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30/04/2017
Grasshopper Cup 2017

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Grasshopper Cup 2017
1 - 7 May
Zurich, Switzerland, $100k
Round One
03 - 04 May
Quarters
05 May
Semis
 06 May
Final
07 May
[1] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY)
11-8, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4 (54m)
[WC] Nicolas Müller (SUI)
Mohamed Elshorbagy
8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9 (81m)
Ali Farag
Ali Farag
11-8, 11-8, 11-3 (37m)
Nick Matthew
Ali Farag
11-8, 11-9, 14-12 (53m)
Gregory Gaultier
[5] Ali Farag (EGY)
11-9, 11-9, 11-4 (46m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[8] Omar Mosaad (EGY)
11-6, 13-11, 11-9 (41m)
[Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)
Omar Mosaad
11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (52m)
Nick Matthew
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
11-8, 11-7, 15-13 (53m)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
11-4, 11-6, 11-2 (35m)
Daryl Selby (ENG)
Gregory Gaultier
11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (46m)
Simon Rösner
Gregory Gaultier
11-9, 11-5, 12-10 (51m)
Tarek Momen
[6] Simon Rösner (GER)
12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-5 (82m)
Paul Coll (NZL)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY)
11-5, 11-3, 12-10 (36m)
[Q] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Tarek Momen
11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6 (74m)
Karim Abdel Gawad
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
13-11, 11-8, 11-7 (41m)
[2]
Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Qualifying

Qualifying finals:
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt Alan Clyne (SCO) 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4 (69m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Raphael Kandra (GER) 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-2 (74m)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) bt Ivan Yuen (MAS) 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 2-11, 11-5 (65m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Olli Tuominen (FIN) 11-2, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4 (36m)

 
REPORTS

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France's Gregory Gaultier Wins 2017 Grasshopper Cup

Frenchman Gregory Gautier picked up the 39th title of his career - and his fifth consecutive tournament win in 2017 - after defeating Egyptian Ali Farag in the final of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup in Zurich, recording his 23rd consecutive PSA Tour match win in the process.

The 34-year-old, who in April became squash's oldest ever World No.1, hasn't lost a competitive match since January, winning the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open and El Gouna International in succession. And he made it five in a row after narrowly edging past World No.8 Farag courtesy of a 3-0 scoreline that didn't truly reflect the competitiveness of the 53 minute match.

Farag posed arguably the stiffest challenge Gaultier has faced during his recent run as he read the Frenchman's game well to counter Gaultier's attacks and cause him trouble in all four corners of the court. After losing the first two games narrowly, Farag found himself with two game ball opportunities in the third - which would have changed the dynamic of the match. But he was left to rue what could have been as Gaultier managed to stem the tide and come through 11-8, 11-9, 14-12 and continue his charge.

"I'm really happy to win the title and I felt like I played well today, but 3-0 doesn't reflect the battle because we played almost an hour," said Gaultier.

"I knew he was playing well this week as well and that it would be tough. I had to tactically play simple and not open he court up for him and I was ready for it.

"I had to put in a big push in the third to come back from behind because my energy was dropping and he was getting better and better. I was very happy to finish it in three.

"I've had an amazing run since January, but there's no secret to the success. I've been working hard my whole life and have a team supporting me and working with me every day - and that work has been paying off. I had a bad run in 2016 with injuries and that has really motivated me this season as well.

"I've still got two more events to play this season so hopefully I can keep it going and keep my level up."

A good run in his next event, the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic 2017, could also see Gaultier reclaim the World No.1 spot he lost to Karim Abdel Gawad at the start of this month.

Speaking after the match Farag said: "He was better than me in the first but at the end of that game I felt like I was getting into it and finding a way to play him. I was playing well but he came back very strong in the third. It was a flip of a coin at the end, had I won I that game I think it would have gone to five, but there are no regrets. I've had a great week here and I'm proud of what I've achieved."
 
Gaultier To Meet Farag

The final of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup in Zurich will see Egyptian World No.8 Ali Farag, conquerer of both Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nick Matthew, take on in-form World No.2 Gregory Gaultier for the spoils - when the Frenchman will be aiming to win a 23rd consecutive match and fifth consecutive PSA World Tour title.

34-year-old Gaultier, the 2015 World Champion and 2015 Grasshopper Cup champion, has won the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open and El Gouna International on his last four outings and continued to show that he is the standard bearer as he downed Tarek Momen - who had beaten World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad 24 hours earlier - in straight games to set up a title decider with Farag.

Gaultier was far from his best at times during the 51 minute encounter but managed to do enough to prevent Momen from gaining a foothold in proceedings and prevail 11-9, 11-5, 12-10.

"I haven't dropped a game so far this week but it was close today as there were some very intense rallies in there and two very close games," said Gaultier.

"I managed to keep my focus at the end despite being maybe a little nervous. I was being too passive and was waiting to counter him. But when I play him I'm alway sharp the next day because he forces me into all four corners, so I'm going to be sharp tomorrow.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can and keep up my level. Ali has been playing well every match. He had an unbelievable quarter-final and it was surprising how well he backed up today. He has lots of skills so I have to be on my toes tomorrow and be ready but hopefully I will bring my best perfomance of the week."

Farag meanwhile secured his place in the finale courtesy of a 3-0 win over three-time World Champion Nick Matthew that came just 24 hours after Farag had downed Mohamed ElShorbagy in a highly entertaining five-game thriller.

Farag, who has at times struggled to find consistency on court this season, looked relaxed from the off and put together one of his most complete performances - a performance that was in direct contrast to a subpar performance from 36-year-old Nick Matthew - to come through in straight games.

"Before the match I actually had no expectations - for the first time in my career I was going into a match knowing I wouldn't mind losing," said Farag.

"I think that mindset meant I loosened up and played some of my best today. I'm very happy with how I played in the first and then there were a few crucial points in the second that went my way and that was crucial because 1-1 and 2-0 is very different. Had I lost that second it would have been a totally different story.

"I got away with the win and hopefully tomorrow I can pull off another one - I've another final to look forward to. Last time I made a big final in Al Ahram (in September 2016) I didn't back up very well and lost easily in the final, so tomorrow I'll give it a big push."
 
World No.1 Gawad And ElShorbagy Crash Out

Egyptian World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy - the man who topped the PSA World Rankings for 28 months up to March 2017 - crashed out of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup during a dramatic day of quarter-finals action inside Zurich's Puls5 today.

Gawad, 2016 World Champion, succumbed to another Egyptian, World No.10 Tarek Momen, in a highly entertaining five game battle that saw the pair put together rally after rally of the highest calibre - hitting all four corners of the court in an exhibition of free flowing, attacking squash.

After taking the opening game 11-7, 29-year-old Momen managed to keep his composure and produce one of his best performances in recent years to fend off a huge charge from Gawad and see out the match in five, winning 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6. He will now face Frenchman Gregory Gaultier - who hasn't lost on his last 21 outings on the PSA World Tour - for a place in the final.

"That was a big match for me today because I know I've been playing well and been in some of my best form of late - but I've been coming up short by narrow margins time and time again," said Momen.

"It was very tough for me mentally - I tried very hard to keep believing in myself and not fall into the trap of doubting myself after making errors. I'm very happy that I managed to come through because I feel like I was due one big win before the end of the season.

"There was some scrappy play at times today but to beat the World No.1 is amazing and I'm going to enjoy the semi-final tomorrow. I've played some big matches with Greg this season and I'm looking forward to another one tomorrow."

Gaultier was in commanding form as he dispatched Germany's Simon Rösner in a routine 3-0 while it was World No.8 Ali Farag who toppled tournament top seed ElShorbagy in a back and forth 81 minute battle.

ElShorbagy, who's recent performances on court have seem him battle internal demons more than his opponents, put in a Jekyl and Hyde performance while Farag foght through physical barriers in the decisive fifth game to complete a come-from-behind win.

"There was a crucial point in the middle of the fifth game where I gave him some cheap points," said Farag.

"But I dug in, told myself not to give up on it and thankfully it worked because it was a flip of a coin at the end. I was trying to loosen up and go for my shots because I was maybe playing too conservative before then and I was starting to cramp up physically.

"I'm really excited to be in the semi-finals now."

Farag will go up against England's three-time World Champion Nick Matthew for a place in the finals after the 36-year-old from Sheffield recorded a routine win against Omar Mosaad.
 
Dutch Football Legend Marco van Basten Hails ‘Unbelievable’ Squash Players

Legendary Dutch footballer Marco van Basten has praised the world’s top squash stars after the 52-year-old attended the second day of action at the 2017 Grasshopper Cup currently taking place in Zurich’s Puls5.

Van Basten, a three-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner who represented AFC Ajax, A.C. Milan and the Netherlands national football team, is one of the greatest footballers of all time and scored over 300 goals throughout a glittering playing career.

And with the likes of World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad and the man he dethroned at the summit of the World Rankings earlier this week - Gregory Gaultier - taking to the court during day two of the PSA M100 tournament held in Zurich, van Basten was quick to laud the skills of the world’s leading squash players.

"I think the set up here is great," said van Basten, who now holds the post of FIFA Chief Officer for Technical Development.

"For me, it's the first time I've seen an international squash tournament up close - the level is very high and it is unbelievable what the players can do on the court.

"It’s like playing chess and it is also physical. You can be smart, strong, mean and I like that. It's like boxing but it is also like music, it's very technical, so it has a bit of everything.

"The players are so strong, so quick and also clever - it really is a top sport. But the players are also humble which is very nice to see."

An ankle injury saw van Basten play his last professional football match at the age of just 28 and the Dutchman revealed that the injury pushed him towards taking up squash in recent years - and he still plays three times a week.

"After my football career, I had a problem with my ankle which meant I couldn't play other sports easily," he continued.

"I tried golf and biking, which I didn't like, and tennis, but the court was too big for me. All of a sudden I found myself playing squash a few years ago - I felt good, was enjoying myself and I had no problems with my ankle, so I've continued playing since."

The Grasshopper Cup continues tonight (May 5) from 17:30 local time, with the quarter-finals shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only).

Draw - Quarter-finals: 2017 Grasshopper Cup
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [5] Ali Farag (EGY)
[8] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [4] Nick Matthew (ENG)
[3] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [6] Simon Rösner (GER)
[7] Tarek Momen (EGY) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

 
Gaultier And Gawad Sail Into Grasshopper Cup Quarters

Former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier was in imperious form as he extended his winning streak on the PSA World Tour to 20 consecutive matches, defeating England's Daryl Selby 3-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the 2017 Grasshopper Cup inside Zurich's Puls 5 today - where he was joined by current World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad.

Gaultier hasn't lost a Tour match since the final of January's Tournament of Champions - a streak that has seen him collect the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open and El Gouna Open titles in succession - and he continued to show that he is the dominant force in Men's squash as he overcame Selby in just over 30 minutes.

"I tried to inject a lot of pace into it from the first point - we were both tired from the European Teams and it's always hard to back up after just a few days," said Gaultier.

"We all train hard and have we have played a lot of matches since January but we keep on going and going until we collapse! I thought that we both played a good game and the scoreline maybe doesn't reflect the match.

"But I think I got the tactics right - to play fast from the first point. I'm happy with the way I played and hopefully I can carry it on and my fitness will be there."

Gaultier now face German Simon Rösner in the last eight after the man from Paderborn came through 3-1 over New Zealand's Paul Coll while Gawad, who overtook Gaultier atop the World Rankings on May 1st, also impressed as he defeated French number two Gregoire Marche 3-0.

The opening game was closely fought between the pair - going all the way to a 13-11 tie break - but from then on it was one way traffic as Gawad controlled proceedings to leave Marche cutting a frustrated figure at the end.

"Greg is a very tough opponent - we used to play with each other in the juniors so I know his game and I'm very pleased to get through in three," said Gawad.

"Everything that has happened to me this season is unbelievable. I'm very grateful to my team for the support over the past few years - there are still a lot of dreams and ambitions I have to achieve and that's what I am playing for."

Gawad will go up against compatriot Tarek Momen for a place in the semi-finals after the 28-year-old from Cairo beat French number three Mathieu Castagnet 3-0.
 
ElShorbagy Escapes Against Local Favourite At Grasshopper Cup

Tournament top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy, the World No.3 and former World No.1, was forced to call on an act of escapism to avoid a shock first round exit at the hands of local hero Nicolas Mueller and keep his 2017 Grasshopper Cup campaign alive - coming back from 2-1 down inside Zurich's Puls 5 venue today.

Inspired by a partizan and vocal crowd Mueller, the World No.34, recovered from a slow first game to take control of the encounter and force ElShorbagy - a naturally aggressive and attacking player - onto the back foot. And the Egyptian, now based in Bristol, England, struggled to adapt, looking off the boil and at times cutting a lethargic figure on court.

But a series of early errors from Mueller in the fourth game gifted ElShorbagy an opening which he grasped, upping the pace and attacking at every opportunity to tire Mueller and complete the turnaround win.

"Nicki played some great squash today - he was playing really high quality and made it difficult," said ElShorbagy.

"He's always had great potential and we played together in the World Juniors. Today was another battle, but one that I think it was played in great spirit and I'm very grateful to Omar (Mosaad left), Tarek (Momen) and Ali (Farag) who were there to help me today. I wouldn't have won without them.

"The support he had today was fantastic - that kind of support is what makes the sport special and I think it's a great set up here for the tournament, so hopefully I can do well this week."

After the match Mueller said: "When I play him I know I have to be at my very best just to be close. In the fourth I had a bad start and he got the momentum - and managed to silence the crowd as well."

ElShorbagy will now face compatriot Farag in the quarter-finals after the former Harvard student impressed to defeat Australian Cameron Pilley 3-0 while Mosaad secured his last eight place with a 3-0 win over Omar Abdel Meguid.

After enduring a season of disappointment to date, in which he crashed out at the first round in seven events and saw his World Ranking crash from 3 to 32, Mosaad looked to have turned the corner as he put in a controlling performance to defeat Meguid.

"This season has been tough - I've not played well," said Mosaad after the match. "I tried to refocus during the last few months and I'm happy to win today because it's a good win for my confidence.

"I'm just happy to be through and into the next round. It's great to be back here in Zurich again. I enjoy playing here and hopefully I can improve my level again for the next round."

Mosaad will take on England's Nick Matthew, the three-time World Champion who marked his debut at the tournament with a comfortable 3-0 win over Zahed Mohamed - preventing an Egyptian rout on day one.

The 36-year-old World No.4 was imperious in the opening two games as he bossed the play, commanding the centre of the court and making Mohamed do all the hard yards. To his credit the young Egyptian came back strong in the third and matched Matthew, trading points with 'The Wolf' all the way to a tense tie-break, but Matthew's class told as he squeezed the errors to secure the match in three.

"To have a crowd like this in the first round is a real pleasure - hopefully they had a great time. It's like a crowd we get a finals at some tournaments so it's great to be here," said Matthew.

"There was a quick turnaround after the European Teams so I wasn't sure how I would I would be coming in. These guys all keep getting better and I'm trying my best to stay up there. I can't take any of them for granted, the first rounds are so tough now days."
 

 

 

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