 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:04:00 +0000 Stefanoni Set to Make History at Tournament of Champions United States 15-year-old Marina Stefanoni will make tournament history as the youngest ever player to play at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which takes place at New York’s Grand Central Terminal this week. Stefanoni was recently in action at the British Junior Open – held in Birmingham earlier this month – as she finished runner-up to Aifa Azman in the G17 final by an 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 scoreline. The 15-year-old tournament wildcard – who won the US Junior Open Girls U19 in December and is the youngest player to have won the U19 US National title when she first captured it at just 13-years-old - will take on Egypt’s World No.5 Nouran Gohar in round one on January 20 at 19:30 local time. Egypt’s World No.1 and two-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini was the previous youngest player to have played at the Tournament of Champions, when she competed at the age of 16 back in 2012. Stefanoni will be one of three USA players in the women’s main draw of the tournament, alongside World No.13 Olivia Blatchford and World No.28 Amanda Sobhy, the latter of whom will be playing in her first tournament in 10 months after tearing her achilles at the Ciudad de Floridablanca tournament in March last year. “My first reaction to finding out that I got the wildcard for the ToC was shock,” said the 15-year-old. “I was hoping for a local spot in the qualifier. I am so excited to be playing in the main draw against one of the top women in the world.” You can watch highlights from the British Junior Open <a href="https://psaworldtour.com/tv/highlights/">here.</a> http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5275/stefanoni-set-to-make-history-at-tournament-of-champions 5275 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:41:42 +0000 Tournament of Champions: A History New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal will once again host the prestigious J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions when the World Series event takes place between January 18-25. The historic tournament offers another chance for players on the Men’s and Women’s Tour to collect points for the World Series Standings as they aim for a top eight finish, which will guarantee their place at June’s PSA World Series Finals. Introduced back in 1930 as a men’s only tournament, under the guise of the US Professional Championships, home player Jack Summers was the first title winner and would go on to win four of the first five instalments of the event. The first 22 tournaments were all won by local players before legendary Pakistani player Hashim Khan brought a halt to the United States dominance in 1955. However, after his victory, Khan would have to wait eight years to lift his second title – with that victory setting up a 14-year period of dominance for his fellow countrymen until Stuart Goldstein returned the title to US hands in 1978. The next decade and a half saw four nationalities trade the title with Canadians Clive Caldwell and Michael Desaulniers and Mexico’s Mario Sanchez joining winners from the United States and Pakistan – with six-time World Champion Jahangir Khan claiming the crown between 1984-1985. In 1993, the event was renamed to the Tournament of Champions, with eight-time World Champion Jansher Khan winning the first tournament under the new name. Khan was also the champion in 1995, where the tournament broke new ground to become one of the first ever events to be staged in Grand Central Terminal’s stunning Vanderbilt Hall. The tournament has stayed there ever since, aside from a three-year period between 1996-1998 due to renovations at the venue, making it the only sports championship held annually inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal. Since then, the Tournament of Champions has seen some of the most famous names ever associated with the sport lift the famous trophy, with Canadian Jonathon Power (4), England’s Peter Nicol (3) and Egypt’s Amr Shabana (3) being joined a list that also includes the likes of Ramy Ashour, Nick Matthew, Gregory Gaultier, James Willstrop and Mohamed ElShorbagy. <iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EPrEIOGuTWo" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> A women’s event began in 2001, with Australian five-time World Champion Sarah-Fitz Gerald winning the first two tournaments in 2001 and 2002. The person she beat in the 2001 final – former World Champion Vanessa Atkinson – finally got her hands on the title for successive years between 2005-2006, with Natalie Grainger becoming the first female United States representative to triumph over the next two years. Former World No.2 Natalie Grinham became the fourth woman to win the tournament on two occasions between 2012-2013, before Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David made her mark on the tournament the following year. Now recognised as one of the premier tournaments on the PSA World Tour, the Tournament of Champions in 2016 became only the third World Series event to offer equal prize money across both the men’s and women’s events. Last year saw Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad and France’s Camille Serme claim the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, and the two players will be looking to defend their titles when the tournament gets under way later this month. Gawad successfully saw off France’s Gaultier in last year’s final to be crowned champion, whilst Serme defeated England’s Laura Massaro in five games. <iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SszeOM6AV1o" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> <iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nk61i-d3r7Y" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> Glass court matches from the main draw will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown on mainstream broadcasters such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro. Tickets for the tournament start from just $8 and can be purchased via the <a href="http://www.tocsquash.com/">tournament website.</a> *Previous Winners – Men (Tournament of Champions only)* 2017 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2016 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2015 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2014 Amr Shabana (EGY) 2013 Ramy Ashour (EGY) 2012 Nick Matthew (ENG) 2011 Ramy Ashour (EGY) 2010 James Willstrop (ENG) 2009 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2008 Ramy Ashour (EGY) 2007 Amr Shabana (EGY) 2006 Amr Shabana (EGY) 2005 Anthony Ricketts (AUS) 2004 Peter Nicol (ENG) 2003 Peter Nicol (ENG) 2002 Jonathon Power (CAN) 2001 Peter Nicol (ENG) 2000 Jonathon Power (CAN) 1999 Jonathon Power (CAN) 1998 No competition 1997 No competition 1996 Jonathon Power (CAN) 1995 Jansher Khan (PAK) 1994 Rodney Eyles (AUS) 1993 Jansher Khan (PAK) *Previous Winners – Women* 2017 Camille Serme (FRA) 2016 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 2015 Raneem El Welily (EGY) 2014 Nicol David (MAS) 2013 Natalie Grinham (NED) 2012 Natalie Grinham (NED) 2011 No competition 2010 No competition 2009 No competition 2008 Natalie Grainger (USA) 2007 Natalie Grainger (USA) 2006 Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 2005 Vanessa Atkinson (NED) 2004 No competition 2003 Carol Owens (NZL) 2002 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS) 2001 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS) http://psaworldtour.com/news/view/5274/tournament-of-champions-a-history 5274 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:57:50 +0000