24-year-old World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy reinforced his position at
the top of the squash ladder with an
impressive performance in the final of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions to see off England's Nick
Matthew 3-1 and claim his fourth major PSA World Series title.
Under the chandeliers in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall
the duo, who have developed a testy-rivalry on the tour in the last
two years, produced a thrilling spectacle in front of a sold-out
crowd with Elshorbagy eventually out-powering the man ten years his
"I told Nick at the end of the match that he is an inspirational
player," said Elshorbagy.
"He's the king when it comes to playing tough matches because he
seems to come back fresh every day but I'm really pleased with how I
played and to get my first title here.
"I wanted to win so badly and I'm proud to see my name join the
illustrious list of previous Tournament of
Matthew started the match in the ascendency and used his wealth of
court-craft to take the opening game but
Elshorbagy's ferocious pace and power saw him claw his way back into
the match and turn the tide, to establish
a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth game Matthew looked en route to levelling the scores
once again but saw the opportunity slip from
his hands after an unforced error when 9-7 ahead, followed by an
unlucky bounce at 9-8, saw Elshorbagy rally and from then on the
Bristol-based-Egyptian refused to give in.
Despite saving one match ball Matthew couldn't find enough in his
locker to hold on as Elshorbagy romped home to complete a memorable
night for Egyptian squash in the Big Apple, with Raneem El Welily
also taking the women's title with victory over Alison Waters.
"This has been a very tough week for me mentally," added .
"When I saw Raneem win in the women's final it really inspired me
because we both recently lost in World
Championship finals even though we both had match balls.
"She showed me that you can rebound and I'm really proud of how I
played and that I proved I can come back stronger than before."
34-year-old Matthew said: "I really enjoyed the match tonight. You
get to a stage in your career when you just have to enjoy the
experience because you might not have many more of them."
The Court At Grand Central Click on Images for Larger
Tom Richards 11-6, 11-5, 11-3
[43m] Gregory Gaultier
Max Lee (HKG) 11-1, 11-7, 11-2
Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
RESULTS: PSA World Series JP Morgan Tournament of Champions,
New York, USA
Final Qualifying Round Ong Beng Hee (MAS) def. Mohamed Reda (EGY) 11-5, 12-10, 11-9 54 mins
Alan Clyne (SCO) def Lucas Serme (FRA) 3-11, 11-3,11-7, 11-4 57 mins
Cesar Salazar (MEX) def. Zac Alexander (AUS) 4-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10
58 mins Joe Lee (ENG) def. Martin Knight (NZL) 11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5 67
mins Mohd Abouelghar (EGY) def. Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 11-5, 7-11, 11-7,
11-6 41 mins Campbell Grayson (NZL) def. Alfredo Avila (MEX) 10-12, 11-7, 11-5,
11-6 62 mins Tom Richards (ENG) def. Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 11-6, 11-6, 11-9 48
mins Diego Elias (PER) def. Mazen Hesham (EGY) 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 37 mins
Qualifying Round 1: Ong Beng Hee (MAS) def. Chris Hanson (USA) 11-8, 11-6, 10-12
53 mins Mohamed Reda (EGY) def. Shawn Delierre (CAN) 14-16, 11-6,
11-8, 11-9 74 mins Lucas Serme (FRA) def. Chris Gordon (USA) 7-11, 15-13, 11-6,
11-1 69 mins Alan Clyne (SCO) def. Faraz Khan (USA) 11-9, 11-8, 11-6 29
mins Zac Alexander (AUS) def. Leo Au (HKG) 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-7,
11-5 74 mins Cesar Salazar (MEX)def. Ahmed Kalek (EGY ) 7-11,11-6, 11-3,
11-6 48 mins. Martin Knight (NZL) def. Mike Lewis (USA) 11-4, 11-7, 11-4 31
Minshd Abouelghar (EGY) def. Bradley Ball (ENG) w/o Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) def. Shahier Razik (CAN) 11-8, 9-11,
11-4, 11-9 64 mins Campbell Grayson (NZL) def. Raphael Kandra 11-9, 11-5, 8-11,
11-7 55 mins Alfredo Avila (MEX) def. Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 11-2, ret. 3
min Tom Richards (ENG) def. Eddie Charlton (ENG) 9-11,11-8,11-5
11-3 54 mins. Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) def. Samuel Kang (SGP) 11-2, 11-9,
11-6 23 mins. Diego Elias (PER) def. Greg Lobhan (SCO) 10-12,
11-8,3-11,13-11,11-2 90 mins Mazen Hesham (EGY) def. Muhd Asyraf Azan (MAS) 11-4,11-0,
11-8 24 mins.
World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy ended all hopes of Amr Shabana
retaining his J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title with an
impressive 3-2 victory over the 35-year-old in what was one of the
most impressive matches ever seen at Grand Central Terminal in the
competition's eighteen-year association with the iconic venue.
Shabana was in sublime form throughout the contest, finding his
range from the opening exchanges and pulling out all of his
trademark winners to dazzle the capacity audience and give
Elshorbagy, 11 years Shabana's junior, all sorts of trouble but the
younger man showed just why he is number one with a defying display
of retrieving as he dug deep to complete a remarkable victory.
"When you play against Amr you have to accept that he will make you
look like an idiot on court at times and I accepted that today,"
"You can never look good when you play him because he is the most
talented player on tour. To beat him I just had to hit and run and
keep going and giving everything to get the ball back and it worked.
"He was very tired in the end, and I was too, but I'm glad I was
able to push through in the end because I'm in my first ever final
here and I'm looking forward to playing in front of this great crowd
here in Grand Central Terminal once again."
Elshorbagy twice went behind to the four-time World Champion but
used all of his pace and six-foot-plus reach to keep himself in some
of the most punishing rallies seen so far during the tournament and
it paid dividends for him when, after levelling the game at 2-2, he
took the sting from Shabana's relentless attacking play and managed
to find just enough in his locker to book his place in the final to
face England's Nick Matthew.
Matthew ensured he remains in contention to claim a second title in
New York, to add to his 2012 ToC triumph, with a dominant 3-0 win
over high-flying Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez - who had beaten
World No.6 Peter Barker and World No.2 Gregory Gaultier to reach the
"It was good fun out there tonight against Miguel," said Matthew.
"Sometimes it felt like there were four of him on the court he's so
"But thankfully I was able to use my experience, one of the only
things I have more of than him, and it paid off for me."
Click on Images for Larger
Elshorbagy (above) wiil Meet Matthew (below) in the Final
Motors Past Gaultier In Manhattan
Colombia's Miguel Angel Rodriguez pulled off the biggest victory of
his career, reinforcing his credentials as a genuine top-ten player,
with a dramatic and thrilling 3-2 victory over 2014 runner-up
Gregory Gaultier in the quarter-finals of the 2015 J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions in New York today.
After beating World No.6 Peter Barker in a gruelling 120-minute
encounter in the second round to book his place in the last eight of
a PSA World Series for the first time ever, Rodriguez continued his
coming of age, producing a suburb all-round display to take out the
World No.2 in 88 exhilarating minutes.
The 29-year-old had failed to take even a game off Gaultier from
five previous occasions but after breaking into the top ten for the
first time this month, to occupy the World No.8 ranking, he produced
the most composed performance of his career to take out the
four-time World Championship runner-up in emotional scenes.
"I'm really happy to be in the semi-finals and I'm going to enjoy
it," said Rodriguez.
"I was ready to play against Greg tonight and the strategy that I
prepared with my coach David (Palmer) paid off. I knew if I was
going to play long rallies against Greg I wasn't going to win so I
tried to volley more and use the boast and I'm very happy with the
way I played.
"For me Greg is the toughest player on tour as he's very strong and
it is so difficult to win rallies against him. I was very patient,
but more offensive than I was against Peter and I felt like it all
Traditionally a crowd favourite at the iconic Grand Central
Terminal, Gaultier found himself in reversed roles as the crowd got
behind the flamboyant man from Bogota, and he delighted the packed
auditorium with an acrobatic display that mixed unbelievable
retrievals with audacious shot-making from start to finish.
After seeing three game-ball opportunities disappear from his hands
as he went one-game down to the Frenchman, Rodriguez would have been
forgiving for doubting himself, but he showed true character to
rebound and level the scores before going on to cause Gaultier
difficulties in all four corners of the courts.
In the decisive fifth-game Rodriguez found himself 9-5 down but
steeled for a spirited last hurrah and it paid off, as he won six
consecutive points to take the match at the first opportunity and
set up a semi-final match against World No.4 Nick Matthew.
"I have played Nick a few times before on tour but I have time to
recover and rest so I'll be ready for tomorrow," he said.
"When I lost that first game, I knew it would be tough to come back
because mentally that is so hard but I felt good when I got that
“Then I was playing very good at the start of the fifth and I played
some nice drop shots and I could feel he was getting tired and at
9-6 I told myself that I was capable of winning and I so pleased to
Click on Images for Larger
Miguel Angel Rodriguez pulled off the biggest victory of his
career with victory over Gregory Gaultier
Nick Matthew will meet
Rodriguez in Semi Finals
Defending champion Amr Shabana kept alive his hopes of winning
back-to-back J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions titles with a gutsy
3-1 win over compatriot Tarek Momen, the World No.7, in an 85-minute
match-up in Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal.
The 34-year-old, who became the oldest ever PSA World Series winner
with his 2014 triumph, withstood a ferocious challenge from
27-year-old Momen, currently enjoying his highest ever ranking on
the PSA World Tour, as he dug deep and used his wealth of ability
and experience to squeeze over the line in a nail-biting encounter.
"All credit to Tarek because I spent every single bit of energy I
had to beat him today," said Shabana.
"It took all the experience that I hve to beat him and I think the
next time we play he's going to get me."
Shabana opened up the match with an array of spectacular winners,
taking the opening game in the process, but saw his advantage
eradicated after a gallant effort from Momen saw him bounce back
from squandering numerous game-balls to eventually take the second
The duo continued to trade points in compelling fashion throughout
the next two games but it was four-time World Champion Shabana that
emerged victorious as the match ended in bizarre circumstances, with
both players seemingly disappointed following the referee's decision
to award a stroke that handed the match to the elder man.
"The last point could have been a let, but it's a win and I'll take
it," added Shabana.
"I've known Tarek since he was a young junior and he's always been a
very hard worker. He's always improving his game and he has a very
good future ahead of him but I was able to stop him today and I'm
happy to be through."
That victory will see Shabana take on another Egyptian, current
World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, for a place in the final when the
semi-finals get underway on Thursday January 22.
Elshorbagy booked his place in the last four with a dominant 3-0 win
over World No.12 Borja Golan.
Click on Images for Larger
The victory For Amr Shabana
(Above) will see him take on another Egyptian, current World
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy (Below)
29-year-old Colombian World No.8 Miguel Angel Rodriguez became the
first ever South American squash player to reach the quarter-finals
of a PSA World Series event after beating England's Peter Barker in
a 120-minute epic at the J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions.
Two of the fittest and most fluid movers on tour, the duo served up
a titanic battle of attrition that was packed with lung-bursting
rallies as they tried to break each other down but it was Rodriguez,
the highest ranked South American player of all time, who managed to
edge it, taking the match 11-6, 8-11, 11-13, 11-9, 11-7 and record
his first ever win over the World No.6.
"This is one of the best wins of my career so far because it is the
first time I have beaten him and also the first time I've made it to
the quarter-finals at one of the major events," said Rodriguez.
"I prepared very hard for the match and I'm delighted to win. I
think I played very well - it was not an easy match because he is a
very tough player."
After taking the opening game, which in itself lasted 26-minutes,
Rodriguez found himself 2-1 down after Barker closed out a gritty
tie-breaker in the third and the Englishman appeared to have the
ascendency as he moved 9-7 ahead in the fourth game and within two
points of the match.
But two consecutive errors gave the Colombian an opportunity and he
pounced to keep the match alive and in the deciding game he
continued to set a relentless physical pace that 31-year-old Barker
couldn't live with.
"I worked very hard on the physical side of the game last year and I
played a lot of events as well so had a good rhythm and it has all
payed off for me," sad Rodriguez.
"I've started the year in the top ten and at my highest ever ranking
and I'm into the quarter-finals for the first time so i already feel
like this is definitely going to be my best year."
In a mammoth day of action in Manhattan there were also wins for
German World No.10 Simon Rösner, French World No.2 Gregory Gaultier
and England's World No.4 Nick Matthew, with Gaultier claiming the
quickest win of the day with his 43-minute, 3-0 triumph over
qualifier Tom Richards.
Click on Images for Larger
Rodriguez became the first ever South American squash player to
reach the quarter-finals
The quarter-finals of the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
will be full of Egyptian flavour after Mohamed Elshorbagy, Amr
Shabana and Tarek Momen, the World No.1, No.3 and No.7 respectively,
came through their second round encounters in New York's Grand
Central Terminal today.
World No.1 Elshorbagy, the 24-year-old Egyptian based out of
Bristol, England, became the first man through to the last eight
after edging his way through a challenging encounter with Swiss
national champion Nicolas Mueller.
In a thrilling 62-minute encounter Elshorbagy had to be at the very
top of his game to overcome an inspired Mueller, who produced one of
his best ever performances on the PSA World Tour in the 11-3, 5-11,
15-13, 11-6 defeat.
With the scores tied at one-game-all a crucial tie-break in the
third game ultimately determined the outcome as both men refused to
give an inch in what was a brutal display of world class athleticism
and shot-making. Despite having several game-ball opportunities,
Mueller couldn't convert to establish a lead in the match and
Elshorbagy made the most of the reprieve to storm home.
"In that third game I told myself not to give up because I knew
whoever won that game would break the other player," said Elshorbagy.
"When I got the game ball opportunity I didn't want to let it go. I
wanted to make sure that I didn't waste it because Nicolas played a
great match and it was a very tough battle against him."
Defending champion Shabana, who became the oldest ever winner of a
PSA World Series event when he won here aged 34 in 2014, kept alive
his hopes of retaining the title with a 3-1 win over Australian
Cameron Pilley while Momen got the better of Indian Saurav Ghosal,
winning 3-1 in a mixed performance.
Momen was in masterful form as he stormed out of the blocks and
found himself one-game up after just six minutes of action,
extending his lead to 2-0 with little opposition, but a series of
errors allowed Ghosal back into the match before he regained his
composure to move into the last eight.
"I tried to stick to a more conservative game plan against Saurav
than I normally would do," said Momen.
"He's such a fast player and we have very similar styles so mentally
he is a tough opponent for me and he made it very hard for me today
so I'm just really pleased that I managed to stick to my plan and
Mohamed Elshorbagy, Amr Shabana and Tarek Momen, the World
No.1, No.3 and No.7 respectively, came through their second
Gaultier And Matthew Secure Second Round Spots In
English three-time World Champion Nick Matthew and French World No.2
Gregory Gaultier, the man Matthew beat to claim two of his world
crowns, moved one step closer to a potential semi-final showdown at
the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions after coming through
their first round match-ups in Manhattan today.
In the opening PSA World Series event of 2015, taking place at the
iconic Grand Central Terminal, the duo prevailed in strikingly
different styles with Gaultier effortless against Hong Kong's Max
Lee while Matthew was given a stern test by compatriot Daryl Selby.
After opening proceedings with a gut-busting rally that set the
scene for what was to follow, the English pair served up a 70-minute
battle of attrition that saw them trade blows with spectacular
retrievals interspersed with pinpoint accurate winning shots but it
was Sheffield-man Matthew who withstood an early Selby onslaught to
complete a hard-earned 3-1 victory.
"That was a very tough match against Daryl today," said 34-year-old
"When he moves well he is a top ten player without any doubt. He's
had a few problems with his body over the past year but he's been
moving well again recently so I knew it was going to be a tough one.
"In the first game it took me a little while to find my range. He
came out with an aggressive plan, making it tough to break him down,
and that game was crucial.
"If he'd snuck it then it would have been a very tough ask as he
always seems to counter me well so I was pleased to get off in four
at the end and I'll rest up tomorrow ready to return on Monday."
2014 Tournament of Champions runner-up Gaultier took 44-minutes to
get past Lee and never looked troubled against the World No.16.
"I maybe relaxed a little bit in the second game and let him get
into it but it was a good first round match for me as it was fast
paced and really got my body working," said Gaultier.
"I had a few weeks off over Christmas but I was feeling fluid today
so I'm happy with the win."
Earlier in the day German World No.10 Simon Rösner came through a
thrilling encounter with Stephen Coppinger, the South African World
No.18, to book his place in the second round.
Two of the most physically imposing players on the PSA World Tour,
the duo tested each other to the brink in an mammoth 87-minute
battle that saw them trading points in a continuous series of
brutal, energy-sapping rallies.
Coppinger took first blood with a 12-10 win in the opening game but
Rösner showed the battling spirit that has taken him into the top
ten for the first time in his career to bounce back and secure an
impressive 3-1 win, taking the match 10-12, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10.
"There were a lot of very tight decisions today and it was a tough
match for both of us," said Rösner.
"Stephen is a top quality player and we've had some very tough
battles in the past so I'm just really pleased to get through and
"I tried to play the match point by point and keep my focus all the
way through and I'm just happy to still be in the tournament."
There were also victories for Omar Mosaad, Mathieu Castagnet, Peter
Barker and Miguel Angel Rodriguez while qualifier Tom Richards
pulled off the biggest upset of the day to knock out Alister Walker
Defending Champion Shabana
Steams Through In Grand Central
2014 champion Amr Shabana began the defence of his J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions title in New York's stunning Grand Central
Terminal today (Jan 16) with an impressive 3-0 win over Finland's
Shabana was in sublime form as he dispatched his fellow 35-year-old
11-7, 11-4, 11-3 to move into the second round and set up an
encounter with Cameron Pilley after the powerful Australian pulled
off a 3-1 victory over Karim Abdel Gawad.
Shabana became the oldest ever winner of a PSA World Series event
when he clinched the 2014 title with victory over French World No.2
Gregory Gaultier and he'll be aiming to build on his own record in
2015 as he bids to win PSA World Tour title number 50.
"I'm feeling very good about the match today because you never
really know how you're going to get on until you actually get on
court," said Shabana.
"Olli is a fighter and he never gives you any points so I had to be
focused today and I'm very happy to get the win.
"I went on holiday with my family over the Christmas break before
getting back into training and I feel like it's starting to pay off.
At my age you can't really step up training or anything ahead of
events - it's all about putting in the effort and the hard work and
I've been working hard every day to get my mind sharp and be ready
"Squash is a very tough sport and it's not the kind of sport where
you can cruise along. You have to enjoy it and you have to be in
there 100 per cent especially against the players these days so I'm
just happy to be in the mix."
Earlier in the day World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy got off to a
winning start in 2015, opening his campaign with a 3-0 victory over
American wildcard Todd Harrity, in a repeat of their 2014 encounter,
ending all hopes of home success in the process.
Harrity was the only US representative in the main draw and despite
putting in a valiant performance against the Egyptian, in which he
forced Elshorbagy to work hard to earn every point, he couldn't find
enough in his locker to cause an upset and eventually fell to an
11-6, 11-7, 11-8 defeat.
Elshorbagy went 23-matches unbeaten in 2014, a run that saw him win
four consecutive tournaments including the US Open and Hong Kong
Open, before falling to Ramy Ashour during the final of the 2014
World Championships and he'll be keen to resume winning ways in the
'Big Apple' and will now face Swiss national champion Nicolas
Mueller in the second round.
“I’m very happy to be back in New York and Todd has definitely
improved since we played here last year,” said Elshorbagy.
“This is one of the best events we play on tour and the atmosphere
is always fantastic so I’m looking forward to being on court again
in a few days.”
Elsewhere there were wins for Chris Simpson, Tarek Momen and while Spaniard Borja Golan survived a huge scare against
qualifier Ong Beng Hee, coming from two-games down against the
Malaysian to win 3-2 and move into the second round, which gets
underway on Sunday.
Elias, Abouelghar and Salazar To Make Their Main Draw Debuts
A Peruvian player will grace the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
glass court for the first time when 18-year-old Diego Elias plays
Mathieu Castagnet of France on Saturday afternoon. “It is a dream
come , true,” said Elias after defeating Egyptian Mazen Hesham 11-8,
11-5, 11-8 in just 37 minutes to earn the trip to the squash
tournament’s main draw and the majestic venue in Grand Central
Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. After a scrappy victory in the prior
round where he had to fight off three match balls, Elias was pleased
to be in better form for his match with Hesham. “Last night’s match
was tough, but it helped me get over my stress. I knew I couldn’t
let him attack so I focused on playing the ball very tight to the
wall and deep,“ said the only teenager to be make it into in the
Mexico’s Cesar Salazar and Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar defeated two
Australians to also earn main draw debuts in the tournament
considered to be one of the three majors on the international squash
tour. Salazar eliminated Zac Alexander in four games and will take
on Englishman Chris Simpson in the first round. Abouelghar defeated
Ryan Cuskelly, also in in four games. Abouelghar and Cuskelly split
the first two games of the match which featured high quality,
classic squash. The third game, however, was more contentious as
both players started feeling the pressure. It was Abouelghar who
stepped up to meet the challenge, playing aggressive and attacking
squash and hitting decisive winners from the center of the court.
Abouelghar next plays countryman Omar Mosaad, world no. 9.
Veteran Ong Beng Hee earned a return trip to Grand Central by
defeating Egypt’s Mohamed Reda. Beng Hee’s ball placement gave him
the edge in a close three game contest between the two experienced
veterans. The Malaysian plays seventh seed Borja Golan of Spain.
Frenchman Luca Serme got off to a spectacular start against Alan
Clyne winning the first game 11-3. The Scotsman turned the tables in
the second game, winning it by the identical score. Clyne’s
relentless ball retrieval wore down the 22-year-old Serme who was
completely spent by the time Clyne wrapped up the match in the
fourth game. .Saurav Ghosal of India will be Clyne’s first round
opponent. New Zealand's Campbell Grayson played very patient, classic squash
– straight low balls to the back of the court followed by short
balls to the front corners – to defeat Mexico’s Alfredo Avila in
four games. Grayson will be taking on Nicolas Mueller of Switzerland
in his first round. Englishman Tom Richards’ experience carried the
day in his qualifying encounter with India’s Mahesh Mangaonkar.
Richards, who made it straight into the main draw at last year’s ToC,
was undaunted by this return to the qualifying rounds ”I I love
competing and I train to play match after match after match. So I
just have to make sure I get up for it mentally,” the pragmatic
28-year-old said. ”And I did feel confident that I should qualify.”
Richard’s first round opponent will be Alister Walker who represents
Botswana and now calls Greenwich, Connecticut home after growing up
England’s Joe Lee earned his ticket to Grand Central by defeating
New Zealand’s Martin Knight. Lee faces world no. 8 Miguel Rodriguez
Qualifying Round 1
Teen Elias Elicits Victory, Serme Soars And Beng Hee Bounces
New York, NY – Jan. 14, 2015. A mix of veterans and new faces
advanced in first round qualifying matches for the J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions, the world’s largest spectator squash
On his very first visit to New York City, Lucas Serme enjoyed a
day of sightseeing before earning a hard fought four-game
victory over American Chris Gordon. With the partisan crowd at
the Harvard Club cheering him on, Gordon snagged the first game
11-7. The second game was nip and tuck the whole way, as both
players pushed each other to the four corners of the court.
After Gordon couldn’t convert two game balls at 12-11 and 13-12,
Serme closed out the game at 15-13. “I think the difference in
the end was fitness,” said the 22-year-old Frenchman who closed
out the match 11-6, 11-1. Serme’s next opponent will be Scotsman
Alan Clyne who eliminated Faraz Khan in straight games.
In a 90-minute epic encounter, Peru’s 18-year-old Diego Elias,
the 2014 World Junior Champion, fought back three match balls in
the fourth game to defeat 22-year-old Greg Lobban of Scotland.
Elias’ next opponent will another ToC newcomer, 20-year-old
Mazen Hesham of Egypt, who attacked his way to victory as he
defeated Malaysia’s Muhd Asyraf Azan in straight games, in just
24 minutes. Playing error free squash punctuated by deceptive
holds, Hesham prevented his opponent from scoring a single point
in the second game, and kept Azan constantly guessing as to
where the ball might end up.
Veteran Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia, who won the 1998 World Junior
title, played what he called “jet lagged squash” to defeat
American Chris Hanson in four games. He will next take on
Mohamed Reda who dropped the first game 14-16 to Shawn Delierre
of Canada before winning the next three games in a
74-minute-contest. “The difference in the end was my shooting,
“said Reda, who recently moved to Philadelphia from Egypt with
his wife Engy and three month old son.
Englishmen Tom Richards and Joe Lee both advanced, with Richards
next slated to play ToC first-timer Mahesh Mangaonkar of India
while Lee takes on New Zealand’s Martin Knight. Cesar Salazar of
Mexico meets Aussie Zac Alexander; Egyptian Mohd Abouelghar
plays Aussie Ryan Cuskelly and Alfredo Avila of Mexico goes up
against Campbell Grayson of New Zealand.
35-year-old, four-time World Champion Amr Shabana says he is
relishing the prospect of returning to New York's iconic Grand
Central Terminal for the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions and the scene of his last major PSA World Series
The Egyptian, dubbed the 'Maestro' by his peers, put in an
impeccable performance in 2014 to get past current World No.4
Nick Matthew and World No.2 Gregory Gaultier en-route to the
title and he's hoping to find his rhythm again in 2015 as he
returns to one of his favourite venues.
"Starting the new year at the TOC is very exciting especially
because it is the first major of the year and I have had some
good memories there over the years there," said Shabana.
"Playing the TOC in Grand Central is a great experience. I am
always excited to step onto the court for this event because
there's always a huge number of people who are exposed to the
court, and a large gallery of fans, and you can feel the
anticipation and excitement in the crowd.
"Winning the TOC title in 2014 was very important for me. I had
been putting in a lot of time training leading up to that point,
with no real success, and that win was a reminder for me that
hard work does pay off."
Shabana goes into the 2015 edition ranked World No.3, his
highest ranking on the PSA World Tour since October 2010, but he
says he can't get too far ahead of himself in what is the first
major tournament of 2015.
"I've been working a lot on the body and mind over the recent
holidays and keeping healthy and injury free is my main
priority," he said.
"I'm not looking at retaining the title anymore than anybody
else in the draw who's looking to win it for the first time.
"You know it's going to be five tough rounds competing against
the best in the world if you are going to be in with a chance of
going all the way so you have to take each round as it comes and
give it everything."
Shabana begins his campaign against Finnish No.1 Olli Tuominen
on Friday January 16.
Tickets for the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions range
in price from $8 to $170 and may be purchased at
www.tocsquash.com. Patron packages are also available at
Ruled Out Of Tournament of Champions
Former World No.1 James Willstrop, the 31-year-old Englishman
who underwent surgery on a hip operation in September 2014, has
been ruled out of the upcoming 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions following a setback to his injury recovery.
The 2010 Tournament of Champions winner and two-time runner-up
had targeted a return to action at the 2015 staging of the
iconic event, which takes place in the unique backdrop of New
York's Grand Central Terminal, but hasn't been able to complete
his recovery in time.
Willstrop's withdrawal is however good news for Frenchman
Gregoire Marche, the 2014 French national champion, as it sees
him gain automatic entry into the main draw to take on England's
World No.6 Peter Barker while German World No.10 Simon Rösner
moves up the seedings to occupy the position vacated by
"We are disappointed, as we know James is, that he will miss
this year's Tournament of Champions,” said Tournament Chairman
"James is a great friend of the tournament and of our charities
StreetSquash and CitySquash. Perhaps one of the younger players
will make his big breakthrough here, just as James did when he
was 19-years-old and defeated several top-seeded players to
establish himself as a contender."
The amended J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Draw is:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [WC] Todd Harrity (USA)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier]
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Borja Golan (ESP)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Qualifier]
Alister Walker (BOT) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
World Champion Ashour Out Of
Tournament Of Champions
2014 PSA World Champion Ramy Ashour, the maverick Egyptian who
stunned squash fans to win a magnificent third world title in
Qatar in November 2014, has been forced to withdraw from the
upcoming 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, PSA World
Series event, due to injury.
After enduring an injury-plagued 12 months, Ashour appeared to
have conquered his injury-demons following his World
Championship victory but has been forced out of the ToC, the
opening PSA World Series event of 2015 which takes place in New
York's iconic Grand Central Terminal from January 16 - 23, with
a knee-meniscus injury.
As a result, Ashour's first round opponent Tarek Momen will now
face England's Adrian Waller, who gains automatic entry into the
main draw following Ashour's withdrawal, in the first round.
Tournament Chairman and Director John Nimick said; "Like all
squash fans, I am saddened that Ramy will not have the
opportunity to go for his fourth career ToC title this year, but
I am excited about the depth and strength of the men's draw and
have no doubt ToC '15 will be tremendous.
"We look forward to seeing Ramy Ashour on court again in Grand
Central Terminal next year."
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Entry List
(1) Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) - World No.1
(2) Gregory Gaultier (FRA) - World No.2
(3) Nick Matthew (ENG) - World No.3
(4) Amr Shabana (EGY) - World No.4
(5) Ramy Ashour (EGY) - World No.5
(6) Peter Barker (ENG) - World No.6
(7) Borja Golan (ESP) - World No.7
(8) James Willstrop (ENG) - World No.8
(9) Tarek Momen (EGY) - World No.9
(10) Simon Rösner (GER) - World No.10
(11) Omar Mosaad (EGY) - World No.11
(12) Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) - World No.12
(13) Daryl Selby (ENG) - World No.13
(14) Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) - World No.14
(15) Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) - World No.15
(16) Max Lee (HKG) - World No.16
(17) Nicolas Mueller (SUI) - World No.17
(18) Cameron Pilley (AUS) - World No.18
(19) Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) - World No.19
(20) Stephen Coppinger (RSA) - World No.21
(21) Chris Simpson (ENG) - World No.22
(22) Saurav Ghosal (IND) - World No.23
(23) Alister Walker (BOT) - World No.25
(24) Wildcard) Todd Harrity (USA) - World No.73
Tickets for the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions range
in price from $8 to $170 and may be purchased at
packages are also available at
Ramy Ashour winner 2014 but out of 2015
Elite To Descend On Grand Central Terminal
Egyptian World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy will head a star-studded
field when the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, PSA World Series
event, gets underway in the iconic location of Grand Central Terminal in New
York on Friday January 16.
The biggest spectator squash event in the world, the Tournament
of Champions has been a staple on the PSA circuit since 1993 and is
regularly watched by over 200,000 spectators during its week-long occupancy
of Grand Central's stunning Vanderbilt Hall. Fans will be treated to yet
more world class action in 2015 when 32 of the world's best players will
descend on the 'Big Apple'.
Elshorbagy is joined in the line-up by the man who beat him to
the 2014 PSA World Squash Championship title, World No.5 Ramy Ashour, who
will be gunning for his fourth ToC title, alongside the likes of four-time
World Champion and defending Tournament of Champions title-holder Amr
Shabana, three-time World Champion Nick Matthew from England and Frenchman
Gregory Gaultier, winner of the 2009 title.
With the top 18 PSA-ranking players, and 23 of the world’s top
25 entered in the main draw, the 2015 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
will see the PSA World Series get off to a blockbuster start in one of the
most impressive venues in the world of sports.
"The J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions has always been an
extraordinary championship because of the depth of the draw, and 2015 entry
list is exceptional. We are looking forward to an exhilarating and intense
week of competition here in New York," said tournament promoter John Nimick,
President of Event Engine, Inc.
"Then 34-year-old Amr Shabana showed us just how tight the
competition is on the PSA World Tour is when he secured a stunning victory
here last year to win his third Tournament of Champions title. With the
level set to be even higher in 2015, there is no venue better suited than
the spectacular Grand Central Terminal to showcase that competition."
Promoters of the J.P.
Morgan Tournament of Champions have confirmed that the total prize-fund
for the Women's Squash Association championship in 2015 will nearly
double in size to $118,000 to ensure prize money parity for participants at
the world's largest spectator squash event which will be held in New York
The 2015 J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions will take place for the 18th year at New York's
iconic Grand Central Terminal, from 16-23 January.
"Thanks to JP Morgan and
their commitment to make the Tournament of Champions a worldwide leader in
squash, we are thrilled to make this added commitment to the women's
division for 2015 and to plan for prize money parity and draw size equality
in 2016 and beyond," confirmed Tournament Chairman John Nimick,
President of Event Engine, Inc.
The 2015 men's purse will pay
$150,000 to 32 main draw players, while the newly-increased women's purse
will pay out to 20 players, ensuring parity on a round-by-round basis.
WSA CEO Tommy Berden
is delighted with the breakthrough news: "We are very thankful to John
Nimick and JP Morgan for their support and their gigantic efforts to almost
triple last year's prize money for the women's draw.
"These are exciting times for
women's squash and we are looking forward to working even more extensively
with John and JP Morgan in the future."
The Tournament of Champions
has been a staple on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) circuit since
1993 and is regularly watched by more than 200,000 spectators during its
week-long occupancy of Grand Central's stunning Vanderbilt Hall. With
entries confirmed, in both the 32 player men's and 16 player women's main
draws, spectators can look forward to an action-packed week of competition
as the 2015 championships include virtually all of the top ranking players
in the world.
The 2015 WSA championship has
already attracted 18 of the world's top 20 women, led by defending champion
Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia, and including world
No.2 Laura Massaro (ENG), No.3 Raneem El Welily (EGY), 4
Nour El Sherbini (EGY), 5 Alison Waters (ENG), 6 Camille Serme
(FRA), 7 Low Wee Wern (MAS), 8 Nour El Tayeb (EGY), 9 Annie
Au (HKG) and world No.10 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY).