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Mohamed ElShorbagy (left) takes on Ramy Ashour (right) in the 2016 Allam British Open final

Throwback Thursday: Story of 2016 Men’s British Open


The 2017 Allam British Open – the most distinguished and oldest tournament on the PSA World Tour calendar – will once again see the world’s top players go head-to-head for the iconic crown at Hull’s Airco Arena between March 21-26.

Beginning in 1929, the British Open has established itself amongst the sport’s most prestigious events and is one of the most eagerly-anticipated tournaments of the season.

The British Open also acts as the penultimate stage on the Men’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings and, with only the top eight players qualifying for a place at the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, the battle for crucial points is set to light up Hull.

Join us as we look back to last year’s Men’s tournament.

First Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Nicolas Müller (SUI) 3-0: 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (42m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7 (46m)
[Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 (25m)
[6] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 3-0: 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (39m)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt [8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6 (67m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-2: 11-3, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-4 (64m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-2, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9 (46m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [4] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 11-13, 11-7, 14-12, 11-4 (65m)
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 (43m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt [WC] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-5 (40m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 12-10, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10 (88m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-2: 1-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3 (51m)
[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-1: 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 (67m)
Chris Simpson (ENG) bt [Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 12-14, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (84m)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-1: 11-3, 11-13, 11-3, 11-5 (54m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-2: 8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-2, 11-7 (76m)

Then World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad slumped to a first round defeat against current World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad, with Gawad – then ranked five places below Mosaad at World No.9 – claiming his first win over ‘The Hammer of Thor’.

Elsewhere, 2013 winner Ramy Ashour’s return from injury was nearly halted at the first hurdle after he fell to a shock two-game deficit against Mexican qualifier Cesar Salazar.

But ‘The Artist’ fought back, with his incredible skills in full flow as he took the next three games without reply to seal his second round berth.

Second Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5 (63m)
[6] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-1: 11-3, 11-8, 11-8 (43m)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6 ret. (24m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-1: 12-14, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9 (91m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt [3] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 4-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4 (68m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-2: 11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11 (106m)
[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-2: 11-8, 10-12, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4 (95m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-9 (44m)

Home hopes Nick Matthew and James Willstrop exited the tournament at the second round stage after they fell to Ali Farag and defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, respectively.

Matthew was 2-1 up despite a strong showing from World No.8 Farag, but his ankle went in the fourth game and he was unable to move at 100 per cent, leaving Farag to close out a big win for the 24-year-old.

Matthew and Willstrop’s defeats, coupled with Laura Massaro’s quarter-final loss in the Women’s event, marked Britain’s worst performance in the competition for 24 years.

Ashour, meanwhile, was pushed to five games yet again – this time by Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly – after he let a two-game lead slip. But the enigmatic Egyptian steadied the ship to battle back from 9-3 down in the decider, moving through to the last eight by the skin of his teeth.

Quarter-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [6] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (47m)
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 12-10 (88m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (56m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [7] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 (47m)

Gawad was the only unseeded player to make it into the semi-finals after he defeated fellow Egyptian Marwan ElShorbagy in four games in their last eight meeting.

His reward was a last four matchup with Marwan’s older brother, World No.1 Mohamed, after the 26-year-old powered past Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Elsewhere, Ashour and 2014 winner Gaultier set up a mouthwatering semi-final meeting after respective wins over Farag and Germany’s Simon Rösner.

Semi-Final Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (44m)
[5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-2: 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7 (74m)

Ashour and ElShorbagy ensured that the latest chapter of their incredible rivalry would take place at the Airco Arena after they both moved into the final courtesy of wins over Gawad and Gaultier, respectively.

Ashour and Gaultier played out one of the best matches of the 2015/16 season in a spellbinding match which brought a packed house to its feet time and time again, with Ashour recovering from 5-0 down in the fifth to progress.

ElShorbagy, meanwhile, claimed a comfortable win in straight games over Gawad to secure a place in the final for the second year in succession.

With fellow Egyptians Nour El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar also reaching the final of the Women’s event, Ashour and ElShorbagy’s triumphs marked the first time a single nation has provided all four finalists since Australia in 1977.

Final Result
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt [5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-9 (28m)

ElShorbagy retained his British Open crown, ending a four-match winless run against Ashour after the latter’s brutal path to the final looked to have taken toll on his body.

Ashour – who has been out for four months prior to the tournament due to injury – had spent almost 100 mins on court more than ElShorbagy and it showed as he was unable to move fully throughout the clash.

Ashour's improved in the third, but it was to no avail as ElShorbagy closed out the win to take one of most coveted titles in the sport – lifting his fifth consecutive World Series crown in the process.

“I’m really happy to be able to defend my title and win my second British Open,” said Elshorbagy after the match.

“It’s been a crazy season for me. Last season, when I won four World Series titles, I was telling my mother and my brother that I didn’t know how I was going to keep up with that next season but I’ve won five already so this is a dream for me. I’m just really proud of what I have been achieving this season.

“I have to be thankful to my team, they are the ones that are keeping my body healthy because our matches are just something different. We give something different to our sport and I really hope we keep playing for the future and we have such a great rivalry. It’s great to have him [Ashour] back here again.”

Log in to SQUASHTV to watch more British Open battles – including the 2015 final between ElShorbagy and Gaultier.

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