The PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place later this month, with a number of the world’s leading players in both the Men’s and Women’s games vying for a share of the lucrative $160,000 prize money.
The season-ending tournament takes place between Tuesday May 24 – Saturday May 28, and will be held in front of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which will act as a stunning backdrop for players and spectators alike to admire.
To qualify, players had to be ranked inside the top eight on the PSA Road to Dubai standings, which were determined over the course of the season based on their performances at World Series events – so all places were hotly contested throughout a stunning season of action.
Those eight players make up two groups of four in their respective sexes, with a round-robin format determining the semi-finalists. Each player will play three matches, and the two players with the most points in each group will advance to the latter stages.
The scoring system is slightly different to a normal PSA World Tour event. A best-of-three format is adopted up until the final, which will be played in a best-of-five format as used in all other PSA World Tour events.
After both groups are decided, the tournament then becomes a straight knock-out as the battle for the title intensifies.
The event began in 1993 with just the men competing. Pakistani icon Jansher Khan was the inaugural winner, overcoming Australia’s Chris Dittmar 3-1 to win the first of his four titles – which all came in the first five instalments of the prestigious tournament.
After a brief hiatus in 1995, the tournament returned in 1996 as Del Harris became the first and only English winner after an epic five-game thriller with Brett Martin, who was a beaten finalist again twelve months later, this time against Khan.
Other notable winners of the Men’s title are Peter Nicol (3), Amr Shabana (2), Gregory Gaultier (2), and Ramy Ashour (2).
Dubai, which will serve as a spectacular host for the event until 2019, is the latest country to hold the the tournament, which has been held in a number of locations, including the inaugural event in Zurich.
Since then, the tournament has mostly been played in various parts of England, including The Galleria in Hatfield (1996-1999), Broadgate Arena in London (1999-2006), the National Squash Centre in Manchester (2007-2008) and Queen’s Club in London (2009-2013).
Prior to this year, the only PSA World Series Finals event to take place outside of Europe was the 2013 edition, where Richmond, Virginia in the United States hosted the championship.
Taking part in this year’s event in the Men’s category are: Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) Gregory Gaultier (FRA), Nick Matthew (ENG), Omar Mosaad (EGY), Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL), Mathieu Castagnet (FRA), Simon Rösner (GER), Cameron Pilley (AUS).
As for the Women’s event, the competitors are: Laura Massaro (ENG), Nour El Sherbini (EGY), Nicol David (MAS), Raneem El Welily (EGY), Nouran Gohar (EGY), Camille Serme (FRA), Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) and Amanda Sobhy (USA).
The defending champions are Egypt’s Ramy Ashour – who failed to qualify this time around due to a number of injuries – and Malaysian superstar David, who won the 2012 instalment.
Coincidentally, David is the only female to ever win the tournament and is bidding to win her third title, having also triumphed in the 2011 edition.
Previous Winners – Men
2013 – Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2012 – Amr Shabana (EGY)
2011 – Amr Shabana (EGY)
2010 – Nick Matthew (ENG) / Amr Shabana (EGY) – Final not played
2009 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2008 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2007 – Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2006 – Anthony Ricketts (AUS)
2005 – Jonathon Power (CAN)
2004 – Thierry Lincou (FRA)
2003 – Jonathon Power (CAN)
2002 – David Palmer (AUS)
2001 – Peter Nicol (SCO)
2000 – Peter Nicol (SCO)
1999 – Peter Nicol (SCO)
1998 – Jansher Khan (PAK)
1997 – Jansher Khan (PAK)
1996 – Del Harris (ENG)
1995 – No competition
1994 – Jansher Khan (PAK)
1993 – Jansher Khan (PAK)
Previous Winners – Women
2012 – Nicol David (MAS)
2011 – Nicol David (MAS)
By James Hall