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Tournament of Champions Finals - As it Happens

We've reached the finals of the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions here in New York and look set for a thrilling climax to the prestigious PSA World Series tournament.

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Here's the Order of Play
(Times are local GMT-5)

World No.8 Simon Rösner will become the first German squash player ever to compete in a World Series final when he takes on the man directly above him in the World Rankings, Tarek Momen, later today.

Rösner and Momen claimed huge wins over World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and World No.3 Ali Farag, respectively, in the semi-finals and are currently locked at 3 wins apiece in their-head-to-head record, with Momen get the better of Rösner in the last four of November’s Qatar Classic.

Both players will be going all out for their maiden World Series titles, while a win for Rösner will see him overtake Momen on the PSA Men’s World Series Standings to move up to third.

An all-Egyptian women's final lies in wait for the fourth time in as many World Series events as Nour El Sherbini looks to lift a third successive World Series crown against U.S. Open champion Nour El Tayeb.

El Sherbini, competing in a fifth successive PSA World Tour final, has already lifted the Hong Kong Open and Saudi Masters titles this season and is 7-4 on the head-to-head record against El Tayeb.

The 22-year-old has beaten El Tayeb in their last two meetings, but El Tayeb beat the two-time World Champion en route to lifting a first ever World Series title in October's U.S. Open.

El Sherbini Takes 2018 Women’s ToC Title

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini added the 2018 Tournament of Champions title to her ever-growing list of accolades courtesy of a 2-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7 win over compatriot Nour El Tayeb inside New York's Grand Central Terminal today.

The win, which came after 56 minutes of play, sees the 22-year-old write her name into tournament history for the second time following her maiden New York win in 2016. It also sees her collect her fifth title – from seven events played – during the 2017/18 season so far.

“It's unbelievable feeling right now, I cannot describe it,” said El Sherbini.

“I'm extremely happy – I couldn't have asked for a better start to 2018. I've been playing well and this is my fifth final in a row. I worked really hard in the summer and have been trying to enjoy playing when I'm out there and that hard work is paying off right now.

“Hopefully I can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season.”

The opening game saw El Sherbini start slowly, failing to find her length on court and playing second fiddle to El Tayeb's attacking flair. But in a mirror image of her semi-final win over Laura Massaro, when she recovered from dropping the opening game 4-11, the two-time World Champion managed to up her game in the second, settling into the match and hitting with better length to take control of the court away from El Tayeb.

Momentum swung back in favour of U.S. Open champion El Tayeb though in the third, with the 24-year-old again dominating to re-establish her lead in an 11-4 win with El Sherbini reverting to her first game performance and failing to establish her basic game.

With neither player finding their true potential the match continued to swing back and forth through the fourth. It was El Sherbini again enjoying periods of uncontested dominance to restore parity and take the match into a deceive fifth – when the duo finally managed to put together a period of competitive play that displayed what they are capable of.

But a poor error from El Tayeb at 7-8 down gave El Sherbini the momentum, and when a soft stroke allowed her widen the gap she pounced to seal the match and claim a second title in January alone, adding the Tournament of Champions title to the PSA Saudi Masters event she won two weeks ago.

“Nour and I have played together since we were 12 years old and we are very good friends,” added El Sherbini. “It's very hard to play against her, especially because she's been playing so well this season. I'm just really really happy to win this event again.

“This venue, and this crowd, is unbelievable and the support from day one is great so I hope the fans enjoyed the match.”

Result:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [8] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 2-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7, 11-7 (56m)

Rösner Thwarts Momen To Claim Maiden World Series Crown

There was a fairytale ending in New York for Germany’s Simon Rösner as he overcame Tarek Momen 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 in his first ever PSA World Series tournament final to win the 2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

The 30-year-old downed World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals to secure a surprise berth in the title-decider and go up against Momen, who was also gunning for the first World Series tournament victory of his career just three months after making his first ever World Series final during October’s Qatar Classic.

But, competing under the breathtaking chandeliers inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, Paderborn-based Rösner showed no signs of big stage nerves as he came out firing to record an historic victory that sees him become the first German player ever to win a top flight PSA World Tour tournament.

“It’s a unbelievable feeling,” said Rösner.

“That was the biggest match of my career and to win it is incredible.

“Coming here this week, I didn’t expect to win the championship. But this is what you work for every day. To play in this kind of stage is the reason you wake up, train hard, stay disciplined and go through all of that. And for that to pay off, in New York, in Grand Central Terminal, with the Tournament of Champions title – it’s unbelievable.”

The hard-hitting man know on Tour as the ‘Tree-Chopper’ played with precision and guile from the off, handling the nerves of the occasion better during the early exchanges to take advantage of a clearly nervous Momen – who struggled to find the accuracy and precision that saw him down Ali Farag in the semi-finals.

While Momen managed to settle into the match in the second, establishing a presence in the rallies and using his deadly short-game to stretch Rösner and force the bigger man into a series of punishing, physically-sapping movements, he came up short once again as Rösner edged a tense game 11-9 to take a commanding score-board lead.

But a farcical situation with the referees mid-way through the third game, which saw a dubious retrieval overturned from a ‘carry’ to a ‘stroke, before being overturned again to a ‘no-let’, threatened to de-rail the German’s charge as, looking clearly rattled, he lost a litany of points in quick succession which effectively handed the third to Momen.

But Rösner regained his composure in the fourth, retuning to the effecting line and length hitting that served him so well in the first, setting up the foundation to complete the win.

“I felt relaxed out there which was key,” added Rösner.

“I didn’t feel any pressure and physically I felt fine – despite playing a lot of squash this week I still felt quite fresh, which is a sign that I’ve been doing the right thing over the past few weeks and months in training.

“I tried to enjoy the occasion as much as possible today and that was evident for me. So many legends have won this title – to be on there beside them is something I’m so, so proud of.

“I have been playing the tournament for something like thirteen years. I started off in qualification, losing those matches. So to stand here today with the trophy is unreal. This is an event that I love coming to every year – it’s such a special place to play squash.

“I’ve been getting a lot of support from back home and that also means a lot. Without that kind of support there would be no way that I’d be in this position right now.”

After the match Momen said: “I’m disappointed in the result today of course. I tried my best today but Simon was playing ridiculously well. I was maybe a little bit flat mentally and my shots weren’t as accurate as they have been during the week. I played the best I could on the day but he was better and I have to congratulate him on a great week and a first World Series title.”

Result:
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [7] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 (71m)

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