duo Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily are the 2017 AJ Bell PSA
World Champions after an enthralling day of final action at Manchester
Central Convention Complex saw both players enter the history books by
lifting the sport’s most prestigious title for the first time.
World No.2 ElShorbagy, a runner-up at this tournament in 2012 and 2014
to compatriot Ramy Ashour, prevailed over younger brother Marwan 11-5,
9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6 in what was the first time two brothers had
contested the final of the iconic tournament in its 41-year history.
A nail-biting encounter went all the way down to the wire, until
26-year-old Mohamed fired off seven successive points from 6-4 down in
the decider to capture the biggest title of his career and the 30th
overall as his stunning form - which has seen him win six of his last
seven tournaments - continues.
feels great, it’s a dream come true," said ElShorbagy.
"At 11-9 on the fourth it was a huge blow, then I was down in the fifth
and I had to fight and fight, he gave it everything. I remember the 2012
match with Ramy, I know how he felt now. There was so much pressure on
me, like Ramy in 2012, and in these matches you just want to win the
"At the end we congratulated each other. It was my time today, with this
title you have to be patient and it will come for him. I've won
everything in the sport now, but I still have much more to achieve and
more titles to win."
Welily had also suffered two World Championship final defeats in the
past - with the 2014 final seeing her surrender four championship balls
against Malaysia’s Nicol David - but it was third time lucky for the
Cairo-based World No.2 after she came back from a game down to defeat
defending champion Nour El Sherbini.
El Welily had lost out out in straight games to El Sherbini in the
previous women’s World Championship final - which took place in El Gouna
in April - and the scoreline looked to be heading down a familiar route
as World No.1 El Sherbini took the opening game for the loss of just
a resilient El Welily battled back over the course of the next three
games, taking a crucial second game on the tie-break, before claiming
wins in games three and four to wrap up a 3-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5
victory, which sees her capture a 16th career title on the PSA World
“She was under more pressure than me today," said El Welily.
"I felt so different today compared to the last World Championship
final. That one was a nightmare, today I was so much more relaxed.
“So much has changed since 2014. The game has changed, I have changed,
the sport is different from then. We're all adapting and improving. I
hope I can keep the same attitude for the remainder of the season. From
this moment to the next event I don't know what will happen, but I know
I don't want to stop with just this one success.”
brothers Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy will become the first siblings in
history to contest the Men’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship when they go
head-to-head in tomorrow's (December 17) final on a day that will also
see fellow Egyptians Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily go
head-to-head in the women's final at Manchester Central Convention
Since the first men’s World Championships in 1976, some of the greatest
names ever to play the sport have gotten their hands on the coveted
title and Mohamed and Marwan will have the chance to add their names to
the elite list of previous winners after respective wins over World No.1
Gregory Gaultier and World No.3 Ali Farag in the last four.
is set to compete in his third World Championship final after beating
Frenchman Gaultier by an 12-10, 11-4, 11-9 scoreline and he will look to
make amends for defeats to Ramy Ashour in both the 2012 and 2014 finals
as he aims to capture the only major title missing from his trophy
“He [Greg] is 34-years-old and I’m 26-years old and that’s the 22nd time
we have played on Tour, so I think that shows how great of a player he
is because I hope at his age I can play even half as well as the way he
is playing,” said ElShorbagy, who has now reached seven PSA World Tour
finals in a row.
"We always play tough matches together, the first game was very crucial,
just like how it was with Nick and Ramy [in the quarter finals and third
round, respectively], so taking the first game gives you a huge boost
for the rest of the match.
“I’m happy to win in three and I look forward to coming back here
Marwan, meanwhile, will appear in his maiden World Championship final
after he came through a gruelling five-game encounter with Farag 11-8,
4-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9.
The brothers will meet for the 11th time on the PSA World Tour, with
Mohamed having won 8 of their previous clashes, and they will be the
first siblings to compete in a PSA World Championship final since the
Grinham sisters, Rachael and Natalie, who reached the 2007 women’s
“It feels amazing,” said Marwan.
“This is for our family. Two brothers in a final, I don’t think it has
ever been done before. We’re so close to each other and it is a dream
for both of us and these are the kind of things you visualise when you
are young, it’s a dream come true.
“Just to have my mum here watching is amazing and this is for her and
for our family. She is always there and always supports us."
women’s final will be a repeat of April’s World Championship
title-decider in El Gouna after El Sherbini and El Welily came through
contrasting semi-final fixtures and they will go head-to-head for the
$45,000 prize purse, which is equal to the men’s prize money for the
first time in history.
El Sherbini, who in the 2015 edition became the youngest female World
Champion of all time, got the better of El Welily eight months ago and
she will target a third successive World Championship crown after
storming to an 11-0 win in the fifth game of a nervy clash with
compatriot Nour El Tayeb - who is married to Farag.
never had a match like that in the last game, it’s weird,” said World
No.1 El Sherbini.
"I just tried to take the lead, I didn’t know what she was going to do.
It was weird to finish like that, but a good thing for me. When you’re
down and you come back, I was trying to think point by point and just
El Welily, meanwhile, had an easier time of things against World No.3
Camille Serme as she dominated her French opponent to take an 11-7,
11-9, 11-7 win in 39 minutes, sending Serme out at the last four stage
for the second time in a row.
"El Sherbini is such an exciting player to watch," said El Welily, who
also fell to a defeat in the 2014 final against Malaysia’s Nicol David.
"She’s very skilful with the racket and you never know what she’s going
to hit next. these are great times for Egyptian squash. The women’s game
is very exciting at the moment, people are moving in and out of the top
eight every month.”
The finals of the 2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championships will take place
tomorrow, with the men’s final following on from the women’s
title-decider, which will begin at 17:00 local time (GMT).
Action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport
Player (Europe only) while multiple broadcasters around the world - such
as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro - will also
show the finals live.
World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy will appear in the semi-finals of the AJ
Bell PSA World Championships for the first time in his career after he
saw off defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad inside Manchester Central
Convention Complex on day six of the sport’s most prestigious
had been struggling with a shin injury prior to the tournament and a
ruthless performance from 24-year-old ElShorbagy ground his compatriot
down in 42 minutes by an 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 scoreline.
ElShorbagy’s win lines up the tantalising prospect of the men’s final
featuring siblings for the first time, with older brother Mohamed - a
two-time World Championship runner-up - in semi-final action against
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier tomorrow on the opposing side of the draw.
“I’m so happy, I can’t even describe how I’m feeling right now,” said
“It’s my first semi-final at the World Championships and obviously it is
the biggest tournament of the year. This is what we train for and I am
happy with my performance today.
“Of course, I saw Karim had an injury break and I hope whatever it is, I
hope it’s not too serious. I just had to keep my focus. I think I lost
my concentration a little bit in the third game and he came back very
well but I’m just happy and I need to focus on my game because I have a
big match tomorrow coming up."
will clash with World No.3 Ali Farag in an attempt to set up a final
meeting with either Mohamed or Gaultier, after Farag - October’s U.S.
Open champion - recovered from a game down to beat Colombia’s Miguel
Angel Rodriguez 5-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6.
“Miguel started off firing in the first, he was much more aggressive
than I was in the back corners, consistently in front of me and
dominating the centre of the court throughout the entire first game,"
“Thankfully, in my corner I had the former World No.1 [Karim Darwish],
my coach, who knows what to say at the right times.
credit to Miguel, he didn’t make it easy until the very last minute, but
I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals for the first time along with my
wife [World No.8 Nour El Tayeb], so hopefully we both keep proceeding.”
Farag is part of a six-strong Egyptian contingent across both the men’s
and women’s tournaments as two-time World Champion runner-up Raneem El
Welily also moved through to the semi-finals.
Welily, who lost out to World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in April’s World
Championship final, ended eight-time winner Nicol David’s tournament,
avenging her defeat to the Malaysian in the title-decider of the 2014
“I am really happy to be through,” said El Welily.
“Nicol will always put up a fight, especially in the World Championship,
it’s her favourite tournament.
knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and I had to regroup and push back
after she took the second game. I’m now looking forward to playing
Camille again. She’s obviously on top form.”
She will take on French World No.3 Camille Serme for a place in the
final for the second World Championships in a row after Serme moved into
the last four of the World Championships for the second time in a row
courtesy of a dominant 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 win over New Zealand’s Joelle
not thinking about winning it yet, I was just so focused on that one,"
said Serme who, along with compatriot Gaultier, are the only
non-Egyptians left in the tournament.
"I knew it was going to be a tough battle. Although it was 3-0, it was a
hard match. Mentally and physically, the rallies were pretty quick and
the pace was fast. I’m just relieved after this win."
The semi-finals of the World Championships take place tomorrow (December
16) with action from all four matches shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of
World), Eurosport Player (Europe only) and mainstream broadcast channels
around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia
Play from the first session starts at 13:00 local time (GMT), with the
second session getting under way at 17:30.
Englishman Nick Matthew made his last ever appearance at the AJ Bell PSA
World Championships after the 37-year-old fell to World No.2 Mohamed
ElShorbagy in the quarter-finals of the sport’s most prestigious
tournament, which is this year being held at Manchester Central
Sheffield-born Matthew, the only Englishman ever to win the World
Championships, will retire at the end of the 2017/18 season and he was
returning to the scene of his 2013 World Championships title win, where
he lifted his third and final World Championship crown.
But he was up against a rampant ElShorbagy today, with the Egyptian
powerhouse dominating the first two games to go ahead. Matthew fought
back to take the third - resulting in a huge cheer from the former World
No.1’s home crowd - but he was powerless to stop the former 26-year-old
from wrapping up an 11-7, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6 victory to end English
participation at this year’s World Championships.
“I was playing against someone who is one of the greatest in the game,”
said ElShorbagy, who has won 14 of his 23 matches with Matthew on the
PSA World Tour.
"Whatever day it is, you know he is going to step it up and I always
step it up against him. He certainly gave a huge fight when he was 2-0
down and I certainly didn’t expect anything less from him.
“It was such a high-quality match as expected and it has always been a
great rivalry between us and an interesting one as there is 11 years
difference between me and him. To have a rivalry with him is something
that I will remember for the rest of my career."
Matthew said: “2013 is a special memory and everyone around me is so
comfortable here and it was my minimum this week to get to this venue.
This crowd is absolutely fantastic and I know they were willing me on.
"It’s disappointing to go out in the quarters but I’m proud of my
performance and if I keep playing like that, then a Commonwealth Games
title is a realistic target and I’ll end this tournament with good
memories of how I fought back.”
No.1 Gregory Gaultier will stand between ElShorbagy and a place in a
third World Championships final after the 34-year-old Frenchman defeated
New Zealand’s World No.8 Paul Coll in straight games - just one day
after wife Veronika gave birth to the couple’s second son, Liam.
"The doctor said we could do the birth earlier than the due date, which
was December 20," said 2015 World Champion Gaultier.
"I was very close to flying home and coming back but I couldn't get a
direct flight. I slept for about three hours last night. I felt huge
relief when the baby was born. I was energetic, but a little drained.
"Today I went on court and focused on the match and she was sending me
pictures and I was happy and I play well when I'm happy. There's no
thinking when I'm happy, I just hit my targets. If I could win this
week, having a new born child, it would be the best week of my life, the
strawberry on top of the cake."
champion Nour El Sherbini moved to within one win of a third successive
Women’s World Championship final after the World No.1 dismantled
compatriot and World No.5 Nouran Gohar.
El Sherbini, 22, sent Gohar out at the semi-final stage of the last two
World Championships - which she then went on to win, becoming the first
Egyptian female to lift the biggest prize on the women’s Tour in the
2016 edition - and she did it a round earlier this year by taking a
11-7, 11-3, 11-4 victory.
“I think it is very hard to play against someone that you are so used to
playing against.” said El Sherbini, who has now beaten Gohar six times
in a row, including at last month’s Hong Kong Open.
“You know she makes a plan based on the last match. It's hard to play
players so close together because it makes it hard to change game plans.
I try to mix the pace with her a lot.
“There’s no pressure on me. I'm approaching it like a normal tournament,
just like any others and enjoy my squash match by match. If I think
about it then it becomes pressure, so I just try not to think about it.”
Nour El Tayeb was the other victor on day five, beating Welsh No.1 Tesni
Evans 11-9, 11-7, 11-9 to reach her first ever World Championships
“I wasn’t as accurate or as aggressive as I hoped, but to get a 3-0 at
the end of the day is a very good thing for me,” said El Tayeb.
“Recently, I’ve been trying to accept the nerves. You have to be
nervous, if you weren’t, it’s not normal. I try to accept it and keep my
mind on the squash.”
Quarter-finals action continues tomorrow (December 15) from 14:30 GMT,
with all of the matches shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and
Eurosport Player (Europe only).
will be no English representatives in the quarter-finals of the Women’s
AJ Bell PSA World Championships for the first time ever in the history
of the 38-year-old tournament after World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry and
World No.16 Victoria Lust fell to New Zealand’s Joelle King (right) and
Egypt’s Raneem El Welily, respectively, as second round action came to
an end at the 2017 edition.
Yesterday saw England No.1 Laura Massaro and England No.3 Alison Waters
exit the tournament on the opening day of second round women’s matches
and Perry joined them in elimination after going down in four games to
World No.9 King inside Manchester’s National Squash Centre.
A slow start from Birmingham-born Perry saw the 2017 British Open
runner-up go a game down and, despite battling back to take the second,
she was powerless to stop an in-form King from moving into the last
eight for the first time since the 2013 instalment, courtesy of an 11-1,
6-11, 14-12, 11-6 victory.
“I think we’re the two tallest female players on the Tour, so it’s
always tough trying to get the ball past each other,” said King.
“We’re also good friends off court, so it’s always nice just to come and
play some good squash, where whoever plays the best squash on the day
“I normally play quite a high-intensity style of play and I think you
could see today that I was quite tense in my movement. One of the things
that [Coach] Hadrian [Stiff] has been working on a lot is to make me
more relaxed but still stay aggressive.”
French World No.3 Camille Serme will stand between King and a maiden
World Championship semi-final appearance after she eased past United
States No.1 Olivia Blatchford, winning 11-4, 11-3, 11-6 in 26 minutes.
El Welily’s 3-1 win over Lust - which leaves men’s World No.6 Nick
Matthew as the only English player left standing in the tournament -
means that she will take on Malaysia’s eight-time winner Nicol David in
the quarter-finals in what will be a repeat of the 2014 World
Championship final, where David recovered from four championship balls
down to win.
“I don’t think Nicol and I have played each other in a while," said El
"Nicol is a legend of squash and it will be an exciting match. It’s
never going to be easy but I hope it’s a match people will enjoy.”
men’s tournament saw round three draw to a close as defending champion
Karim Abdel Gawad kept his title defence on course, with the Egyptian
World No.4 recovering from a game down to defeat Indian No.1 Saurav
Ghosal 12-14, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7.
Gawad will take on World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy in the next round, with
ElShorbagy defeating Frenchman Lucas Serme - the younger brother of
Camille - to reach a maiden World Championship quarter-final.
“Today was a tough day and I had to fight until the end," said Gawad,
who beat compatriot Ramy Ashour in last year’s final.
"Even when I was 10-6 up in the fourth, I knew he could come back easily
with his awesome winners, so I knew I had to push until the end.
“Last year I had no pressure and I played my best squash for the whole
month and I won it last year. This year, I came here with a little bit
of pressure as I’m defending the title but I just try to play like it is
the first match of the tournament.”
former World No.4 Miguel Angel Rodriguez became the first South American
to reach the quarter-finals at this tournament two years ago and he
matched that finish after a surprise five-game victory over World No.7
“It’s been a tough season, probably the worst in my career, but this is
definitely my best tournament of the year," Rodriguez said.
“Two years ago I had my best season, so I’m trying just to enjoy my game
as I’ve achieved a lot of dreams already and I’m happy to represent my
country and represent South America.”
He will face World No.3 Ali Farag, who made it a four-strong Egyptian
contingent in the men’s quarter-final - matching the women’s event -
after the U.S. Open champion defeated Australia’s Cameron Pilley with a
devastating display to take it in three.
Quarter-final action begins tomorrow as play moves over to the all-glass
showcourt at Manchester Central Convention Complex and all of the action
will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player
(Europe only) from 14:30 local time (GMT).
World No.14 Tesni Evans claimed the biggest win of her career as she
sent England No.1 Laura Massaro crashing out of the 2017 Women’s AJ Bell
PSA World Championships on day three of the prestigious tournament
taking place in Manchester - becoming the first Welsh player since
former men’s World No.5 and current PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough in
2007 to reach the last eight of the World Championships.
The pair had met in the quarter-final stage of last month’s Hong Kong
Open, with Massaro - the 2013 World Champion - prevailing in four games.
But, inside Manchester’s National Squash Centre, it was Evans who got
the better of the World No.4 this time around, and she will face U.S.
Open champion Nour El Tayeb in the last eight, while Massaro has failed
to reach the quarter-finals of this tournament for the first time in
“I kept on wondering throughout the match if today would be my day – and
it was,” Evans said.
“My heart is racing fast. I felt like I had quite a lot of control in
the first two games and then towards the end of the third game I was
edgy to the max.
“I was just hoping she would give me a tin and that’s probably not the
best way to play Laura because she didn’t give me anything. I was really
working hard to get the point at the end but she kept coming back and
back at me and I’m just delighted to get the win.”
and El Tayeb will be joined in the quarter-finals by defending champion
Nour El Sherbini (left)and World No.5 Nouran Gohar, who beat Japan’s
Satomi Watanabe and England’s Alison Waters, respectively, to set up a
third consecutive World Championships meeting between each other.
“I was moving well and towards the end of the game I found my range,”
said El Sherbini.
“I’m pleased with the performance because she’s a very talented player
and has beaten a lot of good players."
men’s tournament saw World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy avenge his 2012 and
2014 World Championship final defeats to three-time winner Ramy Ashour,
beating his fellow Egyptan 14-12, 11-7, 11-4.
It was the latest chapter in the pair’s enthralling rivalry - with
Ashour winning seven of their previous nine meetings coming into the
match - but ElShorbagy, who has won five of his last six PSA World Tour
events, pulled away after a pulsating first game to claim a 17th
successive victory on the Tour.
“The level we played at in the first game, I haven’t played that level
in a very long time,” said ElShorbagy.
“The quality of the game was unbelievable and to be able to get the win
today, I’m just really happy. It gives me a lot of confidence for the
rest of the tournament.
“I feel really blessed to be part of a squash match that the whole world
was waiting for, as not many athletes when they retire can say something
ElShorbagy will face yet another long-term rival in England’s three-time
World Champion Nick Matthew, who reached an 11th successive World
Championship quarter-final after beating Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi
- despite the match suffering a 90-minute delay towards the end of the
fixture after a lunge from Matthew saw the 37-year-old dislodge a
floorboard on the court.
was two games up and 8-6 ahead in the third when the incident happened
and, when it was fixed, he made no mistake in closing out the match,
taking it 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 to set up a 23rd PSA World Tour meeting
between himself and ElShorbagy.
"It’s not easy to stay warm [during the delay], it’s an awkward length
of time and it’s difficult mentally as well," said Matthew, who is
playing his last World Championships after announcing his decision to
retire at the end of the season.
"You’re feeling the burn in the legs because they’ve got cold and there
were a couple of mis-hits and a few nerves because it was a really
crucial point of the match. It wasn’t easy, but it’s the same for both
players and you have to adapt."
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and World No.8 Paul Coll will meet for a
second tournament in a row in the other confirmed men’s quarter-final
courtesy of respective wins over English duo Declan James and Daryl
Round three action from the men’s tournament and fixtures from round two
of the women’s tournament continues tomorrow, with all matches broadcast
live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy and three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour
will meet in a spectacular third round showdown at the 2017 Men’s AJ
Bell PSA World Championship tomorrow (December 12) in a repeat of both
the 2012 and 2014 World Championship finals.
ElShorbagy and Ashour have had an enthralling rivalry on the PSA World
Tour ever since their first meeting back in 2009 and they will meet for
the 10th time after they claimed respective wins over Welshman Joel
Makin and 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad at Manchester’s
National Squash Centre.
Ashour has won seven of their meetings - including wins in both of their
World Championship final clashes - but, with ElShorbagy in red-hot form
having won five of his last six PSA World Tour events, the eyes of the
squash world will be on their climactic meeting tomorrow.
“It was a tough match as he [Makin] fought hard,” said ElShorbagy after
his 15-13, 11-5, 12-10 victory.
“It’s a long tournament and you’re not going to feel at your best every
single day, but its more important that for those difficult days you
find a way to win and that’s what I did.
“Matches like this sharpen you up and it was important for me to get a
hard match before I play a big match against Ramy. We [him and Ramy] are
both athletes and we both want to win.”
Meanwhile, Ashour triumphed 11-5, 11-6, 11-6 to dispose of former World
No.3 Mosaad in straight games.
“It’s not good to play people who are your friends on tour and that you
are close to,” said Ashour.
“As Egyptians we are close and we train together so there is a matter of
respect and decency on court because we are together all the time. I
thought he played well and I thought I played well so it was a good
Three-time World Champion Nick Matthew was also victorious on day two
courtesy of a 3-1 win over Hong Kong’s Max Lee and his reward is a third
round meeting with World No.37 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, who will become
the first Qatari ever to appear in the third round of the World
Championships after his win over Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet.
Matthew will be joined by compatriots Daryl Selby and Declan James, with
Selby beating New Zealand’s Campbell Grayson and James coming back from
two games down and match ball down to beat Mexico’s Cesar Salazar,
reaching the third round of this tournament for the first time in his
He will face World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, while defending champion Karim
Abdel Gawad, World No.3 Ali Farag, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, Marwan
ElShorbagy, Lucas Serme and Saurav Ghosal all claimed victories.
2013 World Champion Laura Massaro prevailed on the opening day of main
draw action in the women’s event after a 3-0 win over Nele Gilis saw her
progress to round two, where she will take on Welshwoman Tesni Evans in
a repeat of last month’s Hong Kong Open quarter-final.
“It just felt really good to get my World Championships underway,” said
“With all the build-up and with it being in Manchester, I’ve been asked
a lot of questions about the event, not only for the last few weeks but
the last few months, so it was great to get it going.
“I’ve got to be careful it doesn’t feel too homely, like I’m just
rocking up for a practice match, so it was nice to have some home
support and I’m sure it’ll be the same again tomorrow.”
Defending champion Nour El Sherbini was also in action and she
dispatched Australia’s Donna Urquhart in straight games as she
kickstarted her attempts to lift a third World Championship title.
“We just played in Hong Kong second round,” said El Sherbini following
“I’m just trying to focus on my game and my squash more and not put any
pressure on myself and try to enjoy the game. I’m going to do my best
and whatever happens it’s not the end of the world.”
April’s World Championship runner-up Raneem El Welily defeated Rowan
Elaraby, while the likes of World No.3 Camille Serme, World No.5 Nouran
Gohar and eight-time World Champion Nicol David also won.
World Champion Nick Matthew led four of his fellow Englishmen through to
the second round of the 2017 Men’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship as the
sport’s most prestigious tournament got under way today (December 10) in
Manchester’s National Squash Centre.
Matthew, the 37-year-old from Sheffield, overcame a fierce challenge
from compatriot George Parker as he fought back from 2-1 down to avoid a
shock exit at his last ever World Championships.
2017/18 will be Matthew’s final season on the PSA World Tour after he
announced his decision to retire at the end of the season and the man
known as ‘The Wolf’ lives to fight another day at the tournament after
coming back to take an 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6 victory in 60
“I’m relieved, you don’t want to take away from your opponent’s
performance but mentally I wasn’t at the races at all,” said Matthew,
who will face Hong Kong’s Max Lee in round two.
“After the first game I just sort of switched off and I thought it was
going to be easier than what it was. I should know better than that and
hopefully it will get me into the tournament now.
“I had to dig in and I guess that’s why I’ve been successful in the
past, as you are able to win those sorts of matches. I felt like I was
hitting the ball pretty well, I was moving pretty well, it’s all there
but mentally I need to apply myself a lot better and remember how hard I
have to work tomorrow.”
will be joined in the next round by compatriots Daryl Selby, Declan
James, Chris Simpson and Ben Coleman, while his long-term rival and
former World No.1 James Willstrop (left) bowed out on day one after
retiring from his match with former training partner Saurav Ghosal due
“It’s really sad that James, who is such a great player and has achieved
so much, has fallen sick in his home World Championship and he’s not
well,” said Ghosal.
“Considering the way the season has gone, I think it would have been a
really good match for the spectators to watch and for both of us to
play. Both of us know each other really well and it’s a travesty that
that has happened today."
No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy kickstarted his attempts to win a first ever
World Championship title after the Bristol-based Egyptian saw off
compatriot Mazen Hesham.
ElShorbagy, a runner-up at this tournament in 2012 and 2014, has reached
six consecutive PSA World Tour finals and his superb spell showed no
signs of slowing down against Hesham as he claimed an 11-6, 11-8, 11-6
victory in 36 minutes to set up a second round meeting with Joel Makin.
“I’m really happy, it was such a tough first round for both of us,”
"He definitely doesn’t deserve to be out in the first round. He’s such a
great player and I had to prepare so well for it. Normally at the start
of a tournament you’re not sharp, but I couldn’t do that today.
"We played some good squash, it was very high quality and I’m happy to
be through in three.”
were also wins for World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, defending champion Karim
Abdel Gawad and World No.3 Ali Farag, who beat Todd Harrity, Nicolas
Mueller and Adrian Waller, respectively. Three-time World Champion Ramy
Ashour was also in action as he dispatched tournament wildcard Joshua
"Last year I won the tournament and I wasn’t really expecting to win,”
“I just wanted a good result and I won the tournament. This year, I came
here with a lot of pressure trying to defend my title. I’m just trying
to forget about the pressure a little bit and focus match by match and
take baby steps and hopefully I can reach the final and defend my
Qatar’s World No.37 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi was also in impressive form
to see off World No.9 Simon Rösner
Meanwhile, the qualifying stages of the Women’s World Championship came
to an end today, with Yathreb Adel claiming the day’s biggest win over
top qualifying seed Hania El Hammamy in five games to set up a main draw
clash with Alison Waters.
40-year-old Rachael Grinham was also victorious to move through to her
22nd World Championship main draw, where she will meet Hong Kong’s Annie
Au. Belgium’s Nele Gilis and Canada’s Hollie Naughton were also winners
courtesy of triumphs against Nada Abbas and Amanda Landers-Murphy.
Gilis will play 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro, while New Zealand’s
World No.9 Joelle King awaits Naughton.
England’s Fallows and Parker Advance to Main Draw of Men’s AJ Bell PSA
World Championships as Qualifying Concludes
duo Richie Fallows and George Parker will appear in the main draw of the
Men’s AJ Bell PSA World Championships for the first time after they
defeated Evan Williams and Rex Hedrick, respectively, to qualify for the
main draw of the sport’s biggest tournament as qualifying came to an end
at Manchester’s National Squash Centre.
Fallows, the World No.50 from London, overcame New Zealand’s World No.92
Williams by an 11-8, 11-13, 11-6, 12-10 scoreline to ensure that he will
take on fellow Englishman Declan James in round one of the main draw.
Parker will also be involved in an all-English first round fixture -
against three-time World Champion Nick Matthew, who is making his last
ever appearance at the iconic tournament - after an 11-4, 7-11, 11-9,
12-10 victory saw him upset Australia’s number three qualifying seed
Elsewhere, Frenchman Baptiste Masotti earned his place in the main draw
of this tournament for the first time after he followed up an impressive
first qualifying round win over top qualifying seed Mazen Gamal with a
3-0 victory over England’s Adam Murrills.
His reward is a meeting with Egypt’s Karim Ali Fathi in the main draw,
while he will be joined by compatriot Auguste Dussourd, whose 3-1 win
over Lyell Fuller will see him pitted against Scotland’s Alan Clyne in
Egypt’s World No.58 Youssef Soliman disposed of Denmark’s Kristian Frost
to set up a first round clash with fellow Egyptian Mohamed Reda, with
Karim El Hammamy also progressing to ensure that there will be 15
Egyptians involved in the men’s main draw.
Meanwhile, qualification for the women’s tournament - which features
equal prize money for the first time and will be held alongside the
men’s tournament for only the second time in history - began today
(December 9) with all five English players falling at the first hurdle.
Japanese World No.67 Satomi Watanabe caused the day’s biggest shock
after she felled Canada’s World No.24 Samantha Cornett and she will meet
compatriot Misaki Kobayashi for a place in the main draw.
French World No.30 Coline Aumard also fell at the first hurdle after a
surprise defeat to Scotland’s World No.60 Lisa Aitken.
There were also wins for the likes of Hania El Hammamy, Mayar Hany and
Nele Gilis, all of whom will take on Egyptian opposition in the final
round of qualifying.
The AJ Bell PSA World Championships is the biggest tournament in squash
and will see the men’s and women’s tournaments played side by side for
the first time since 2011, while equal prize money will be on offer for
the first time in history.
World No.12 Diego Elias has pulled out of the upcoming AJ Bell PSA World
Championships in Manchester due to a hamstring tear.
The 21-year-old from Lima has been in fine form so far this season,
claiming semi-final spots at the Oracle NetSuite Open and Channel VAS
Championships in recent months, but he will miss out on a third
appearance at the sport’s biggest tournament.
His withdrawal has resulted in a reshuffle to the men’s draw, with
Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan now facing a qualifier, while
England’s World No.47 Nathan Lake – who came within a whisker of beating
eventual champion Karim Abdel Gawad in round one of last year’s
tournament – comes into the main draw and he will take on compatriot
2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championship – Revised Men's First Round Draw
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Ivan Yuen (MAS)
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Declan James (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Cesar Salazar (MEX)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v [Qualifier]
Greg Lobban (SCO) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Paul Coll (NZL)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [WC] Joshua Masters (ENG)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Joel Makin (WAL) v [Qualifier]
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Leo Au (HKG)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Nathan Lake (ENG) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Borja Golan (ESP)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v [Qualifier]
Alan Clyne (SCO) v [Qualifier]
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
The 2017 Men’s and Women’s AJ Bell PSA World Championships will get
underway at the National Squash Centre, Manchester between December 8-13
before the tournament moves to Manchester Central between December 14-17
for the quarter-final stages onwards.
Gregory Gaultier, the 2015 title winner, and two-time champion Nour El
Sherbini of Egypt have been named as the respective number one seeds for
the 2017 AJ Bell PSA World Championships, which take place in
Manchester, England from December 8-17.
The pinnacle event in the squash calendar, the World Championships bring
together almost 200 of the world's top players, representing upwards of
30 nations, to contest the sought after title which, for the first time
in history, will see the men and women compete for an equal prize purse
- with the winners set to take home a record total in excess of $45,000
Sherbini, who in 2015 became the youngest World Championship winner ever
at the age of 20, will be hoping to complete a hat trick of triumphs and
sits atop the draw ahead of compatriot Raneem El Welily, whom she
defeated in the 2016 title decider.
France's Camille Serme, England's Laura Massaro - the 2013 winner -
Nouran Gohar, eight-time winner Nicol David of Malaysia, Sarah-Jane
Perry of England and recent U.S Open winner Nour El Tayeb complete the
top eight seedings in the women's draw - while American Amanda Sobhy
misses the event after failing to recover from a torn achilles tendon
earlier this year.
2011 finalist Jenny Duncalf is the tournament wildcard while her partner
- and 2007 title winner - Rachael Grinham will become the oldest woman
ever to compete in the event at the age of 40.
In the men's draw, World No.1 Gaultier occupies the number one seeding
ahead of defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad - the Egyptian who claimed
the title in surprise on home soil in Cairo last year, beating
compatriot and three-time winner Ramy Ashour in the finale.
Two-time runner-up Mohamed ElShorbagy - who lost both the 2012 and 2014
titles to Ashour - takes the number three seeding ahead of recent U.S.
Open champion Ali Farag.
England's Nick Matthew, who at 37 will be competing in his final World
Championships, takes the number five seeding and will be hoping for a
repeat of the success he had in 2013 when he claimed his third World
title inside Manchester Central, defeating Gaultier in the decider.
Gaultier and Matthew are the only non-Egyptian players inside the top
eight seedings in the men's draw as Gawad, ElShorbagy and Farag are
joined by Marwan ElShorbagy - younger brother of Mohamed - Tarek Momen -
the recent Qatar Classic runner-up - and Fares Dessouky.
Huge demand for tickets for the AJ Bell PSA World Championships has
already seen several days of the event sell out in what promises to be a
spectacular showcase for squash in Manchester.
Three days are already sell-outs with the action scheduled to take place
from 8th – 13 December at the National Squash Centre in Sport City,
before moving to Manchester Central for the quarter-finals, semi-finals
and finals from 14th – 17th December.
Tickets for the final on 17th December at Manchester Central and earlier
rounds on Tuesday 12th & Wednesday 13th December at the National Squash
Centre have completely sold out and few tickets remain for the
semifinals on Saturday 16th December.
With quarter-final matches on Thursday 14th potentially featuring men’s
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier, women’s defending champion Nour El Sherbini
and home favourites Laura Massaro and Nick Matthew, in what will be his
last World Championships following his retirement announcement,
remaining tickets are bound to sell fast.
The second day of quarter-finals action on Friday 15th will also be a
feast of riches for squash fans with potential match ups between
defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad and Marwan ElShorbagy and
eight-time champion Nicol David and World No.2 Raneem El Welily.
AJ Bell PSA World Championships Event Director Paul Walters commented:
“We are delighted with the demand for tickets for what promises to be a
fantastic ten days of live sport in Manchester. British squash fans are
clearly excited with the prospect of seeing the world’s best in action
up close and people who may have never watched squash live before will
get to witness the speed and exhilaration of the sport at first hand.”
Manchester has previously hosted the World Championships in 2008 and
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Schools, Culture and
Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “This strong response to our
hosting of the Squash World Championships comes as no surprise and I’m
sure that the chance to watch world-class squash will inspire more
Mancunians to try out the sport for themselves, at our state-of-the-art
National Squash Centre.”
With only two weeks to go, until matches kick off the advice is get your
tickets now before it’s too late!
The inaugural Men’s World Championship began in 1976 in London – with
the whole tournament being played at the old Wembley Stadium, home of
the English football team.
Whilst the Women’s Tour also first began that year in 1976, when the
iconic Heather McKay lifted the first of her two titles, beating Marion
Jackman on home soil in Brisbane, Australia.
Fellow Australians Rhonda Thorne and Sarah Cardwell followed in McKay’s
footsteps before the legendary Susan Devoy became the first
non-Australian player to get her hands on the coveted trophy in 1985, at
which point the tournament was a biennial event.
Since then, the Men’s and Women’s tournaments have been staged in all
four corners of the globe, with the competition being held in countries
such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Hong Kong and
Germany to name a few.
Australian legend Geoff Hunt took the first Men’s World Championship
title after he beat Pakistan’s Mohibullah Khan in the final and he held
onto it for a further three years after defeating Qamar Zaman on all
three occasions, once in Canada and twice in his native country.
The next 16 years saw the Men’s World Championship dominated by players
from Pakistan and, more specifically Jahangir and Jansher Khan, who
between them won all but two World Championship titles between 1981 and
The two Khan’s are the most decorated players to have graced the Men’s
World Championship with Jansher having eight to his name, whilst
Jahangir captured the title six times – and the pair are considered to
be two of the greatest players ever to play the sport.
A host of the biggest names in squash have also lifted the illustrious
title, with Amr Shabana (4), Ramy Ashour (3), Nick Matthew (3) and David
Palmer (2) all having their name engraved on the famous trophy.
Martine Le Moignan was the first Englishwoman to capture the title,
before Devoy took the next two titles in 1990 and 1992, with the
tournament switching to an annual format from that point onwards.
Australia dominated the women’s event over the next decade, with
Michelle Martin’s triumph in 1993 bringing about a period that saw the
title shared between her (three wins), Sarah Fitz-Gerald (5) and Carol
Owens (1) in nine of the 10 tournaments held between 1993-2002.
England’s Cassie Campion was the only player to put a dent in the
Australian dominance of the 90s, with her 1999 triumph over Martin
seeing her become the first female English World Champion in 10 years.
Over the next few years, the legendary Malaysian Nicol David made her
mark on the tournament, claiming her maiden World Championship title in
Hong Kong in 2005 courtesy of a win over Australian Rachael Grinham,
before retaining her title the following year with a win over Grinham’s
younger sister, Natalie.
The Grinham sisters met in the final in 2007, with Rachael being the
victor, but David responded with an incredible five wins on the bounce
in an unprecedented spell of dominance.
That run eventually came to an end in the 2013 edition, which saw
England’s Laura Massaro claim her first World title in Penang, beating
then 18-year-old Nour El Sherbini in the showpiece finale.
But El Sherbini soon got her hands on the sport’s biggest prize when she
battled back from two games down to become the youngest ever Women’s
World Champion at the age of 20 – eclipsing the record set by Devoy 31
The 2017 Men’s and Women’s AJ Bell PSA
World Championships will get underway at the National Squash Centre,
Manchester between December 8-13 before the tournament moves to
Manchester Central between December 14-17 for the quarter-final stages