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Mohamed ElShorbagy v Cameron Pilley in the 2015 Hong Kong Open final

Throwback Thursday: Story of 2015 Men’s Hong Kong Open


Qualification for the 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals begins on Tuesday August 23 as the world’s leading players battle for supremacy at the first World Series tournament of the season – the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open – where vital points for the PSA Road to Dubai Standings will be up for grabs.

Last year’s Hong Kong Open was one of the most unpredictable tournaments in the PSA World Tour calendar with a number of upsets and stunning spectacles captivating viewers around the world.

We’re taking you back to the Men’s event last December, where a thrilling week of top-class action brought the curtain down on 2015.

First Round Results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Peter Barker (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8 (33m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 9-11, 11-3, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9 (76m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-1: 11-13, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 (69m)
[8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (39m)
[6] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5 (55m)
[Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 14-12 (74m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 (54m)
[4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 8-3 ret. (46m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Leo Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7 (53m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 13-15, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (60m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (34m)
[5] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 (52m)
[Q] Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-2: 11-9, 9-11, 11-1, 10-12, 11-9 (63m)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-3, 10-12, 11-8 (49m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (38m)

The opening round saw England’s Peter Barker bring an end to his 13-year career with a narrow defeat to current World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy.

Barker, a former World No.5, had announced his intention to retire from the sport a week previously and his 3-1 loss brought a close to an illustrious career that saw the 32-year-old lift 16 PSA World Tour titles in addition to winning one silver and two bronze Commonwealth Games medals.

All eight seeded players emerged unscathed from their first round fixtures including Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, who followed up his World Championship victory two weeks earlier with a 3-1 win against tournament wildcard Leo Au at the Hong Kong Squash Centre.

Second Round Results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) w/o
[8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5 (66m)
[6] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-2: 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 (81m)
[4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 5-11, 11-8, 11-5 (64m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 3-11, 11-6 (62m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [5] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-2: 9-11, 11-5, 13-15, 11-2, 11-6 (87m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) 3-1: 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 (46m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 15-13, 11-4, 11-5 (46m)

Australia’s Cameron Pilley had suffered some mixed form in the build-up to the tournament which saw him drop out of the world’s top 20 in the December World Rankings.

But the hard-hitting Aussie, known on Tour as ‘Pistol Pilley’, tinkered with his game in the intervening weeks and a change to his grip saw his performances improve in Hong Kong as he stunned fifth seed Simon Rösner in round two to reach the last eight.

Gaultier, meanwhile, went up against 2011 winner James Willstrop in a repeat of the pair’s World Championship semi-final fixture and it was the ‘French General’ who emerged victorious, claiming the win in four to set up a quarter-final clash with Pilley.

Quarter-Final Results
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-4 (34m)
[6] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 3-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 13-11 (101m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 12-10, 12-10 (43m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 15-13, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9 (62m)

Pilley followed up his superb win over Rösner with a win of even greater magnitude, taking out Gaultier in a swashbuckling three-game salvo to reach the semi-final stage of a World Series for the first time in his career.

The 33-year-old produced an accomplished display to go ahead against the then World No.1 before taking the second and third games on the tie-break to close out a famous win.

World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad prevailed in arguably the match of the day, with the ‘Hammer of Thor’ recovering from a two-game deficit to defeat ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Mosaad’s win ensured that he would take on ElShorbagy in the last four after the latter’s win over Mathieu Castagnet, while 2013 victor Nick Matthew exacted revenge for his World Championship defeat to Tarek Momen by taking out the number seven seed 3-1.

Semi-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-9 (39m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [2] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 12-10 (59m)

The semi-finals saw the action move to the showpiece glass court where, with the odds stacked against him, Pilley went on to shock a third seed in a row – with three-time World Champion Matthew the next player to be put to the sword by the affable Aussie.

Pilley picked up where he left off against Rösner and Gaultier by claiming a superb victory over ‘The Wolf’, with two of three games going to tie-breaks, enabling him to advance to his maiden World Series final.

ElShorbagy lay in waiting after capitalising on a tired Mosaad, who had played two five-game matches in as many days, to win in straight games.

Final Result
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 (41m)

An exciting week of world-class squash was brought to an end with a flourish from ElShorbagy as he bounced back from a disappointing third round exit at the World Championship to capture a second successive World Series crown – a win that sent him back to World No.1 the following month in addition to strengthening his position at the summit of the Road to Dubai Standings.

Pilley also saw an increase in his World Ranking, moving up to No.13, while his runner-up finish proved to be crucial in the long run as he narrowly scraped into the top eight of the Road to Dubai Standings to qualify for the World Series Finals in May.

Watch the highlights of Elshorbagy and Pilley’s final clash below!

Log in to SQUASHTV to catch more action from the Hong Kong Open – including the 2013 final between Matthew and Borja Golan.

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