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El Sherbini celebrates her 2016 Tournament of Champions victory over Amanda Sobhy

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

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The prestigious J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will celebrate its 20th year of association with New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal when the world’s top stars line up between January 12-19 for the first professional squash tournament of 2017 to be broadcast live.

The Men’s draw, which begins on Thursday January 12, is headed by star names such as World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and 2015 winner Mohamed ElShorbagy, while the Women’s draw starts two days later and sees the likes of home hero Amanda Sobhy and defending champion Nour El Sherbini battle it out for honours.

Points for the PSA Road to Dubai Standings – where only the top eight qualifiers in both the Men’s and Women’s Standings will qualify for a place in June’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals – are also up for grabs in what will be a stunning week of action.

We’re looking back at last year’s Women’s event, which saw the Tournament of Champions become the third World Series tournament to offer equal prize money – a commitment they have also made in 2017.

First Round Results
[1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [Q] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (30m)
[10] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [Q] Deon Saffery (WAL) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (25m)
[14] Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-1: 7-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-6 (37m)
[6] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 (37m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [Q] Yathreb Adel (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-6
Heba El Torky (EGY) bt [12] Joelle King (NZL) 3-1: 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 (42m)
[Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) bt [11] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-9, 11-4 (56m)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 3-1: 11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 11-7 (38m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (31m)
[16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [Q] Misaki Kobayashi (JPN) 3-0: 11-5, 11-6, 11-9 (36m)
[Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt [13] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 (34m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Samantha Teran (MEX) 3-0: 16-14, 11-2, 11-1 (27m)
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt Low Wee Wern (MAS) 3-2: 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7 (50m)
[15] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [WC] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7 (59m)
[9] Annie Au (HKG) bt Joey Chan (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 (35m)
[2] Nicol David (MAS) bt Victoria Lust (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-3, 11-2 (25m)

England’s Laura Massaro was appearing at her first tournament since becoming World No.1 earlier that month and she got her reign as the world’s leading player off to a strong start after overcoming United States No.2 Olivia Blatchford.

Blatchford, who came through qualifying, had the home crowd behind her and took a game against her higher-ranked opponent, but eventually fell in four to send Massaro through to the second round.

Egypt’s Raneem El Welily was another big name in action on day one of the Women’s tournament, and she dispatched Welsh qualifier Tesni Evans to set up an exciting second round encounter with United States No.1 Sobhy.

Second Round Results
[10] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [1] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 (41m)
[6] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [14] Delia Arnold (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 (29m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt Heba El Torky (EGY) 3-1: 7-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (41m)
[3] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) 3-1: 11-3, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10 (51m)
[4] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 13-11 (52m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 (27m)
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [15] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-9 (25m)
[2] Nicol David (MAS) bt [9] Annie Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 (27m)

Round two saw Sobhy claim the biggest win at that stage of her career as she drew on the strength of a partizan home crowd to defeat top seed Raneem El Welily in a magnificent four-game salvo.

The Harvard graduate, who only transitioned to life as a full-time professional the previous summer, reeled off a series of spectacular winners to limit El Welily’s shot-making prowess and wrap up a sublime victory for the New York native.

She would go up against England’s Alison Waters in a stern quarter-final test after the former World No.3 dispatched Malaysia’s Delia Arnold.

Quarter-Final Results
[10] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [6] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-3, 11-9 (38m)
[8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [3] Laura Massaro (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9 (77m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [4] Camille Serme (FRA) 3-2: 11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8 (74m)
[2] Nicol David (MAS) bt [5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-3, 11-5 (56m)

The quarter-final fixtures saw three of the four matches go all the way to five games, with Massaro’s tournament coming to an end at the hands of World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar.

Gohar, then aged 18, had lost out to Massaro in all six of their previous Tour meetings, but a virtuoso display from the teenager saw her take it 3-2 to reach a first World Series semi-final.

Frenchwoman Camille Serme also fell against number seven seed Nour El Sherbini, who was set to face Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David in a mouthwatering semi-final fixture.

Semi-Final Results
[10] Amanda Sobhy (USA) bt [8] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 12-10 (38m)
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [2] Nicol David (MAS) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 (26m)

El Sherbini’s brutal semi-final encounter with Serme appeared to have no effect on the talented 21-year-old as she followed up her Qatar Classic win over David two months previously with a second successive win over the legendary 33-year-old.

David, who spent an unprecedented nine years atop the World Rankings between 2006-2015, would have reclaimed the World No.1 spot had she won the tournament, but she was blown away by a superb performance from El Sherbini, who took the win in just 26 minutes.

Just one day after becoming the first American-born woman to reach the last four of the prestigious tournament, Sobhy achieved a fine win over Gohar to advance to her maiden World Series final, where El Sherbini awaited in a thrilling matchup.

Final Result
[7] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [10] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8 (46m)

El Sherbini scooped the most lucrative title of her career after defeating Sobhy in the final to lift her first ever World Series title and part of the biggest prize fund in the tournament’s history.

It was the perfect start to a year that would see El Sherbini establish herself as the world’s leading female player, with the British Open and World Championship titles following her Tournament of Champions win over the next three months as she leapfrogged Massaro to take the World No.1 spot.

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