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James Willstrop triumphed over fellow Englishman Nick Matthew

2016/17 Season Review: Shocks of the Season: Part One

Victory for Mohamed ElShorbagy and Laura Massaro at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals earlier this month brought an end to what has been a remarkable and memorable season on the PSA World Tour.

Over the past few weeks we have been looking back at the major moments that lit up the PSA World Tour during 2016/17, starting with the outstanding performers to the breakthrough stars of the season.

In this part of our season review, we look at some of the biggest upsets that shocked the squash world over the past 10 months.

James Willstrop ended a 19-match losing streak against Nick Matthew

James Willstrop v Nick Matthew: 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions 2017

England’s James Willstrop ended a 10-year, 19-match losing streak against compatriot Nick Matthew to knock the 36-year-old from Sheffield out of the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York back in January.

The two Yorkshireman have maintained an acrimonious relationship since Matthew prevailed in a hot-tempered British Open final clash back in 2009.

Since that win, Matthew had dominated the pair’s bitter rivaly and scored an impressive straight-games win in the final of the British Grand Prix just one month previously.

However, under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanebilt Hall, it was Willstrop who turned recent history on its head when he produced a strong showing to knock Matthew out of the tournament on their 35th meeting on the PSA World Tour.

Willstrop took the opener and then managed to recover from going 1-2 down in games to complete a 11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4 victory in 73 minutes and mark his first over Matthew since the 2007 English Open Final – when he downed Matthew in his home city.

Result
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4 (73m)

Sarah-Jane Perry in action against Raneem El Welily

Sarah-Jane Perry v Raneem El Welily: 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions

England’s then-World No.11 Sarah-Jane Perry triumphed in a tight clash at the Tournament of Champions with 2015 tournament winner and former World No.1 Raneem El Welily – a match that was named the PSA Women’s Match of the Season.

The win saw Perry secure her first ever appearance in the last four of a PSA World Series tournament after halting home favourite Amanda Sobhy in the previous round after an epic-five game thriller.

The Englishwoman was forced to show her strength once more as she faced the former World No.1 and she showed no signs of fatigue to race into a 2-0 game lead over El Welily. However, the wheels looked to have come off as the Egyptian levelled things up at 2-2 and took a 4-1 lead in the deciding game.

The momentum of the match swung back into Perry’s favour, however, as a sublime run of nine consecutive points led the Birmingham-based player to complete a 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 5-11, 11-5 win to guarantee her place in the next round.

Result
[11] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 5-11, 11-5 (56m)

Paul Coll in action at the Channel VAS Championship

Paul Coll v Tarek Momen: 2016 Channel VAS Championship

New Zealand’s then-World No.33 Paul Coll lifted the biggest title of his career after a sensational final performance saw him beat Egypt’s Tarek Momen to capture the 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill in Weybridge.

Coll had started the tournament in the qualification stages and caused three huge shocks en route to his first ever PSA M100 final.

The 24-year-old dispatched Hong Kong’s Max Lee in a hard fought 3-2 victory before recovering from 2-1 down to take the win in 102 minutes against former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez. Englishman Daryl Selby was next to fall to Coll as he made his way to the final.

Momen, meanwhile, had only dropped one game on his way to the final – beating former World No.1 James Willstrop in the last four – and had overcame Coll in a 101-minute epic just a few weeks before.

However, Coll, was in supreme form to take the match in straight games, with a steely display enabling him to claim an 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 victory and claim the biggest title of his career.

Result
[Q] Paul Coll (NZL) bt [5] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 (57m)

Nada Abbas shocked the crowd at the Allam British Open

Nada Abbas v Nouran Gohar: British Open

16-year-old Nada Abbas shocked the crowd at the British Open when she beat then-World No.4 Nouran Gohar in the opening round of the 2017 Allam British Open.

Gohar, the reigning British Open Junior champion had reached the final of the prestigious British Open the year before but fell to a shock defeat to the Egyptian qualifier at the World Series tournament.

Abbas got off to a strong start as she went ahead with a 2-0 game lead, however Gohar hit back in the third.

But Abbas was able to counteract Gohar’s trademark hard-hitting style in brilliant fashion with the then-World No.45 slowing the pace right down and controlling the ball well at the front of the court throughout the match to claim a stunning 12-10, 14-12, 5-11, 11-8 victory.

Result
[Q] Nada Abbas (EGY) bt [4] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 3-1: 12-10, 14-12, 5-11, 11-8 (45m)

Fares Dessouky and Nick Matthew in action in Egypt

Fares Dessouky v Nick Matthew: El Gouna

Egypt’s Fares Dessouky announced his arrival as a top 10 player with a superb victory over three-time World Champion Nick Matthew on the second day of the 2017 El Gouna International Squash Open.

The win over Matthew came just one month after he lost out to the Englishman in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.
However, Dessouky was able to put this fully behind him as he twice came back against the 36-year-old veteran to put up an impressive fightback.

The Egyptian battled back to secure victory in the fourth and fifth games as Dessouky secured a 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 triumph in El Gouna’s New Marina to record one of the biggest wins of his career and pull off one of the shocks of the season.

Result
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [4] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-2: 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 (76m)

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