As Laura Massaro and Mohamed ElShorbagy claimed victory at last month’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals, it brought an end to another memorable season on the PSA World Tour.
Over the past few weeks we have been looking back at the major moments that have lit up the PSA World Tour during the 2016/17 season, including the outstanding performers, breakthrough stars, biggest shocks, comebacks, rallies of the season and the players to watch next season.
We look back at April when the Women’s World Championship and El Gouna International Squash Open produced more memorable moments
El Welily (left) and El Sherbini (right) contest the Women's World Championship final
April produced another exciting month on the PSA World Tour during the 2016/17 season as Nour El Sherbini successfully defended her PSA Women’s World Championship title, beating compatriot Raneem El Welily in this year’s instalment to take the honours.
El Sherbini became Egypt’s first ever female squash World Champion when she defeated England’s Laura Massaro the season before and in the process also became the youngest ever Women’s World Champion.
Held at the New Marina against the backdrop of Egypt’s Red Sea – El Sherbini was in spell-binding form as she dispatched a nervous El Welily, who was appearing in her second World Championship final – after she squandered four match balls against Malaysian icon Nicol David in the final three years earlier in Cairo.
The 21-year-old hit her targets well and never allowed fellow Alexandrian El Welily to get into her stride, as she closed the win out by an 11-8, 11-9, 11-9 scoreline to etch her name into the history books once more.
Her title win also brought an end to a six-month title drought, as she captured her first major title since she lifted the World Championship title in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Taking place at the same time as the Women’s World Championship was the El Gouna International Squash Open, World Series tournament as Gregory Gaultier lifted his fourth successive PSA World Tour title.
The 34-year-old continued to show his impressive form in 2017 as he defeated World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad 3-0 in the final.
Gaultier fell in last year’s instalment to Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy but made amends in the last stage this year with the sort of imperious display that has seen him claim title after title.
The ‘French General’ played at an unrelenting pace throughout the encounter as he gave Gawad no chance, storming to an 11-6, 11-8, 11-7 victory to become the first non-Egyptian winner of the World Series Tournament. The win also extended his unbeaten run to 19-matches, a hot streak that would continue to grow as the season went on.
Despite not claiming the title, Gawad’s appearance in the final was enough to see the Egyptian overtake Gaultier to become just the fifth Egyptian player ever to top the PSA Men’s World Rankings the following month in May.
The Egyptian began the season ranked at No.8 but his stunning form saw him rise to the top of the World Rankings in May to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish, Ramy Ashour and Mohamed ElShorbagy.
The El Gouna tournament also saw Egypt’s Fares Dessouky pull off a shock result against three-time World Champion Nick Matthew on the second day – just one month after he lost out to the Englishman in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.
Dessouky twice fell behind to the Englishman but an impressive fightback in the fourth and fifth saw him claim one of the biggest wins of his career by a 10-12, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6 scoreline.
Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy also claimed a second successive victory over older brother and defending champion, Mohamed, at the tournament to set up a semi-final clash against Gaultier.
Marwan claimed his first ever win over his sibling earlier in the year at February’s Windy City Open and lightning struck twice in El Gouna as Marwan dominated the court to prevail in just 24 minutes by an 11-5, 11-2, 11-4 scoreline.
Later in the month, at the Houston Open, World Champion Gawad captured his first PSA World Tour title since January as he defeated fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen in the final of the PSA M70 tournament.
Gawad earned his place in the title decider courtesy of wins over Pakistani qualifier Nasir Iqbal, Ryan Cuskelly and Dessouky. Momen, meanwhile, was appearing in his first Tour final since December’s Channel VAS Championship.
But it was Gawad who reigned victorious as he claimed an 11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6 victory at the Life Time Athletic club to lift the fifth title of a trophy-laden season for the Egyptian.
As El Sherbini celebrated her World Championship title, April also proved to be a good month for her cousin, Mohamed El Sherbini, as he picked up an impressive two PSA World Tour titles at the Assore & Balwin Parkview Open and the Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Open Squash Championships.
Full list of winners
Christchurch Vets Ipswich Open 2017 – Julianne Courtice (ENG)
TRAC Oil & Gas North of Scotland Open 2017 (Men’s title) – Vikram Malhotra (IND)
DPD/FOS Amsterdam Open 2017 – Mohammad Alsarraj (JOR)
The Masters School Open 2017 – Elani Landman (RSA)
El Gouna International Squash Open 2017 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship – Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Assore & Balwin Parkview Open 2017 (Men’s title) – Mohamed El Sherbini (EGY)
Assore & Balwin Parkview Open 2017 (Women’s title) – Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
Garavan’s West of Ireland Open 2017 – Youssef Soliman (EGY)
Virginia Squash Racquets Association Richmond Open 2017 – Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
BCS Russian Open 2017 – Adam Murrills (ENG)
Czech International Championship 2017 – Amina Yousry (EGY)
West Rand Open 2017 – Mohamed El Sherbini (EGY)
GillenMarkets Irish Squash Open 2017 (Men’s title) – Declan James (ENG)
GillenMarkets Irish Squash Open 2017 (Women’s title) – Nele Gilis (BEL)
Northern Ontario Open 2017 – Nick Sachvie (CAN)
Life Time Hutkay.fit Houston Open 2017 – Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Kish Squash Association Persian Gulf 2017 – Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
Seapiax Lorient Open 2017 – Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
Cross Court/ SVSL Sacramento Rubin Open 2017 – Edgar Zayas (MEX)
Madison Open 2017 – Jesus Camacho (MEX)
Sentara Martha Jefferson Charlottesville Open 2017 – Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Open Squash Championships 2017 (Men’s title) – Mohamed El Sherbini (EGY)
Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Open Squash Championships 2017 (Women’s title) – Menna Hamed (EGY)
Tour de las Americas Patagonia Open 2017 – Robertino Pezzota (ARG)