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Year in Review: Star Performers - Gregory Gaultier & Laura Massaro

2016 in Numbers – Gregory Gaultier
Matches Played: 42
Matches Won: 34
Matches Lost: 8
Win percentage: 81%
Titles Won: 2
World Series Titles Won: 0
Runner-Up Finishes: 3
Highlight: Won the 2015/16 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
January World Ranking: 2
December World Ranking: 3

May 2016 saw the PSA World Series Finals return to the calendar for the first time in over two years, with the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa – providing a stunning backdrop for an exciting five days of world-class action in Dubai.

Frenchman Gregory Gaultier battled to victory in the Men’s tournament, which was his first tournament win since he triumphed in the 2015 PSA Men’s World Championship six months earlier.

The then World No.2 began the tournament in Group B alongside Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley, Germany’s Simon Rösner and the man he beat in that World Championship final, Omar Mosaad.

Gaultier got off to a fine start in the group stage – which used a best-of-three scoring format – as he powered past Rösner by a 2-0 margin, before dropping just four points in a one-sided meeting with Pilley.

The 34-year-old continued his assault on the title into the next round as he swept aside Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez – setting up a final rematch with Pilley after he dispatched World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in a huge semi-final upset.

The final saw the scoring system revert to the more traditional best-of-five format and Pilley pushed hard to take a game off Gaultier, but the charismatic Frenchman went through the gears to earn a 3-1 victory – lifting his third World Series Finals crown.

Gaultier’s World Series Finals triumph was a high point in a year bookended by two injuries, with an ankle injury sustained during January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions seeing him sidelined for two months.

He did manage to reach a World Series final at the El Gouna International in April shortly after his comeback, but his World Championship title defence was ended at the semi-final stage after another ankle problem – the same ankle he injured in January – ruled him out of his last four clash with Egypt’s Ramy Ashour.

2016 in Numbers – Laura Massaro
Matches Played: 34
Matches Won: 28
Matches Lost: 6
Win percentage: 82.4%
Titles Won: 3
World Series Titles Won: 0
Runner-Up Finishes: 1
Highlight: Won the 2015/16 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
January World Ranking: 1
December World Ranking: 4

The Women’s tournament saw England’s Laura Massaro take the honours as she became only the second woman ever to win the showpiece tournament – after Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David – courtesy of a fine win over Egyptian shot-making sensation Raneem El Welily in the final.

Massaro had lost out in the last Women’s final in 2013, but was in fine form to beat David, United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy and British Open runner-up Nouran Gohar to top her group and seal her semi-final berth.

El Welily, meanwhile, was competing in a group that featured World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, 2015 British Open winner Camille Serme and compatriot Omneya Abdel Kawy, but she came through with a 100 per cent win streak to emerge unscathed.

El Sherbini also progressed from the group to face Massaro in the semi-finals, but a blistering performance from the Lancastrian was enough to dispatch her Egyptian opponent, while El Welily beat David to set up a mouthwatering final meeting.

A back and forth encounter saw the scores delicately poised at 2-2, before Massaro pulled away in the decider to claim the title and a lucrative $40,000 share of the prize fund – the single largest prize ever awarded to a female squash player.

Massaro also competed in the final of April’s Women’s World Championship in 2016, but surrendered a two-game lead to El Sherbini, losing her place atop the World Rankings to the 21-year-old in the process.

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