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Mohamed ElShorbagy holds the 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title

Throwback Thursday: Story of 2016 Men’s Tournament of Champions

#ThrowbackThursday

World-class squash action returns to the PSA World Tour on Thursday January 12 as the first broadcast tournament of 2017 – the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – sees the fourth stage on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings get under way.

World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad currently sits atop the Men’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings thanks to his triumph in November’s Qatar Classic, while Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and Frenchwoman Camille Serme lead the way on the Women’s Standings.

With only the top eight players on both the Men’s and Women’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings qualifying for a coveted berth at the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, the Tournament of Champions will feature some stunning battles in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal – where the prestigious tournament will be held for the 20th time.

Last year’s event served up a tournament to remember, so join us as we look back to an enthralling week of top-class action.

First Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-2 (30m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 (36m)
Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 11-1 (45m)
[5] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (52m)
[7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-1: 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6 (59m)
Max Lee (HKG) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 (43m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-7 (56m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt [4] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (34m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Ramit Tandon (IND) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 (32m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8 (52m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 2-0: 11-7, 3-0 ret. (12m)
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-1 (40m)
[8] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-3 (30m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [Q] Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7 (69m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-2: 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 3-11, 11-8 (75m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Diego Elias (PER) 3-1: 11-5, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 (65m)

A year after he reached his first ever World Series semi-final at the 2015 instalment of the Tournament of Champions – becoming a firm fan favourite in the process – ‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez was the highest-profile player to depart the tournament in round one after a shock defeat to Spain’s Borja Golan.

At World No.19, Golan was ranked 14 places below Rodriguez in the World Rankings and hadn’t progressed beyond the first round of a World Series tournament for seven months. But a clinical display from former World No.5 Golan saw him dismantle his opponent to take a 3-0 win in just 35 minutes.

Elsewhere, defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy got his tournament off to a winning start as he powered past English qualifier Adrian Waller, while the man he beat in the previous year’s final – three-time World Champion Nick Matthew – overcame Peruvian Diego Elias.

Second Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 (47m)
[5] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Nicolas Müller (SUI) 3-1: 11-5, 11-4, 12-14, 11-7 (73m)
[7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-4 (73m)
Borja Golan (ESP) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-2: 11-6, 11-5, 11-13, 4-11, 11-4 (80m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-2 (62m)
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 16-14 (80m)
[8] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 12-10, 12-14, 11-9, 12-10 (78m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-3 (48m)

Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet came out on top during an exciting second round five-game battle with Hong Kong’s Max Lee to book his quarter-final berth.

Then World No.14 Lee had advanced past the opening round of the tournament for the first time in five attempts, but ultimately went down to Castagnet in a high-quality affair that had the crowd on their feet multiple times throughout the 73-minute encounter.

Elsewhere, reigning World Champion Gregory Gaultier negotiated a tricky encounter with talented Egyptian Fares Dessouky, with Golan also winning to continue his impressive tournament as he defeated Lee’s compatriot, Leo Au.

Quarter-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [5] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10 (76m)
[7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-4 (72m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 14-12, 12-10 (78m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [8] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 10-12, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (81m)

World No.1 ElShorbagy came through a blockbuster meeting with 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad to move to within one win of a second successive Tournament of Champions final.

ElShorbagy, playing the day before his 25th birthday, went a game behind after a fast start from ‘The Hammer of Thor’, but the hard-hitting man from Alexandria fought back and wore his compatriot down to earn the win and set up a semi-final fixture with Castagnet, who had halted Golan’s run to seal a maiden World Series semi-final spot.

Meanwhile, Matthew produced a magnificent comeback to overturn a two-game deficit against ElShorbagy’s younger brother, Marwan, ensuring that he would lock horns with Gaultier after the ‘French General’ saw off the threat of German No.1 Simon Rösner.

Semi-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-9, 11-6, 3-11, 11-7 (49m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-0: 3-3 ret. (14m)

Matthew and ElShorbagy set up a repeat of the 2015 final after they both progressed past their respective semi-final fixtures, with Matthew’s clash with Gaultier lasting just 14 minutes after the latter rolled his ankle painfully, forcing him to withdraw from the match.

ElShorbagy’s match with Castagnet saw the Egyptian powerhouse take a 2-0 lead, and he resisted Castagnet’s attempts to draw level as he closed out the win in four to ensure that he would face Matthew in a mouthwatering final meeting.

Final Result
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [2] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 (93m)

It was to be a second successive Tournament of Champions title for ElShorbagy after he prevailed in a gargantuan 93-minute battle with his old foe Matthew under the chandeliers in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.

ElShorbagy’s Tournament of Champions triumph acted as a springboard for a record-breaking year which saw him win the next three World Series titles in a row, in addition to smashing the record for the highest ever points average on the World Rankings on three occasions.

Log in to SQUASHTV to watch more action from the Tournament of Champions – including the 2015 final between ElShorbagy and Matthew.

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