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Cameron Pilley (left) and Gregory Gaultier (right) in action at last year's final

Throwback Thursday: Story of 2016 Men’s Dubai World Series Finals

The season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals gets under way in just under one week’s time when the world’s greatest players battle it out for the prestigious title and a share of the record $160,000 prize fund at Dubai Opera June 6 – 10.

Featuring only the top eight players who qualified on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings from both the Men’s and Women’s Tour, the World Series Finals look set to showcase the best of what the PSA World Tour has to offer.

To get you in the mood for a scintillating week of action, join us as we look back to last year’s Men’s Dubai World Series Finals.

Day One Results

Group A
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 2-0: 11-4, 11-6 (21m)
[5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [3] Nick Matthew (ENG) 2-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 (54m)

Group B
[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [4] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-1: 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 (52m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 2-0: 11-2, 11-9 (39m)

Columbia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez got his World Series Finals campaign off to a strong start with victory over England’s Nick Matthew, coming back from one game down to seal the valuable points with his first ever win over the Englishman in an entertaining opening round.

Australian Cameron Pilley also upset the top seeds on the opening day of the World Series Finals with victory over Egypt’s Omar Mosaad who was then ranked at World No.3.

Pilley ensured his debut appearance in the World Series Finals was a memorable one as he managed to survive an onslaught from Mosaad in game two to see out the victory in the third.

Day Two Results

Group A
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (29m)
[7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt [3] Nick Matthew (ENG) 2-0: 12-10, 11-6 (29m)

Group B
[6] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [4] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-0: 11-3, 11-7 (29m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 2-0: 11-3, 11-1 (24m)

On the second day, Simon Rösner kept his hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the World Series Finals for the first time in his career alive when he downed Egypt’s Mosaad.

The opening game was comfortable for the German as Mosaad struggled to get going and sported heavy strapping on an injured knee which saw Rösner go into the final round-robin game with it all to play for.

Mohamed ElShorbagy also kept up the pressure for a place in the semi-finals with his second win of the tournament coming against Colombia’s Rodriguez.

Rodriguez attempted to make life difficult for the Egyptian on court but the World No.1 showed his dominance to come through over two games.

Day Three Results

Group A
[3] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0: 12-10, 12-10 (28m)
[5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [7] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) 2-0: 11-9, 6-4 retired (37m)

Group B
[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [6] Simon Rösner (GER) 2-0: 11-2, 11-7 (38m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [4] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 2-1: 7-11, 11-8, 11-1 (38m)

Gregory Gaultier continued to dominate his opponents at the World Series Finals as he dispatched Egyptian Omar Mosaad over three games.

Mosaad took the first game, however the ‘French General’ soon came back to dominate the court and take the next game 11-8.
Gaultier then continued to impress and blew Mosaad out of the water in the third with an 11-1 victory to move into the semi-finals.

Elsewhere, Pilley also booked his place in the semi-finals with victory over Germany’s Rösner. The Australian claimed the first game comfortably 11-2 before putting the game to bed in the second and securing a semi-final berth.

Despite falling to Matthew, ElShorbagy qualified top of Group A, along with then World No.5 Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Semi Finals
[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0: 11-9, 11-5 (41m)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [5] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-0: 11-7, 11-7 (30m)

Australia’s Pilley overcame number one seed and then-World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy to reach the final of his first World Series Finals tournament.

Pilley pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Series Finals history as he downed odds-on title favourite ElShorbagy 2-0 to claim his place in the final – becoming the first Australian in a decade to achieve the feat.

Meanwhile, in the other semi-final, Gaultier eased past Rodriguez to book his spot in the title-decider as he aimed for a third World Series Finals crown to add to wins in 2008 and 2009.

[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-1: 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-6 (67m)

Just four months after suffering a horrific ankle injury that threatened to keep him away from the game for an extended period of time, Gaultier ensured his season finished on a high as he downed Australia’s Pilley 3-1 to clinch the title.

Pilley had played some fantastic squash in the lead-up to the final, including his shock semi-final victory over ElShorbagy but Gaultier’s strength proved too much for him and it was the Frenchman who claimed another World Series Finals crown.

“I started the season in a great dynamic, winning events such as the U.S. Open and World Championship and was maybe the best player on Tour before the nightmare hit with injury in January [at the Tournament of Champions],” said Gaultier after the match.

“I had a few months where I didn’t even hit a squash ball until the British Open, when I didn’t even expect I would be back, but my team did a great job. It was only in El Gouna that I felt I was getting back into it and this week I was able to play without tape and move fluently and to end this half of the year with this title is a really positive note and something I’m really pleased with.”

The PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place from June 6-10, 2017 with the tournament match schedule to be announced on Monday June 5. All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).

Log in to SQUASHTV to watch more exciting encounters from the World Series Finals from down the years – including the 2013 final between Ramy Ashour and Mohamed ElShorbagy.

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