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Mohamed ElShorbagy lifts the 2015 Qatar Classic title

Throwback Thursday: Story of 2015 Men’s Qatar Classic

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The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha will host the third stage on the PSA Road to Dubai when the Qatar Classic, World Series tournament takes place between Sunday November 13 – Friday November 18.

World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy currently holds onto first place on the 2016/17 PSA Road to Dubai Standings, where only the top eight players will earn their spots at the season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals.

But the 25-year-old from Alexandria faces stiff competition from the likes of World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad, former World No.1 James Willstrop and three-time World Champion Nick Matthew who are all in contention.

Last year’s Qatar Classic threw up a series of shocks and surprise results, and we’re taking a look back at an enthralling week of action which sent shockwaves across the 2015/16 edition of the PSA Road to Dubai Standings.

First Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 11-9, 11-4, 11-9 (35m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (73m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-1: 4-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 (50m)
[5] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 11-7, 12-14, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9 (86m)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 3-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 (49m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 13-11, 6-11, 11-3, 14-12 (65m)
Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nicolas Müller (SUI) 3-1: 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-7 (46m)
[3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-7, 11-8, 12-14, 11-5 (63m)
[4] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (46m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-9 (50m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (60m)
[Q] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [6] Peter Barker (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 7-11, 11-3, 11-3 (33m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7 (75m)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-6 (40m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-3 (40m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 (42m)

Current World No.6 Ali Farag – then ranked at 33 in the world – claimed his first big scalp of a breakout season after he downed England’s former World No.5 Peter Barker in round one.

The Egyptian had fought through qualification to reach the main draw and he put in a fine performance to defeat Barker, who had been struggling with a knee injury prior to the tournament.

Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet was the other big name to lose out in the opening round after he went down to Australian qualifier Ryan Cuskelly, while Tarek Momen fell to fellow Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad – the current World Champion.

Second Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-3 (39m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [5] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (37m)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (47m)
[3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Adrian Waller (ENG) w/o
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [4] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 13-11, 11-7 (41m)
[Q] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-2 (36m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 11-8, 4-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-8 (81m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 12-10, 11-9 (48m)

Maverick Egyptian Mazen Hesham claimed arguably the biggest win of his burgeoning career in the second round after he put in a devastating display to see off the intentions of ‘The Hammer of Thor’ Omar Mosaad just two weeks after Mosaad had reached a maiden World Series final at the U.S. Open.

Hesham’s impressive shot-making talents were at the fore as he came out on top in a highly-entertaining 41-minute battle with World No.6 Mosaad, marking him out as one to watch in the future.

Elsewhere, German No.1 Simon Rösner also fell at the second hurdle to Hong Kong’s Max Lee to send the then World No.15 through to his first World Series quarter-final.

Quarter-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-7, 11-7 (36m)
[Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2 (88m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [Q] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 (42m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (63m)

Cuskelly wrote his name into the history books by becoming the first male player since 2001 to come through qualification and progress to the semi-finals of a World Series tournament.

The then World No.20 showed his mettle as he fought back from two games down to defeat number three seed Miguel Angel Rodriguez, setting up a semi-final clash with ElShorbagy in the process.

Hesham, meanwhile, joined Cuskelly as a last four debutant after beating Farag to ensure he would line up against Frenchman Gregory Gaultier for a place in the final.

Semi-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-9 (39m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 14-12 (59m)

ElShorbagy moved into a second successive Qatar Classic final after ending Cuskelly’s charge at the semi-final stage, with a clinical display from the hard-hitting Egyptian seeing him ease into the showpiece finale.

Hesham’s attempts to reach a first World Series final were also ended at the last four, with Gaultier the culprit as the ‘French General’ advanced to a second World Series final in a row after winning the U.S. Open a fortnight previously.

Final Result
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-1: 11-5, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10 (59m)

Just a year on from his second World Championship final defeat to Ramy Ashour in Doha, ElShorbagy banished any residual demons as he overcame Gaultier 3-1 to lift his first World Series title of the 2015/16 season.

ElShorbagy would go on to win the next five World Series tournaments in a row, finishing in first place on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings as a result, while Gaultier bounced back to lift the World Championship title later that month in Bellevue, Washington.

Catch the highlights of the 2015 Men’s Qatar Classic below!

Head to SQUASHTV to watch more superb action from the Qatar Classic – including the 2013 final between ElShorbagy and 2009 winner Nick Matthew.

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