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Throwback Thursday: Story of the Men’s 2018 Tournament of Champions

The first PSA Platinum tournament of 2019 gets under way next week when the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions takes place inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal from January 16-24.

To get you in the mood for one of the most iconic tournaments on the PSA World Tour, we take a look back at the story of the 2018 men’s tournament where history was made.

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Round One
Simon Rösner (GER) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-1: 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 (75m)
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-7, 11-3, 11-8 (29m)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) 3-2: 7-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5 (63m)
[Q] Tom Richards (ENG) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7 (49m)
[4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Joel Makin (WAL) 3-1: 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7 (51m)
[6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5 (43m)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Todd Harrity (USA) 3-0: 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 (38m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Cameron Pilley (AUS) 3-0: 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 (41m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10 (62m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-1: 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-9 (54m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10 (70m)
Miguel Rodriguez (COL) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 14-12, 11-8, 11-5 (42m)
[8] Paul Coll (NZL) bt Zahed Salem (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-6, 11-6 (44m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [Q] Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 13-11 (44m)
[2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 (32m)
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4 (50m)

Old foes Nick Matthew and James Willstrop set up a round two clash at last year's Tournament of Champions after they defeated France's Gregoire Marche and Australia's Cameron Pilley, respectively, in round one.

Meanwhile, all the top seeds progressed through safely to round two, while Germany's Simon Rösner defeated England's Daryl Selby in an entertaining encounter.

Egypt's three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour marked his return at the tournament with a win against compatriot Mazen Hesham. It was the first time Ashour was playing at the event since 2013.

Round Two
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) bt [4] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-2: 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 3-11, 11-9 (71m)
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 8-11, 11-8, 4-11, 15-13, 12-10 (76m)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [Q] Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-5 (33m)
[6] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6 (68m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 (25m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [2] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-2: 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6 (90m)
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Miguel Rodriguez (COL) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 (39m)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) bt [8] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-1: 11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4 (59m)

Australia's Ryan Cuskelly and Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller stunned Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad in round two of the tournament with epic wins at Grand Central Station.

Cuskelly performed strongly to down in-form player ElShorbagy, while Mueller played out a five-game thriller with defending champion Gawad.

Elsewhere, England's Nick Matthew continued his strong record against compatriot and rival James Willstrop in their round two meeting as he marched through to the second round.

Germany's Rösner, meanwhile, played out a thrilling battle with Egypt's Marwan ElShorbagy as he came from 2-1 down to win in five.

Quarter-finals
Simon Rösner (GER) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 11-7, 11-7, 13-15, 11-6 (59m)
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [6] Nick Matthew (ENG) 3-1: 12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 (92m)
[3] Ali Farag (EGY) bt Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-1: 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5 (67m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-0: 11-9, 11-7, 11-7 (39m)

A dramatic day of action saw men’s World No.1 Gaultier come through a titanic 90-minute, four-game thriller with long term rival Matthew to secure his place in the semi-finals.

Gaultier, who was up against Matthew for the 36th time on the PSA World Tour, recovered from losing a 30-minute opening game to prevail 12-14, 11-6, 12-10, 11-7 in what will go down as one of the finest matches in the history of the event.

Semi-finals
Simon Rösner (GER) bt [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 3-1: 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 (69m)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [3] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-2: 11-3, 2-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-9 (80m)

Then-World No.8 Rösner became the first German squash player ever to reach a PSA Platinum final after he stunned then-World No.1 Gaultier in the semi-finals.

A strong start from Gaultier led the Frenchman to go a game up, but Rösner responded with a display of the highest magnitude to take the next three games without reply, claiming a 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1 to cause one of the biggest shocks in Tournament of Champions history.

Elsewhere, Tarek Momen overcame compatriot Ali Farag. The momentum ebbed and flowed throughout the match, with Farag twice recovering from a game down, before Momen fought back from 8-4 behind in the fifth game to claim an 11-3, 2-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-9 triumph to reach his second World Series final.

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

Rösner became the first ever German squash player to win a PSA Platinum tournament after he followed up a stunning semi-final upset of World No.1 Gregory Gaultier to take an 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5 victory over World No.7 Momen in 71 minutes.

The 30-year-old from Paderborn played with precision and guile to go two games up and then showed grit and determination as he recovered from dropping the third and become the first non-Egyptian male to win the Tournament of Champions since England’s Nick Matthew in 2012.

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

“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 on 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.”

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