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Rowan Elaraby (fore) and Nour El Tayeb (back) in action at the Windy City Open in Chicago

2019/20 Round-Up: Shocks of the Season - Pt.1

There were plenty of shocks and spills over the course of the 2019/20 PSA World Tour season, with big names dropping out in the early stages of all the major tournament held around the world.

We have delved into some of the biggest shocks and upsets that there have been during the season, and here are our top ten, starting with 10 through 6.

10 – Mostafa Asal v Mohamed Abouelghar: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – Second Round

Coming in at No.10 on our list of the greatest shocks of the season is an all-Egyptian clash from the second round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, as 19-year-old Mostafa Asal took on World No.9 Mohamed Abouelghar.

The pair had never faced each other on the PSA World Tour, but ‘The Bullet’, who had reached the semi-finals of the Channel VAS Championships at St. George’s Hill in his last outing, was the clear favourite.

However, the 19-year-old Asal, who saw just outside the top 20 in the World Rankings, showed his qualities. His power hitting were too much for his countryman, and he took the victory in four games. Asal went on to reach the quarter-finals after defeating the returning Gregory Gaultier in the last 16.

9 – Rowan Elaraby v Joelle King: FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships – Third Round

Rowan Elaraby is another talented young Egyptian off the conveyor belt and the 19-year-old took the game to the more experienced Joelle King in Philadelphia.

Elaraby had already disposed of the higher-ranked Victoria Lust in the previous round and came into the match brimming with confidence against the U.S. Open’s No.5 seed.

A dominant display from King in games two and three looked to set the Kiwi on course for a routine victory as she sought a place in the last eight, but Elaraby stormed back to claim a superb win which saw her reach the quarter-finals of a PSA Platinum event for the first time.

8 – Rowan Elaraby v Nour El Tayeb: Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family – Second Round

Another all-Egyptian battle takes the No.8 spot on our list of the biggest shocks of the 2019/20 season, as Rowan Elaraby continued her breakthrough campaign at the Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family.

She had already reached the quarter-finals of a Platinum event for the first time earlier in the season, doing so at the FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships, and that form carried into Chicago. The Egyptian was also able to exact revenge for her defeat in Philadelphia.

The 19-year-old, who now sits at her highest ever position in the rankings at World No.15, was defeated by Nour El Tayeb in the U.S. Open, but she turned the tables in the Cathedral Hall of the University Club of Chicago, with a resounding performance in their second round meeting.

Elaraby went on to then beat Lucy Turmel the next day to reach a second Platinum quarter-final of the season, where she ultimately lost out to English No.1 Sarah-Jane Perry is a tight affair, 3-2.

7 – Gregory Gaultier v Omar Mosaad: J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions – Second Round

This match had a little bit of everything, with the main talking point being the return of the French General, Gregory Gaultier, to the PSA World Tour for the first time in 14 months. He had seen playing time for France at the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championships in Washington in December, but this was his return to the PSA World Tour.

The former World No.1 came up against former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the second round of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, in a repeat of the 2015 World Championship final, in which the Frenchman took the title.

This one would go the same way, but only just, as the pair battled it out for over an hour and a quarter. Mosaad led after sneaking the third game on a tie-break, but Gaultier fought back to take a surprise victory, using all of his nouse and knowledge to win.

6 – James Willstrop v Karim Abdel Gawad: PSA Men’s World Championship – Third Round

Two former World No.1s faced off in the third round of the PSA Men’s World Championship in Qatar, as the ‘Marksman’ James Willstrop and the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ did battle at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar.

The pair had met four times before this clash in November, with the Englishman holding the 3-1 advantage, including an 86-minute fifth game victory over Gawad at the Grasshopper Cup in Switzerland 18 months prior.

It would be the same result this time round, as Willstrop overcame the tournament’s No.3 seed with relative ease. The Englishman’s shot-making was at its very best, and everything went right for the then-36-year-old on the day, as he made it through to the last eight of the World Championships.

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