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Laura Massaro celebrates her comeback over Nour El Sherbini

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

The PSA Dubai World Series Finals last month brought to an end one of the most remarkable and exciting seasons 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 and have already looked at the outstanding performers, breakthrough stars and shocks of the season.

In this part of our season review, we look at some of the best comebacks from the past 10 months.

Massaro celebrates her British Open win

Laura Massaro: 2017 Allam British Open

[5] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 3-2: 5-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (63m)

The 2017 British Open semi-final between Laura Massaro and Nour El Sherbini saw the Englishwoman staring down the barrel of defeat against the Egyptian.

Massaro, the 2013 British Open champion, looked to be heading out after an imperious start from El Sherbini – who had overturned a 2-0 deficit against Massaro in the World Championship final 11 months earlier – saw the World No.1 go two games ahead inside 20 minutes.

The 21-year-old Egyptian – who last year became the first Egyptian to lift the sport’s oldest and most distinguished title – started strongly, driving powerfully and dominating the middle of the court as she quickly took a two-game lead.

However, Massaro, drawing on the energy of a passionate home crowd, dug in resiliently and swung the momentum of the match on its head in the third to claim the game 11-5 and begin her comeback.

The 33-year-old then began to feather in some delicate drops into the front, bringing El Sherbini further up the court and, taking advantage of the available space, was able to begin to dominate the match, with a packed crowd at Hull’s Airco Arena really getting behind the Lancastrian.

Massaro was then able to close out the fourth and fifth game by an 11-3, 11-6 scoreline to confirm her place in the final, where she would face fellow Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry in the first all-English British Open final since 1991.

Massaro prevailed to become the first Englishwoman since Janet Morgan in 1951 to lift the prestigious title on two occasions as she saw off Perry in four games.

James Willstrop battles back against Gregory Gaultier

James Willstrop: 2016 British Grand Prix

[6] James Willstrop (ENG) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-2: 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 (68m) – British Grand Prix

Former World No.1 James Willstrop produced one of his performances of the season in an incredible comeback from two games down to beat number one seed and then-World No.3 Gregory Gaultier in the semi-final at the AJ Bell British Grand Prix.

2015 World Champion Gaultier looked comfortable as he opened up an early two game lead after controlling the court, but no one would have a predicted what was to come from the Englishman.

Willstrop raced into a 4-0 lead in the third game to swing the momentum back in his favour and begin his fightback. However, Gaultier did not give up easily and the Yorkshireman was forced to withstand a huge onslaught that saw the Frenchman claw back three game balls to take the third and turn the match on its head.

From then on, Gaultier begun to make more and more errors as the home crowd lifted Willstrop and by the fifth game Willstrop was in full stride as he completed his remarkable comeback with an 11-5 win after 68 minutes.

The win meant that he would go onto face fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew in the final, with the latter claiming the crown.

Ramy Ashour prevails against Marwan ElShorbagy

Ramy Ashour: Hong Kong

Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 13-15, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8 (81m)

Egypt’s Ramy Ashour produced a masterclass to come from two-games down to beat fellow countryman Marwan ElShorbagy at the Hong Kong Open in 2016.

The Egyptian duo met in the second round of the tournament with ElShorbagy laying down a marker early on to three-time World Champion Ashour, as he secured a two-game lead.

After defeating Saurav Ghosal in the first round, Ashour came into the encounter on good form but was made to work hard for every point against a determined ElShorbagy who took control of the opening games to put Ashour on the back foot.

However, it was not long before ‘The Artist’ fought back as he engaged in a series of punishing and lengthy rallies to bring the match level at 2-2.

A string of contentious referee decisions and dramatics followed from both players which threatened to see the match descend into chaos in the fifth, but squash was the winner as the duo traded points in a series of high class exchanges before a relieved Ashour clinched the deciding game 11-8.

This victory marked a huge comeback in the tournament for Ashour as he went on to lift the title, beating Karim Abdel Gawad in another five-game thriller the final.

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