World No.2 Laura Massaro and Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley have been named as the PSA Players of the Month for May after both players impressed at the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, which brought the 2015/16 campaign to a thrilling climax.
Coming just a month after she suffered a heart-breaking defeat to World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the final of the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship, Massaro made amends with a series of stunning displays in Dubai – culminating with victory over Egypt’s Raneem El Welily in the final to capture the prestigious title.
The 32-year-old Englishwoman was in sublime form throughout the tournament, and topped her group after successive wins against World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar, eight-time World Champion Nicol David and United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy. She was pitted against El Sherbini in the semi-final, but avenged her World Championship defeat with a masterful display that saw her prevail 2-0 in the best-of-three format.
Massaro went 2-1 down to El Welily in the showpiece finale, but called on her renowned fighting spirit and mental strength to mount a comeback, eventually triumphing to become only the second woman ever to win the World Series Finals.
Pilley, meanwhile, produced some of his best ever squash throughout the week to become the first Australian since Anthony Ricketts in 2006 to reach the final hurdle at the World Series Finals.
A group stage defeat to ‘French General’ Gregory Gaultier sandwiched either side of wins over Omar Mosaad and Simon Rösner meant that Pilley qualified second in his group – meaning that he locked horns with World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the last four.
Pilley had only just qualified for the tournament after scraping into the last qualifying spot on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings, but played with an assured and composed manner to defeat the dominant Egyptian and reach the final after one of the biggest upsets in World Series Finals history.
The World No.14 came up against Gaultier once more in the final and, despite succumbing to a 3-1 defeat, ‘Pistol’ Pilley put in a strong performance as he narrowly missed out on the crown.