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Nour El Tayeb (left) celebrates her Windy City Open final win over Joelle King (right)

Year in Review: Matches of the Year - Part One

The PSA Tour was home to some electrifying action during 2018, with the world’s best players contesting a series of incredible matches at tournament’s across the globe.

We’ve picked out some of the best matches from the past 12 months for squash fans to relive.

January 2018 – J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, New York: Quarter-Finals
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (92m)

Veterans Gregory Gaultier and Nick Matthew rolled back the years as they went head-to-head in one of the greatest matches ever seen at the prestigious Tournament of Champions.

Matthew, a winner of this tournament in 2012, was making his final ever appearance under the under the chandeliers inside Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall.

37-year-old Matthew and 35-year-old Gaultier were two of the oldest players on the PSA Tour at the time and they contested 92 minutes of physically and mentally testing squash.

February 2018 – Windy City Open, Chicago: Second Round
[7] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [13] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-4 (65m)

Comeback queen Nour El Tayeb achieved four successive 3-2 victories en route to the Windy City Open title and it all started with a huge five-game contest against Welshwoman Tesni Evans.

Evans had won the British Nationals shortly before heading to Chicago and played some sumptuous squash to hold four match balls in the fourth game – meaning El Tayeb had to fight back from the brink of elimination to keep her title charge on track.

February 2018 – Windy City Open, Chicago: Second Round
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 11-7, 11-13, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6 (78m)

Qualifier Max Lee came within a whisker of sending Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez out in the last 16 of the Windy City Open after an epic 78-minute clash that saw some huge rallies light up the University Club of Chicago.

The pair played at a relentless pace which saw the fixture go right down the the wire in an enthralling spectacle.

February 2018 – Windy City Open, Chicago: Final
[7] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [9] Joelle King (NZL) 3-2: 11-8, 10-12, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10 (78m)

El Tayeb capped a stunning week in Chicago with an incredible 3-2 triumph against New Zealand’s Joelle King which saw her pick up where she left off after wins by the same scoreline over Evans, World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry.

The Egyptian went two games down and then two championship balls down against a rampant King – who was appearing in her first PSA World Tour Platinum final – and had to dig in once again to come out on top.

The match was recognised at the end-of-season PSA Awards with the Women’s Match of the Season award.

March 2018 – Grasshopper Cup, Switzerland: Quarter-Finals
James Willstrop (ENG) bt [3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-13, 15-13, 4-11, 11-6, 11-7 (86m)

Former World No.1s James Willstrop and Karim Abdel Gawad served up a match of the highest quality in this incredible match from March’s Grasshopper Cup.

35-year-old Willstrop was sublime as he played with control and precision with a trademark ‘windmill’ shot from ‘The Marksman’ in particular sending the crowd into raptures.

April 2018 – El Gouna International, Egypt: Semi-Finals
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9 (63m)

This time, El Tayeb was on the wrong end of a five-game thriller as she fell victim to an inspired display from reigning World Champion Raneem El Welily.

The former held a 5-1 lead midway through the fifth game but it was the older Egyptian who fought back with some swashbuckling squash to earn her place in the title decider.

May 2018 – British Open, Hull: Quarter-Finals
[Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) bt [4] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 11-7, 11-13, 6-11, 13-11, 11-6 (72m)

After ending home hero Nick Matthew’s British Open campaign at the second round stage, Kandra came into his quarter-final clash with then World No.3 Marwan ElShorbagy holding something of a giant-killer reputation.

And, with a partizan crowd cheering him on, the underdog claimed yet another huge scalp as he overcame the Egyptian in a fixture that was named the Match of the Season at the end-of-season PSA Awards.

May 2018 – British Open, Hull: Quarter-Finals
[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [11] Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-2: 16-14, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6 (72m)

Quarter-Finals day at the British Open also staged a thriller in the women’s event as 2015 champion Camille Serme held off Evans to book her semi-final berth.

Serme had beaten Evans in all six of their previous meetings on the PSA Tour. But the woman from Wales was playing some of her best squash after claiming bronze at the Commonwealth Games the month before, and she pushed the Frenchwoman to her limits at Hull’s Airco Arena.

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