Victory for Laura Massaro and Gregory Gaultier at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals in May brought an end to what has been one of the most remarkable and memorable seasons ever in the history of professional squash – a nine-month spell that saw records broken, rivalries ignited, careers forged and history made.
Over the next few weeks we're looking back at the major moments that lit up the PSA World Tour during 2015/16, starting with the breakthrough performances, to the most outstanding performers and performances, shock moments, and rising stars that ensured the 2015/16 season – the first full season of combined governance since the PSA and WSA joined forces in a historic merger back on January 1st, 2015 – will go down in the sporting annals as one of the best ever.
In our newest season review, we relive the big moments in February – a month that saw one of the best rallies in the sport’s history play out in front of a stunned crowd in the University Club of Chicago during the Windy City Open.
Mohamed ElShorbagy poses with the Colombia Open title
The second month of 2016 saw the SQUASHTV cameras head to Linköping, Cartagena and Chicago as the Swedish Open, the inaugural Colombia Open and the Windy City Open made their mark on the PSA World Tour, while a series of other top class events took place around the world.
Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad cemented his status inside the world’s top ten by lifting the biggest title of his career to date in Sweden.
After an unpredictable tournament that saw Gawad survive a five-game battle with England’s Chris Simpson in the last eight, the then World No.9 eventually progressed to the final where he would beat close friend and compatriot Tarek Momen in a gripping 3-2 victory.
Two weeks later, the picturesque location of Cartagena played host to a number of the world’s top players as the Colombia Open became the most lucrative 16-man draw in the history of the PSA World Tour, with a $115,000 prize purse up for grabs.
While a vociferous crowd was dismayed to see local favourite Miguel Angel Rodriguez bow out in the last eight, the man that beat him, Marwan ElShorbagy, would go on to face his brother, World No.1 Mohamed, for a place in the final.
In the battle of the brothers, Mohamed came out top in a captivating four-game clash, with the win acting as a springboard for his final victory over Omar Mosaad to yield a second PSA World Tour crown of the year for the powerful Egyptian.
The Windy City Open began towards the end of February and continued into March as the fifth World Series tournament of the season got underway in Chicago.
The earlier rounds saw a number of dramatic moments, with three-time World Champion Nick Matthew overturning a two-game deficit against Spain’s Borja Golan, Rodriguez requiring five games to dispatch England’s Tom Richards and Marwan beating Gawad 3-2. But none caught the attention quite as much as what went on during Mathieu Castagnet and Daryl Selby’s second round encounter.
After coming through a tumultuous five-game epic with the in-form Ali Farag in round one, Castagnet rose to a two-game lead only to see Selby claw a game back to send the match into a fourth.
As the match drew to a close, Selby played a fantastic trickle boast only to see a heroic dive from Castagnet keep the ball alive, before sprinting the full length of the court to hit an outrageous winner – sparking a video that has since been viewed around 700,000 times on social media alone, in addition to being shared by broadcasting giants such as BT Sport and ESPN.
Away from the glare of the SQUASHTV cameras, France’s Camille Serme claimed her first title since her British Open triumph in May 2015, beating then England No.2 Alison Waters in the final of the Cleveland Classic.
Serme’s compatriot Baptiste Masotti also lifted silverware during February with his win at the Kish Persian Gulf tournament, while New Zealand’s Martin Knight and Canada’s Andrew Schnell played to their seedings to prevail at the Guilfoyle Financial Classic and Mount Royal University Open and add to the list of male winners throughout the month.
Elsewhere, Omar Abdel Meguid captured two titles in February after first beating fellow Egyptian Karim Ali Fathi to the Oregon Open crown, before following that win up by taking the plaudits at the Cactus Classic, resulting in the World No.28 being named the Men’s PSA Player of the Month for February, while Fiona Moverley’s victory at the Delaware Open saw her take the Women’s award.
Fiona Moverley in action against Laura Massaro in the 2015 Qatar Classic
Full List of Winners
Cleveland Classic 2016 – Camille Serme (FRA)
Oregon Open 2016 – Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
UCS Swedish Open 2016 – Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Corporation Service Company Delaware Open 2016 – Fiona Moverley (ENG)
Ganem Vein Institute Cactus Classic 2016 – Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Taeq SquashColombia PSA Open 2016 – Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Guilfoyle Financial PSA Classic – Martin Knight (NZL)
3rd Bahria Town International Women’s Squash Championship 2016 – Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)