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Emily Whitlock stuns the crowd at the Allam British Open

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

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.

Check out part one here.

The ElShorbagy brothers embrace at the Windy City Open

Marwan ElShorbagy v Mohamed ElShorbagy – Windy City Open 2017

Marwan ElShorbagy claimed a shock victory over older brother, Mohamed, at the Windy City Open in 2017.

Marwan – who is three years younger than his elder sibling – had never taken more than a game against the former World No.1 in their previous seven meetings on the PSA World Tour and was up against it from the outset as Mohamed stormed into a 1-0 game advantage, with Marwan picking up just a single point in the process.

However, Marwan rose through the gears to battle back and take a 2-1 lead before the elder ElShorbagy restored parity once more to take it to a tantalising deciding game.

But it was the younger ElShorbagy who stood firm in the fifth and final game to see out the all-important victory, resulting in an outpouring of emotion from both players.

Marwan followed up that landmark victory with a win over fellow Egyptian Ali Farag in the semi-finals to reach a maiden World Series final where his tournament came to an end at the hands of Gregory Gaultier.

Result
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 1-11, 11-8, 13-11, 5-11, 11-8 (69m)

Borja Golan in action against Karim Abdel Gawad

Borja Golan v Karim Abdel Gawad – Windy City Open 2017

Further upsets followed at the Windy City Open as Borja Golan knocked out World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad to secure an unexpected berth in the semi-finals.

Prior to the tournament the Spanish former World No.5 hadn’t won a match for six months following a herniated disc injury but produced a tactically superb display to take Gawad out of his comfort zone and seal the match after 73 minutes.

Gawad came into the tournament vying to win a third straight PSA World Series title but found himself up against an inspired Golan.

The Spaniard played out of his skin to knock Gawad out and book a place in the semi-finals – his first appearance at this stage of a World Series event since the 2014 Hong Kong Open.

Golan had impressed in the previous rounds to down the Hong Kong duo of Leo Au and Max Lee to reach the last eight and put in another dominant performance to halt the Egyptian, at times slowing the play before injecting pace and attacking with intent to take Gawad out of his comfort zone.

And after taking the crucial third game 11-9 to go 2-1 up, Golan was able to charge home and secure the huge win.

Result
Borja Golan (ESP) bt [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9 (73m)

Emily Whitlock causes an upset at the British Open

Emily Whitlock v Alison Waters – Allam British Open 2017

The Allam British Open served up its own share of shock results this year, one being Emily Whitlock’s victory over fellow Englishwoman Alison Waters.

England’s Whitlock stunned the three-time British Open semi-finalist claiming an 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 victory to secure a place in the quarter-finals for the first time in her career.

The then-World No.15 came quickest out of the blocks and never showed any signs of slowing down as she triumphed in just over 30 minutes.

Whitlock showed an impressive range of shots throughout as she forced the experienced Waters to chase the ball into all four corners of the court to prevail against the former World No.3.

Result
[13] Emily Whitlock (ENG) bt [8] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-7, 11-9 (31m)

Mohamed Abouelghar secures victory against Karim Abdel Gawad

Mohamed Abouelghar v Karim Abdel Gawad – Allam British Open 2017

Mohamed Abouelghar forced Gawad to wait a little longer for his World No.1 spot as he beat his compatriot on day three of the prestigious British Open at Hull’s Airco Arena.

Gawad required just a quarter-final finish at the sport’s oldest and most distinguished tournament to overtake then World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy atop the World Rankings but a stunning display from Abouelghar prevented him and caused yet another upset at this year’s tournament.

Gawad looked in real control throughout the first as he raced into a 1-0 lead, with Abouelghar making several errors which made life easier for the ‘Baby Faced Assasin’.

But life didn’t remain easy for Gawad for long as Abouelghar came out in an assured manner and matched the 25-year-old throughout to win in a tie-break after Gawad had thrown away two game balls.

Abouelghar’s onslaught continued in the third and he stayed ahead for the entire game, taking a 2-1 lead with Gawad’s last ditch dive at game ball – which saw him crash into the side wall – encapsulating the Egyptian’s struggle.

Gawad then continued to struggle in the fourth as Abouelghar didn’t take any prisoners and carried on imposing his fast paced style, which in the end proved too much for Gawad as Abouelghar came away with a 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 win to book a place in the next round.

Result
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) bt [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1: 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7 (64m)

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