Egypt’s Fares Dessouky and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry have been named the men’s and women’s PSA Players of the Month for December following their CIB Black Ball Open victories.
Dessouky clinched the biggest title of his career when he reigned victorious at the PSA World Tour Gold event in Cairo at the end of 2020.
The Egyptian, who was ranked World No.11 at the event, was forced to do things the hard way as he put together a huge run which saw him beat defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad, Peru’s World No.7 Diego Elias and World Champion Tarek Momen before then coming from two games down against World No.1 Ali Farag in the final.
Dessouky looked down and out as Farag showcased some scintillating squash to go two games up, but suddenly the winners started flowing from Dessouky’s racket as he fought back to take the next two games in impressive fashion to force a decider.
Farag was the man in form after winning a career-best 14 successive matches coming into the match, while he had beaten Dessouky in all five of their previous matches. But he was powerless to respond to Dessouky’s brilliance in the decider as the man from Alexandria closed out a 5-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 victory to capture the fourth PSA title of his career.
Fares Dessouky with the Black Ball Open trophy
That win sees Dessouky rise back into the top in January’s World Rankings as he now sits at World No.8 – a joint career best from November 2017, when he last featured in the top 10.
Perry – who takes the women’s award – also did things the hard way to lift the CIB Black Ball Open title as she came from two games down as well in Cairo against defending champion Hania El Hammamy to win her first title since the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open.
Sarah-Jane Perry with the Black Ball Open trophy
On her way to the final, Perry endured two five-game battles against Wales’ Emily Whitlock and New Zealand’s Joelle King and also recorded an impressive 3-1 victory against France’s World No.3 Camille Serme in the quarter finals.
Perry was forced to do things the hard way in the final as 20-year-old El Hammamy looked as though she was on the way to retaining her title as she took a 2-0 lead. But the English player was superb from the third game onwards as she countered El Hammamy’s pace with some masterful control of the racket to halve the deficit.
The Egyptian was back in front in the fourth though as she built up two championship balls to put her within touching distance of retaining the title. However, Perry battled on to take it on the tie-break and came back from 8-5 behind in the decider to get her hands on the 11th PSA title of her career.
December also proved to be a strong month for November’s Player of the Month winner Ambre Allinckx, who picked up her second title at the Sihltal Classic in Switzerland, watched on by no other than tennis legend Roger Federer. Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann took home the men’s title after claiming a first win over compatriot Nicolas Mueller.
Pakistan’s Madine Zafar and Tayyab Aslam were victorious at the Pakistan International Squash Tournament, both prevailing in five-game battles.
Other winners in December were Qatar’s Syed Azlan Amjad, Spain’s Bernat Jaume and Hugo Varela, France’s Victor Crouin, France’s Gregory Gaultier and USA’s Faraz Khan.