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Gregory Gaultier

Throwback Thursday: Bellevue Becomes First US City to Host Men’s World Champs

The city of Bellevue will once again make history next week as it hosts the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic – with a record $150,000 prize fund on offer to a world-class 16-man draw.

World No.2 Gregory Gaultier will look to capture a sixth title in a row, while three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour, former World No.1 James Willstrop and World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy will look to end the Frenchman’s 23-match unbeaten run.

Bellevue initially entered the squash annals in November 2015 when it became the first city in the United States to host the PSA Men’s World Championship – and we’re looking back at a thrilling tournament which featured a number of twists and turns throughout.

First Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Alfredo Avila (MEX) 3-0:11-4, 11-9, 11-7 (31m)
Tom Richards (ENG) bt [Q] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) 3-1: 12-10, 3-11, 11-8, 12-10 (62m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [Q] Ben Coleman (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-3, 11-6 (38m)
[16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (62m)
[9] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Peter Creed (WAL) 3-0: 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 (32m)
[Q] Todd Harrity (USA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-2:11-8, 2-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3 (63m)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) bt [Q] Carlos Cornes Ribadas (ESP) 3-0: 11-3, 11-6, 11-8 (39m)
[5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [WC] Julian Illingworth (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (25m)
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Yip Tsz Fung (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (35m)
Nicolas Müller (SUI) bt [Q] Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND) 3-1: 11-5, 2-11, 11-4, 11-9 (55m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Kristian Frost (DEN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 (34m)
[13] Max Lee (HKG) bt Greg Lobban (SCO) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-5 (50m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt [11] Peter Barker (ENG) 3-1: 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 12-10 (53m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt Nasir Iqbal (PAK) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (27m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-0: 11-3, 13-11, 11-8 (29m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (41m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (26m)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN) 3-1: 11-6, 5-11, 11-3, 11-7 (36m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-2: 13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 4-11, 11-8 (72m)
[12] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Andrew Shoukry (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-4, 16-14 (35m)
[14] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Alister Walker (BOT) 3-1: 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (61m)
Paul Coll (NZL) bt Shaun le Roux (RSA) 3-1: 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-1 (59m)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) bt [Q] Charles Sharpes (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (48m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [Q] Farhan Zaman (PAK) 3-1: 11-8, 7-11, 11-1, 11-2 (42m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Joe Lee (ENG) 3-2: 8-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 (87m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt Adrian Grant (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (33m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 11-5 (37m)
[15] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 (54m)
[10] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-9, 13-11 (69m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt Zahed Mohamed (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8 (65m)
[Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) bt Declan James (ENG) 3-2: 12-10, 15-13, 3-11, 5-11, 11-4 (108m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 (67m)

Top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy began his tournament with a win after the Egyptian powerhouse defeated Mexico’s Alfredo Avila in straight games.

ElShorbagy was looking to make amends for a final defeat in the 2014 instalment of the iconic tournament and eased into the second round after claiming the victory in just over half an hour.

Meanwhile, then World No.2 Nick Matthew also earned his place in round two, with ‘The Wolf’ getting the better of Australia’s Cameron Pilley by a 3-1 margin.





Second Round Results
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-2 (31m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-0: 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (41m)
[9] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [Q] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-5, 11-4, 11-7 (38m)
[5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 16-18, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6 (75m)
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt Nicolas Müller (SUI) 3-1: 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 (53m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt [13] Max Lee (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (41m)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) bt Fares Dessouky (EGY) 3-2: 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 11-4 (83m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0: 11-3, 11-4, 11-4 (35m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 (37m)
[12] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 14-12 (37m)
[14] Borja Golan (ESP) bt Paul Coll (NZL) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-5 (55m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-2: 11-7, 10-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-1 (75m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-6, 11-1, 17-15 (43m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt [15] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) 3-2: 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7 (88m)
[10] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 13-11 (61m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) 3-0: 11-2, 11-8, 11-4 (38m)

The top eight seeds continued their winning starts to the tournament, with the likes of Gregory Gaultier and Ramy Ashour emerging unscathed from their respective second round encounters.

Gaultier, the Frenchman who had suffered heartbreaking final defeats on four previous occasions, saw off the threat of Egypt’s Omar Abdel Meguid, while Ashour eased past fellow Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar by a 3-0 scoreline.

‘Colombian Cannonball’ Miguel Angel Rodriguez also moved into the third round after he prevailed in a four-game fixture with New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson – despite losing a mammoth opening game by an 18-16 margin.





Third Round Results
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 11-4, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7 (64m)
[5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [9] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 3-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-2 (74m)
Ali Farag (EGY) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 3-1: 7-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9 (78m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-3, 11-3 (28m)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [12] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7 (54m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [14] Borja Golan (ESP) 3-1: 6-11, 11-4, 11-3, 13-11 (65m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-1: 7-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7 (55m)
[2] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [10] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 13-11, 12-10, 11-5 (54m)

England’s James Willstrop rolled back the years as he came up with a scintillating performance to halt pre-tournament title favourite Mohamed ElShorbagy in one of the biggest ever World Championship shocks.

Willstrop topped the World Rankings for 11 months in 2012, but had dropped out of the world’s top 20 after suffering a series of injuries in the intervening period.

However, ‘The Marksman’ looked back to his best as his trademark accuracy saw him nullify the threat of then World No.1 ElShorbagy and the Yorkshireman claimed a landmark 3-1 triumph to set up a quarter-final clash with Rodriguez, who saw off Castagnet.

Elsewhere, Egyptian up-and-comer Ali Farag – then ranked outside of the world’s top 30 – laid down a marker after he bridged a 26-place World Rankings gap to upset German No.1 Simon Rösner, reaching the last eight of a World Championship at the first attempt.





Quarter-Final Results
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0:11-5, 11-7, 11-4 (42m)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-1, 11-3 (72m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-2: 11-8, 11-7, 1-11, 1-11, 11-5 (61m)
[8] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [2] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (84m)

The quarter-final stage saw three of the four matches go all the way to five games, with Tarek Momen claiming a shock win over Matthew to set up a last four meeting with Omar Mosaad, who came through to beat an injury-stricken Ashour.

Gaultier, meanwhile, came through a five-game thriller with Farag, which ended with the Frenchman helping an exhausted Farag off the court after the Egyptian finally succumbed to defeat.

Willstrop was the only player to move through without dropping a game after a dominant display saw him ease past Rodriguez.





Semi-Final Results
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-1, 11-8, 11-8 (50m)
[7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt [8] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (50m)

Willstrop’s superb run eventually came to an end at the hands of Gaultier, with the Frenchman building on a strong start which saw him drop a solitary point in the opener to close out the win in straight games.

Mosaad was also a victor in his semi-final clash with Momen to reach the World Championship final for the first time in his career.





Final Result
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [7] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-7, 12-10 (58m)

Gaultier ended years of World Championship heartbreak after the ‘French General’ claimed an emotional win over Mosaad to finally lift the iconic trophy.

The 34-year-old was magnificent throughout the 58-minute final and showed no signs of nervousness as his stunning movement and punishing drives enabled him to open up a two-game lead.

Mosaad stormed into action at the beginning of the third, going 4-0 up and then 7-3 up to evoke memories of the 2006 final where the Frenchman threw away a two-game advantage and five match balls to succumb to defeat against Australia’s David Palmer in his first World Championship final appearance.
However, there was to be no repeat performance and the Frenchman battled back with renewed vigour to complete the win and earn his place in squash folklore.



“It’s unbelievable, there’s no words that can describe this feeling,” said a tearful Gaultier after his victory.

“It’s better late than never. Since I was a kid it was always my dream to win this tournament. Maybe in the past I put too much pressure on myself.

“I lost four times and I kept wondering if it was ever going to happen. I just kept on believing in myself, kept on working hard.”

There was also double delight for Gaultier as he overtook Mohamed ElShorbagy at the summit of the World Rankings the following month, although the Egyptian would earn that spot back with victory at the Hong Kong Open a fortnight later.

Log in to SQUASHTV to watch more of Gaultier’s greatest moments – including his 2015/16 PSA Dubai World Series Finals triumph over Cameron Pilley.

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