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Raneem El Welily & Karim Abdel Gawad claim Al Ahram Squash Open NewGiza titles

Season Review: September

The PSA Dubai World Series Finals last month brought an end to one of the most remarkable and thrilling 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, biggest shocks, comebacks, rallies of the season and the players to watch next season.

In this part of our season review, we go back to look at the events of September 2016.

September
September brought another month of high-quality action on the PSA World Tour.

A virtuoso performance from England’s Laura Massaro saw her lift the China Squash Open at the start of September as she won in straight games against Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and gained revenge after the Egyptian had beaten her to the Hong Kong Open title the month before.

Massaro had fallen to Gohar in a bruising quarter-final in Hong Kong but made amends on the edge of Shangha’s Bund as she halted Gohar’s eight-match winning streak, playing accurate and disciplined squash to take the honours and claim her first PSA World Tour title since winning the 2015/16 end of season PSA Dubai World Series Finals.

Massaro came through 11-9, 11-5, 11-3 in 36 minutes to secure silverware, whilst in the men’s final, then-World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy bounced back from his shock second round exit in Hong Kong to defeat ‘French General’ Gregory Gaultier and claim the men’s title.

At the North Coast Open, Zac Alexander returned to winning ways as he stormed to the title without dropping a single game.
Alexander saw his incredible 31-match winning streak halted at the hands of Paul Coll the month before but he bounced back to clinch the title – the 22nd PSA World Tour crown of his career.

In the women’s final, Australia’s Tamika Saxby collected her fifth PSA World Tour title of her career as she also downed the top seed – Lisa Camilleri – in straight games, coming through 11-3, 11-8, 11-2 in 23 minutes.

At the Open International de Squash de Nantes tournament, it was Frenchamn Gregoire Marche and Egyptian teenager Hana Ramadan who took the honours as they rose to final wins over English duo Chris Simpson and Rachael Chadwick respectively.

Defending champion, Marche, was in brilliant form throughout the entire tournament and the Frenchman was able to impress a home crowd by seeing out a 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-2 victory to lift the PSA M25 title.

Ramadan and Chadwick also served up an entertaining fixture in the inaugural women’s final, as Alexandria-born Ramadan put in strong display to win 12-10, 11-4, 2-11, 11-9 to lift her third PSA World Tour title.

At the Texas Open, Egyptian Karim El Hammamy secured the first PSA World Tour title of his career as he breezed past Indian Vikram Malhotra to claim the M10 title.

Elsewhere, South African Stephen Coppinger made it two in a row at the Harrow Charlottesville Open, defeating Aussie Ryan Cuskelly for the second consecutive year to claim the silverware and keep the PSA M25 title in his possession.

Also in September, New Zealand’s Joelle King and England’s Daryl Selby captured the 2016 Macau Open, PSA W50 & M50 titles respectively after King defeated second seed Annie Au, while Selby claimed a walkover against Hong Kong’s Max Lee to end a four-year title drought.

Au was appearing in her first PSA World Tour final since May 2015 and started in the ascendancy, taking a one-game lead, before King found her rhythm and rattled off three games in a row to claim her second title of 2016.

Selby, meanwhile, captured his first PSA World Tour title since April 2012 after Lee was forced to pull out of their final clash due to injury.

Lee battled through cramp to come through a gladiatorial five-game thriller against top seed Marwan ElShorbagy in the previous round, but the then-World No.17 was unable to recover in time for his fixture with Selby after requiring hospital treatment, handing the Englishman the biggest title of his career.

It was an 11th PSA World Tour title for Dutchman Piedro Schweertman as he defeated Frenchman August Dussourd in the final of the Mano Arbeitnehmeruberlassung Insel Bruggen Open, PSA M5 tournament in Germany.

At the China Squash Challenge Cup, PSA W10 event it was tournament top seed Tong Tsz-Wing of Hong Kong who lived up to her billing as she overcame Australia’s Sarah Cardwell to lift her third PSA World Tour title of 2016.

Whilst at the Kiva Club Open, PSA M5 tournament, England’s Jaymie Haycocks took the plaudits as an assured display saw him defeat United States player Dylan Cunningham in straight games.

At one of the biggest tournaments of the month and in front of one of the most iconic sporting backdrops of all time – the Pyramids of Giza – it was local man Karim Abdel Gawad and compatriot Raneem El Welily who took the spoils at the 2016 Al Ahram Squash Open NewGiza to write their names into Egypt’s sporting history books.

In the shadow of the iconic structures, Gawad, who came past World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad to reach the title-decider, overcame Ali Farag in straight games to become the first Egyptian to taste success here since the legendary Ahmed Barada in 1998, while El Welily overcame the challenge of compatriot and World No.1 Nour El Sherbini to become to the first Egyptian woman ever to win the iconic title.

Receiving $17,000 each – the first time a major squash tournament in Egypt has offered parity in prize money – the duo delighted the capacity crowd to claim arguably the most important wins at that point in their careers.

As the month came to a close defending champion Declan James and home hero Danielle Letourneau triumphed in their respective final clashes against Peruvian Diego Elias and Japan’s Misaki Kobayashi to become the 2016 Nash Cup champions.

Full list of winners
China Squash Open 2016 (Men’s title) – Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
China Squash Open 2016 (Women’s title) – Laura Massaro (ENG)
North Coast Open 2016 (Men’s title) – Zac Alexander (AUS)
North Coast Open 2016 (Women’s title) – Tamika Saxby (AUS)
Open International de Squash de Nantes 2016 (Men’s title) – Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Open International de Squash de Nantes 2016 (Women’s title) – Hana Ramadan (EGY)
Segnatek Engineering Texas Open Squash Championship – Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
Harrow Charlottesville Open 2016 – Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Macau Open 2016 (Men’s title) – Daryl Selby (ENG)
Macau Open 2016 (Women’s title) – Joelle King (NZL)
China Squash Challenge Cup 2016 – Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG)
Kiva Club Open 2016 – Jaymie Haycocks (ENG)
Mano Arbeitnehmeruberlassung Insel Bruggen Open 2016 – Piedro Schweertman (NED)
Al Ahram Squash Open NewGiza 2016 (Men’s title) – Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Al Ahram Squash Open NewGiza 2016 (Women’s title) – Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Nash Cup 2016 (Men’s title) – Declan James (ENG)
Nash Cup 2016 (Women’s title) – Danielle Letourneau (CAN)

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