duo Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini are the 2019 J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions winners after respective victories over
compatriots and World No.1s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily
inside New York’s Grand Central Terminal earlier today.
Farag will now replace ElShorbagy at World No.1 on March 1 after
prevailing in one of the most dramatic finals ever witnessed at the
Tournament of Champions.
looked down and out in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall after going
two games behind and 6-2 down in the third. But he showcased his
fighting spirit over the course of the next two games as he began to
put some serious work into the legs of ElShorbagy, and the
26-year-old duly came back to level the scores at 2-2.
ElShorbagy then had an injury break before the fifth game to deal
with a calf issue. The 28-year-old fought through the pain barrier
to push Farag all the way, but it was the younger Egyptian who was
able to close out the win to lift his first Tournament of Champions
trophy and the 14th PSA title of his career.
"It’s been a dream of mine since a very young age to reach that No.1
spot," said Farag afterwards.
"To do it in such a fashion in front of so many greats of the game,
in front of the love of my life [wife, Nour El Tayeb], and my
parents watching at home, it couldn’t get any better really… It was
"Mohamed is such a warrior, he never gives any points away. It's
been one of the biggest spectacles for the sport, and to be played
in such a clean spirit is a great showcase for our sport."
ElShorbagy’s ranking points for the 2018 Windy City Open - where he
took the maximum on offer after winning the tournament - will expire
at the end of February. This means Farag will boast a superior
points average going into March, which will elevate him to World
No.1. In the meantime, ElShorbagy will stay at the top of the PSA
World Rankings in February.
the women’s event, World No.2 El Sherbini became the first woman
ever to win the Tournament of Champions on three occasions after a
dominant 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 victory over World No.1 El Welily saw her
retain her title.
El Sherbini and El Welily were meeting for the first time since the
latter had ended the former’s 31-month reign at World No.1 last
month and El Welily - the 2015 Tournament of Champions winner - came
into the match with a narrow 10-9 lead on their head-to-head record.
But things went El Sherbini’s way this time around as the
23-year-old put on a masterclass of attacking squash to lift her
18th career PSA title, which is her first of the season.
“This is my lucky place, this tournament was my first ever
[Platinum] win and now it’s the first one I’ve won three times,”
said El Sherbini, who also won the Tournament of Champions in 2016
really big to put my name on this trophy and to win this tournament,
but to win it three times is something that I will never forget in
“We’ve been battling against each other for so long, the
head-to-head is 10-10, so that shows how tough it’s been. We’ve been
battling in a lot of finals, sometimes it goes my way, sometimes it
goes her way. At the end of the day, the better player is going to
win, and I think I was better than her today. Maybe she was
suffering after yesterday’s match, but I’m going to take the win and
I’m going to look forward to the next one.”
Both players take home just shy of $23,000 in prize money, while El
Sherbini joins Farag in qualifying for June's PSA World Tour Finals.
An Egyptian quartet will feature in the finals of the J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions for the first time in history as the world’s
top four players - Mohamed ElShorbagy, Ali Farag, Raneem El Welily
and Nour El Sherbini - get set to do battle for the PSA Platinum
title in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
No.1 ElShorbagy and World No.2 Ali Farag will go head-to-head in the
men’s final after respective wins over World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad
and World No.4 Tarek Momen.
ElShorbagy avenged his defeat to Gawad in last month’s Black Ball
Open by taking a 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 victory which sees him reach
the final of this tournament for the third time. The win also means
he is guaranteed to retain his No.1 ranking in February - a defeat
to Gawad would have meant that Farag could have taken top spot had
he won the tournament.
“I trained the whole summer to be in these kind of situation,” said
ElShorbagy, who came through a brutal 73-minute fixture with Peru’s
Diego Elias in the previous round.
“If I didn’t back it up today physically, if I was going to lose
today, then it would have been because he was better than me, not
because I was physically tired.
“He played amazing in Egypt to beat me in three, and I had to watch
this match and analyse it with my team and see what went wrong. I
felt I couldn’t cope with his pace. Maybe when I was young I used to
play faster than him, but I think my body is telling me that I
cannot play as fast as before and I have to use my brain a little
bit. I think I played with my brain, I didn’t play emotionally, and
I think I got my tactics right from the first point."
ElShorbagy and Farag will now contest a second Platinum final in a
row, while it will be the ToC’s first all-Egyptian men’s final.
Farag will look to get his own back after losing in straight games
in the final of November’s Hong Kong Open.
Farag bowed out in the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions
last year after losing to Momen, but this time the win went the way
of the former as he closed out an 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 triumph in 42
minutes to reach his fifth PSA Tour final in a row.
“It is not hard to say that it is tough to play against Mohamed,"
"He has proven that he is the toughest player to face to play
against both mentally and physically. He has it all really, it is
always exciting when you play against him, you know it is going to
be a big one. We played twice so far this season, with the score at
The women’s final will also be contested by the World No.1 and World
No.2 as Raneem El Welily and Nour El Sherbini claimed semi-final
wins over World No.4 Joelle King and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb,
Welily got her revenge for her Hong Kong Open final defeat against
New Zealand’s King as she recovered from a game down to win 9-11,
11-4, 12-10, 11-9 after a high-quality 50-minute battle.
“The entire match was very tough, mentally and physically, it was
brutal,” said El Welily, the 2015 Tournament of Champions winner.
“I remember being down [in game three], it’s not something you
forget. I was being positive at the time and told myself to keep
pushing because it didn’t matter what happened in this game, I just
had to do my best and give it 100 per cent."
Meanwhile, defending champion El Sherbini defeated El Tayeb in a
repeat of last year’s final. The 23-year-old snuck wins in games one
and three, before powering home to victory in a one-sided fourth
game to seal a place in her third Tournament of Champions final.
Sherbini and El Welily will now go head-to-head for the 20th time on
the PSA Tour, with El Welily winning 10 of them. It will be the 12th
time that they will have contested a PSA Tour final, and El Welily
has taken the win on six of those occasions.
“It means a lot [to reach the final], I wasn’t really happy with my
squash over the last few months, but I’m happy that I went back
home, regrouped and trained hard,” said El Sherbini, whose 31-month
reign at World No.1 was ended by El Welily last month.
“[Raneem] has taken the No.1 spot, but it’s just another match. I
need to rest and focus for tomorrow, and I’m sure it’s going to be
even tougher than today and more fair. We’re very good friends and
it’s going to be a good match, hopefully.”
The finals of the 2019 Tournament of Champions get under way at
19:00 (GMT-5) on Thursday January 24. They will be shown live on
SQUASHTV (rest of world), Eurosport Player (Europe only), BT Sport,
Fox Sports Australia, Astro and other mainstream broadcast channels.
Zealand’s Joelle King has become the only non-Egyptian to reach the
semi-finals of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, PSA Platinum
event after she overcame 2017 winner Camille Serme at New York’s
Grand Central Terminal earlier today.
King, 30, won her maiden Platinum title at her last PSA Tour event -
the Hong Kong Open - and she moved to within one win of back-to-back
finals after she recovered from an 11-1 defeat in game one to take
the win in four games.
“I guess I laughed and said to myself that the only positive thing
to come out of that [first] game was that I got a point,” said King.
“I just tried to relax and start again and see what happened.
Someone like Camille, if she gets on a run and gets confident, she
is so hard to play. I just tried to weather the storm and hang in
“Once you get older, you tell all the juniors that you will go
through these tough matches later on in your career and I have been
on the back end of many losses from being up in those points, so I
guess it is just experience on that day."
World No.4 will play World No.1 Raneem El Welily in the semi-finals
in what will be a repeat of their final clash at the Hong Kong Open.
El Welily overcame World No.8 Nouran Gohar by an 11-6, 11-9, 11-4
margin in just 28 minutes and is now one win away from an eighth
successive PSA Tour final - a run which stretches back to last
“I was a bit sharper today than I was yesterday," said El Welily,
the 2015 Tournament of Champions winner.
“I think the game is so strong now. Being in the semi-finals is one
better than last year at least, so I am happy to be step closer than
The other women’s final will be a repeat of last year’s final as
defending champion Nour El Sherbini and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb go
head-to-head in an all-Egyptian battle. El Sherbini dispatched World
No.16 Salma Hany in straight games, while El Tayeb overcame
England’s Alison Waters.
final two men’s quarter-finals also took place today, with World
No.2 Ali Farag and 2017 runner-up Tarek Momen joining compatriots
Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad in the last four to make it
an all-Egyptian affair.
Farag overcame New Zealand’s Paul Coll by an 11-9, 11-7, 11-6
scoreline to reach the semi-finals of this tournament for the second
“Paul has been giving trouble to everyone and he is a very, very
tough opponent to play against,” Farag said.
“If we get into a physical battle, he is going to come out on top,
so I had to play smart to control the pace as much as possible.”
Farag will look to avenge his defeat to Momen in the semi-finals of
last year’s tournament, with Momen axing World No.17 Omar Mosaad 3-0
to advance to the last four.
was my first rival since we were eight or nine years old,” Momen
“We have been competing at the same age group at every local
tournament and at every international junior tournament. When I was
a kid, I never thought we would be rivals for nearly 25 years. It is
just incredible. Each one of us has had ups and downs."
The semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions will take place
tomorrow (Wednesday January 23). The women’s semi-finals get under
way at 17:00 (GMT-5), with the men’s taking place at 20:00.
All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world),
Eurosport Player (Europe only) and major broadcast channels such as
BT Sport, Astro and Fox Sports Australia.
No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad ended the title defence of Germany’s Simon
Rösner after a commanding performance from the Egyptian saw him move
into the semi-finals of the PSA Platinum event held at New York’s
iconic Grand Central Terminal.
Gawad, the 2016 ToC champion, almost fell to an ignominious exit in
round two after falling two games behind against World No.23 Joel
Makin, but an ankle injury sustained by the Welshman in game three
handed Gawad a lifeline as he progressed into the last 16.
But, following wins over compatriot Fares Dessouky and now Rösner,
Gawad looks to have shaken off his slow start to the tournament and
the former World No.1 dominated his opponent today to end Rösner’s
defence of the coveted trophy.
“Simon beat me the last two times last season, and he is now the
World No.3,” Gawad said after his victory.
“He has improved a lot, and he was always top 10 but now he is even
better than he used to be. He is the defending champion here so it
was a very tough match, of course.
“I had to be very strong mentally in order to win against someone
like Simon, especially a 3-0 win. I had to focus 100% today."
day’s other men’s quarter-final saw World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy
prevail in a thrilling five-game battle with Peruvian Diego Elias to
avenge his defeat against the World No.11 in November’s Qatar
In what was arguably the match of the tournament so far, 22-year-old
Elias twice took a one-game lead, but was pegged back both times by
a resurgent ElShorbagy.
And fell just short in the deciding fifth game as fatigue took its
toll, with the scoreline finishing 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 in
the Egyptian’s favour. ElShorbagy and Gawad will meet in a repeat of
the Black Ball Open quarter-finals, with Gawad prevailing en route
to winning the tournament.
“This kid [Elias] is going to beat us all one day," ElShorbagy said
“We have played four times now, and all four have gone to five
games. He beat me the last time, he just showed what a great player
he is and there is no doubt he is a future No.1 of the game."
women’s third round took place today and saw both of the remaining
US players exit the tournament as World No.11 Amanda Sobhy and World
No.19 Olivia Blatchford Clyne suffered respective defeats against
Egyptian duo Nour El Tayeb and Nour El Sherbini.
An out-of-sorts El Tayeb went a game behind twice against Sobhy, the
US No.1, and fell to an 11-1 defeat in game three. However, the
World No.3 was able to weather the storm in the fourth to level the
scores, before holding her nerve to convert the decider.
since the draw came out, I’ve been thinking about this match,” said
“It took a lot of fighting to be able to be in the match. I had Ali
[Farag] and Raneem [El Welily] in my corner, the World No.2 and the
World No.1, so they were just trying to keep me disciplined,
encourage me and thankfully I fought until the end."
Meanwhile, Blatchford Clyne fell victim to a masterclass from
defending champion Nour El Sherbini, with the World No.2
overpowering her opponent to win 11-5, 11-5, 11-3 in 23 minutes.
El Sherbini will play fellow Egyptian Salma Hany for a place in the
semi-finals after the World No.16 upset two-time runner-up Laura
Massaro to win in straight games. 22-year-old Hany will now compete
in the last eight of a PSA Platinum event for the first time.
“I have been working towards this for so much time now,” said Hany.
“I just relaxed and this is my first ever quarter-final in a
[Platinum] event. Every time I step on this court, especially in
this amazing venue, I get a bit nervous. When I talked to my
physical coach, he told me that the most important thing is to enjoy
my game and every time I was getting nervous, and I was thinking
that I was getting closer to the quarter finals, I was just thinking
about relaxing and to enjoy it like I was dancing.”
Elsewhere, World No.1 Raneem El Welily got the better of India’s
Joshna Chinappa and she will play World No.8 Nouran Gohar next in a
repeat of their five-game clash in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Joelle King claimed just her second career
victory over Malaysian legend Nicol David at the 12th attempt to set
up a quarter-final fixture with 2017 champion Camille Serme.
The day’s final third round match was an all-British battle as
England’s World No.9 Alison Waters defeated Welsh World No.10 Tesni
Evans by a 3-2 scoreline.
The last two men’s quarter-finals - and the entirety of the women’s
last eight fixtures - will be played tomorrow (Tuesday January 22).
All of the action from Grand Central Terminal will be broadcast live
on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) and
play starts at 13:30 (GMT-5).
States No.1 Amanda Sobhy got her title challenge under way at the
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions with a 3-0 victory over Canada’s
Danielle Letourneau in round two of the PSA Platinum event taking
place at New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
Harvard-graduate Sobhy, 25, reached the final of this tournament
back in 2016 and she took a step closer to the title decider
courtesy of an 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 victory over the World No.39.
"I love it [the home crowd] so much," said Sobhy afterwards.
"I don’t really get that many home tournaments, but when I do… I
appreciate it. It is nice to get going. There are always a lot of
emotions playing a home tournament and now that I am back, I might
put a bit of pressure on myself.
“At the end of the day, I am just here to enjoy it because last
year, I was on the long road back, so I just kind of told myself to
enjoy it and whatever happens, happens, and I am going to give it my
will go up against World No.3 Nour El Tayeb next after the Egyptian
got the better of Scotland’s Lisa Aitken in straight games. Sobhy
leads their head-to-head record with four wins to El Tayeb’s three,
and it was the American who won their last match during October’s
“I was trying to be focused and prepared from the beginning because
I know how dangerous Lisa is," said El Tayeb, the 2018 runner-up.
“All credit to her how she came back with the injuries she has had,
but I was very focused from the beginning, and thankfully, I
finished it off in three."
Sobhy’s compatriot, Olivia Blatchford Clyne, also booked her third
round spot as she defeated Nele Gilis of Belgium in straight games.
The New York-born World No.19 will play defending champion Nour El
Sherbini for a place in the last eight after the World No.2
dispatched fellow Egyptian Hania El Hammamy.
Two-time runner-up Laura Massaro was also in action as she
dispatched Egypt’s Yathreb Adel, avenging her defeat to the Egyptian
in November’s Hong Kong Open. She will line up against World No.16
Salma Hany in round three, while Wales’ Tesni Evans and England’s
Alison Waters will go head-to-head in an all-British battle.
World No.2 Ali Farag - El Tayeb’s husband - booked his place in the
last eight of the men’s tournament as he edged a highly-entertaining
fixture against England’s Daryl Selby.
The 26-year-old, who like Sobhy studied at Harvard, took the win by
a 15-13, 12-10, 13-11 scoreline, but was up against it at times
against an impressive Selby, who was unable to capitalise on any of
his seven game balls throughout the 57-minute encounter.
now, I could easily be sat down losing 3-0," Farag admitted
"All games could have gone either way, and actually they were closer
to going his way. He was leading in every game, he had game ball or
more than one in every game. I am just very happy that I stayed
calm, I never panicked. All credit to Daryl, he never made it easy
at any point. I am very relieved to be through."
New Zealand’s World No.7 Paul Coll awaits Farag in the
quarter-finals next after his match with World No.12 Saurav Ghosal
was cut short due to a calf injury to the Indian player.
Egyptian duo Tarek Momen and Omar Mosaad also claimed wins on day
five, beating France’s Gregoire Marche and Scotland’s Greg Lobban,
respectively, to reach the quarter-finals.
said: “I always knew that Greg would show up the way he did today,
he has always played really well against me and I expected it to be
a very tough match, so at the beginning I was trying to employ a
game plan, but it wasn’t working.
“I felt a little bit flat and then I kind of tried to fire myself up
a bit. From that point, like halfway through the first game, I was
playing really well and I was just trying to force it, to force him
to make an extra lunge or two every point."
The entirety of the women’s third round will be played tomorrow
(Monday January 21), while the first two men's quarter-finals will
also be contested. The action starts at Grand Central Terminal at
11:00 (GMT-5) and all matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest
of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
fourth day of action at the 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions, PSA Platinum event saw all 12 matches go the way of the
higher-ranked player, with World No.1s Raneem El Welily and Mohamed
ElShorbagy among the winners at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
El Welily is appearing in her first PSA Tour event since overtaking
fellow Egyptian Nour El Sherbini at the summit of the PSA Women’s
World Rankings at the beginning of December. The 30-year-old
kickstarted her title challenge with a resounding 11-4, 11-5, 11-6
victory over World No.23 Mariam Metwally in the second round of the
“When I got to No.1, I was just trying to enjoy myself on court and
to do my best in every single game,” said El Welily
“To stay in the same form, I have to do the same things that got me
to No.1, so I am still trying to enjoy it as much as possible.
“It is definitely good to be back in New York at Grand Central
Station. It is one of my favourite tournaments all year, and I am
just happy to be through to the next round."
India’s Joshna Chinappa stands in El Welily’s way in the next round
after the World No.14 got the better of Belgium’s Tinne Gilis in
champion Camille Serme also got her tournament under way as she
claimed an 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 win over World No.36 Milou van der
Heijden in 30 minutes.
The World No.5 - who two years ago became the first Frenchwoman ever
to win this tournament - will go up against England’s Victoria Lust
for a place in the quarter-finals after the No.13 seed toppled Hong
Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling.
"When I came on the court for the warm-up, I was like a child," said
"I was excited and happy to be back here. I love playing in Grand
Central station, it’s my favourite tournament and I just want to
keep playing here."
World No.4 Joelle King also claimed a victory on day four as she
defeated Zeina Mickawy in four games, and she will play 2014
champion Nicol David in a mouthwatering third round fixture.
Eight-time World Champion David dispatched current World Junior
Champion Rowan Elaraby by a 3-0 margin.
World No.8 Nouran Gohar and World No.12 Annie Au were the other
victors on day four as they axed Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern and Hong
Kong’s Joey Chan, respectively.
The top half of the men’s third round was also contested today, with
ElShorbagy and defending champion Simon Rösner advancing to the
quarter-finals after respective triumphs against Egypt’s Zahed Salem
and Max Lee of Hong Kong.
11-2, 12-10, 11-9 win over Salem will see him line up against World
No.11 Diego Elias in the last eight. Elias dispatched Australia’s
Cameron Pilley and will look to replicate the form that saw him
upset ElShorbagy in November’s Qatar Classic.
“Diego has been playing well this season," ElShorbagy said
"We played once this season in Qatar where he got the better of me,
it was the first time he got the better of me. He is someone who is
going to keep me playing for so many years to come. There is no
doubt he is a future No.1 and future World Champion.”
Meanwhile, Rösner will clash with World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad, with
Gawad coming through in five games to dispatch compatriot Fares
said: “I love Grand Central, I love New York and I love playing on
this glass court.
"Hopefully I can get another win, but no matter how I go I am just
enjoying being out here.”
The second round of the women’s event and the third round of the
men’s continues tomorrow (Sunday January 20). Play will get under
way at Grand Central Terminal at 12:00 (GMT-5) and will be shown
live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
No.2 Ali Farag got the better of former World No.1 James Willstrop
in the standout match of day three of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions - the PSA Platinum event currently taking place inside New
York’s Grand Central Terminal.
Farag can overtake current World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy at the
summit of the World Rankings if he wins the tournament and
ElShorbagy exits the event at the semi-final stage or sooner.
And the Harvard-graduate kicked off his title challenge in New York
after coming through a thrilling 51-minute battle with England’s
Willstrop. The pair played out a series of entertaining rallies
under the chandeliers of Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall and
received a standing ovation as they departed the court.
“I grew up watching James, he is one of the players I look up to and
it is never easy to share a court with him," said Farag, who will
play Willstrop’s compatriot Daryl Selby in the next round.
“He has better ball control, he is smarter than me. I just try to
play as fast as possible. Thankfully, I was able to win and I am
very happy to do so.
"I consider it a privilege every time I get on the court with him. I
feel very honoured to be sharing a court with the likes of James and
Nick [Matthew] and Greg [Gaultier]."
day’s biggest upset of the day saw World No.17 Omar Mosaad send
World No.6 Miguel Rodriguez to an early exit to follow up his win at
the Black Ball Open last month.
Colombia’s Rodriguez started well in New York to go a game ahead,
however a crucial second game went the way of Mosaad on the
tie-break, and the Egyptian played some scintillating squash in the
third and fourth games to consign Rodriguez to an early exit.
“I am really happy because I did a good job today, I think, and
Miguel [did so] as well," said Mosaad.
“It is not easy to play Miguel. Especially because we have had a
couple of matches that were very tough. I needed to be strong
mentally today, I pushed 100% today and I want to thank my coaches
and my wife, who is supporting me today."
Zealand’s World No.7 Paul Coll escaped with a 3-1 victory over men’s
United States No.1 Todd Harrity after he almost let a two-game lead
Coll was in control as he dropped just six points over the course of
the opening two games, but Harrity, backed on by his home crowd,
battled his way back into the match as he unsettled the Kiwi and hit
a number of winners at the front of the court.
Harrity’s resurgence continued into the fourth as he built up a 7-0
lead, but Coll was able to arrest his drop off in intensity and
fought back to close out the win in four games. The 26-year-old will
line up against India’s Saurav Ghosal for a place in the last eight.
“I became a bit too passive,” Coll said.
“Obviously I was concerned [after going 7-0 down in the fourth] and
I tried to get myself back into it. I just had my coach’s voice in
my head going nuts at me."
There was also a victory for World No.4 Tarek Momen, who claimed a
hard-fought 3-2 win against World No.10 Mohamed Abouelghar, winning
it 10-12, 11-4, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6 in 68 minutes. Momen will play
France’s Gregoire Marche in round three, while Greg Lobban also
advanced into the last 16.
The women’s tournament got under way today, with United States duo
Haley Mendez and Marina Stefanoni seeing their tournaments come to
an end at the hands of Dutch player Milou van der Heijden and
Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy, respectively.
Meanwhile, former World No.5 Low Wee Wern capped her first
appearance at the tournament since 2016 with a 3-1 victory over
Mayar Hany of Egypt at the Harvard Club of New York.
“I’m a bit nervous, I’ve played it before but I didn’t appreciate it
when I was in the top 10, I just took it for granted and it was just
another match for me," said Low, who will now take on No.6 seed
Nouran Gohar in the next round.
“After being out for 21 months, I really missed it and this time
around I think I will appreciate it a bit more.”
The men’s third round will begin tomorrow (January 19th), while the
women’s event reaches the second round stage, meaning the top eight
seeds - including defending champion Nour El Sherbini, World No.1
Raneem El Welily and United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy - will all get
their tournaments under way.
All of the action from Grand Central Terminal will be shown live on
SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) from
No.3 Simon Rösner kicked off the defence of his J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions title with a commanding 3-0 victory over
Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly inside New York’s iconic Grand Central
Rösner became the first German player ever to win a major PSA Tour
event when he defeated World No.4 Tarek Momen to lift this trophy 12
months ago and the Paderborn-based 31-year-old picked up where he
left off in New York with an 11-4, 11-8, 11-9 victory over his
“I think he [Cuskelly] is a really dangerous player and we have
never played before in a PSA match,” Rosner said after the match.
“I didn’t really know what to expect. I went off and played really
well at the beginning and had a good start. He then kind of came
back at me but I was really pleased with my performance. It was a
“There is a lot of pressure on your shoulders coming back as a
defending champion, but I didn’t want to think about that too much.
I just wanted to enter the tournament and play the best I can
really. [It was] Exactly the same as last year, I think I went in
without any expectations."
Rösner will play Hong Kong’s Max Lee in the next round after Lee
overcame Mexico’s Cesar Salazar in straight games, and they will be
joined in the last 16 by World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, who defeated
Nicolas Mueller 3-0.
suffered a shock defeat to Cuskelly in the second round of last
year’s event, but the two-time Tournament of Champions winner was
unstoppable against his Swiss counterpart as he powered to an 11-3,
12-10, 11-4 triumph.
“It is always such an honour to win this title and to know that I
have won this title twice before is such an honour," ElShorbagy said
"I would like to win it a few more times, but it is not easy. There
are a lot of challenges, a lot of players that are playing well
Egypt’s Zahed Salem lies in wait for ElShorbagy in round three, with
the World No.25 getting the better of Malaysia's Eain Yow Ng in four
two almost saw a big upset as Welshman Joel Makin went two games up
against World No.5 Karim Abdel Gawad, only to see an ankle injury
cruelly end his chances of a victory.
A series of fine displays this season have seen Makin climb from
No.38 in the world to No.23 over the past five months and he
dominated the in-form Gawad to go two games ahead and 4-3 up in the
But he rolled his ankle after contact with Gawad mid-way through a
rally and he was unable to continue, meaning Gawad moves through to
the third round, where he will play compatriot Fares Dessouky.
“It is not a normal end to the match,” Gawad admitted.
“He played really well and he was dominating. I was having a really
hard time, especially today when I was not playing my best squash.
He was playing his best squash so of course it is very bad for him.
I wish him the best of luck to recover and to be back for the World
Championships next month."
Peru’s Diego Elias got the better of World No.8 Marwan ElShorbagy by
a 3-1 margin to book his place in round two. Elias will line up
against Australia’s Cameron Pilley in the next round, with Pilley
progressing courtesy of a 3-0 victory against England’s Tom
“Well, he started playing really well in the third game and I didn’t
really know what was happening," said Elias.
“After a couple of minutes I was 7-0 down, so I was trying to
concentrate from then for the next game and I think it worked. The
last game was really hard and I am happy to win it.”
The men’s second round continues tomorrow (Friday January 18) at
12:00 (GMT-5) and the action from Grand Central Terminal will be
shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe
The women’s tournament also gets under way tomorrow, with fixtures
spread between the Harvard Club, New York Athletics Club and the
opening day of action at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions saw
men’s United States No.1 Todd Harrity beat Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip
to book his place in round two as the PSA World Tour Platinum
tournament got under way at New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
It was the first time since 1992 that a trio of American men had
competed on the same night at the Tournament of Champions, with
World No.48 Harrity, World No.63 Chris Hanson and World No.294
Timothy Brownell all appearing under the chandeliers of the stunning
Harrity was backed on by a partizan crowd in New York and the
28-year-old from Wayne rose to the occasion as he came back from a
game down to earn an a 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7 victory - securing
his place in the second round of this tournament for the first time
in his career.
“It’s great after all these years, to finally win on this stage, I
am just overjoyed by it," said Harrity, who will play World No.7
Paul Coll in the next round.
“In previous years I have just been so excited, so I come out with
my heart racing, sort of a deer in the headlights with sensory
overload. I don’t kind of feel like playing the match.
“I had some tactics to keep him in the back. He likes loose, random
stuff, so I tried to keep it disciplined and I was having to go for
chances. More than anything, I wanted to relax and just have a good,
rich experience on court."
meanwhile, came up against former World No.3 Omar Mosaad and caused
the Egyptian a number of problems throughout the 46-minute
encounter, but Mosaad came through to take the win in straight
"This kind of match is stressful for me because he played in front
of his home crowd," said Mosaad.
"I just tried to focus, especially in the second game because I
wanted to finish in three. I am training hard, really hard, and I
think I did a good job."
Mosaad’s reward is a second round fixture with World No.6 Miguel
Rodriguez, and he will look to follow up his 3-2 win over the
Colombian at last month’s CIB Black Ball Open.
who is currently attending Harvard, was appearing at this tournament
for the first time in his career after winning a wildcard playoff
prior to the event and he took a shock one-game lead against Egypt’s
Youssef Soliman, only to eventually fall in four games.
Soliman (right) said: "I think both of us got excited, and he was
playing with his home crowd. For me it is the first time in the
States, and playing in this venue is definitely exciting.
“I was so nervous inside, I was struggling to find a rhythm because
he played really well.”
France’s Mathieu Castagnet and England’s George Parker played out a
mammoth 137-minute battle in the day’s opening match, which saw
Castagnet require treatment for a cut on his eyebrow.
The pair exchanged points in a feisty affair and it was World No.27
Castagnet who held his nerve to take it 12-10 in the deciding fifth
“I don’t mind, even if I need the stitches, I am going to do my
recovery and then tomorrow I am back on the court," said Castagnet
"This is my job, I love the game and I want to give my best to come
back. Even if I need stitches, I am going to come back for sure.”
Castagnet will play Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in the next round after
the Egyptian made his return from a 14-month injury layoff with a
runner-up finish at the CCI International last week.
There were also wins for the likes of France’s Gregoire Marche and
Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng, who caused upsets against Germany’s Raphael
Kandra and Qatar’s Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, respectively. Marche will
pit his wits against compatriot Lucas Serme in the last 32, while
Yow will go up against Egypt’s Youssef Soliman.
The second round of the men’s draw will begin on Thursday January 17
as World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and defending champion Simon Rösner
get their tournaments under way. All of the action from Grand
Central Terminal will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and
Eurosport Player (Eurosport Player) from 12:00 (GMT-5).
The Tournament of Champions will also feature a women’s tournament,
which takes place January 18-24.
States No.1 Amanda Sobhy will return to New York’s Grand Central
Terminal next week as she competes for the J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions, PSA Platinum title - and the 25-year-old says she’s back
at full fitness as she aims to become the first American-born player
ever to win the famous trophy.
Harvard-graduate Sobhy made her comeback from a ruptured achilles at
this tournament last January after a 10-month absence and spent much
of 2018 working her way back up the rankings having dropped from a
career-high World No.6 ranking to No.28.
Sobhy, who now sits at No.11 in the world, says that she is back to
her best this time around and is hoping that some strong
performances in New York will help her break back into the top 10.
"Making my PSA debut at the Tournament of Champions last year after
being out for 10 months was an emotional rollercoaster for me," said
"It was a combo of extreme happiness and joy to be back playing
again and doing what I love. [It went from having] a ton of nerves,
doubt, and fear of being out for so long and whether or not I’d be
able to perform at that top level again, to finally just wanting to
cry because of everything I went through and how hard me and my team
worked to get me back playing at the professional level again. It
was a lot.
"The biggest challenge was getting over the fear of injuring myself
again or the mental fear of going all out in the movement that
ruptured my achilles. It’s always something I will need to address,
whether it’s physically paying more attention to my left leg or
mentally getting over the trauma of the injury, but the more I play,
the easier it gets.
"I’ve definitely set some goals for myself this year since now I am
no longer testing out the waters and regaining the confidence. I am
back in full force and looking to get back in the single digits this
year and cause some upsets. It should be a good time."
Sobhy reached the final of this tournament in 2016 - losing to World
No.2 Nour El Sherbini in the final - and she is hoping that a
partizan home crowd will help inspire her to even greater heights
this time around.
"Starting the year off with my favourite tournament on tour is
always exciting for me," she said.
"Not only is it in such an iconic venue, it’s also on home soil, so
I love having the boisterous, rowdy New York crowd supporting me."
Sohhy receives a bye through to the last 32 and will come up against
either Canada’s Samantha Cornett or Danielle Letourneau. A win there
will see the American clash with 2018 runner-up Nour El Tayeb and
she will look to replicate the kind of form that saw her beat the
World No.3 in October’s U.S. Open.
The women’s event at the Tournament of Champions takes place between
January 18-24. A men’s tournament - featuring stars such as
defending champion Simon Rösner, World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and
Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez - begins two days earlier.
This year's Tournament of Champions is the second most lucrative
tournament on the PSA Tour during the 2018/19 season and features a
$360,000 prize purse, which is split equally between the men’s and
World No.3 Simon Rösner will kick off the defence of his J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions title on Friday January 16 as he makes his
first PSA Tour appearance since the birth of his son, Liam.
Rösner made history last January as he became the first German
player ever to win a major PSA World Tour title after defeating
Egypt’s Tarek Momen under the chandeliers in the Vanderbilt Hall of
New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
That title victory for the 31-year-old kicked off an incredible
12-month period which saw him marry his fiancée, Vivien, rise to a
career-high World No.3 ranking and celebrate the birth of his son,
who was welcomed into the world on December 28.
"It's been an unbelievable year sporting-wise and in my private
life," said Rösner.
"When you get married, have a kid, win your biggest title and get to
No.3 in the world, you can't do much better.
"The arrival of my son was very special, it was definitely the
perfect way to cap off the year.
"I've really enjoyed the last few days and I'm going to enjoy some
more days with him before I depart for New York. It's going to be
very tricky not to be at home for a few days, but I have to get used
to that kind of scenario.
"It's been an incredible year. I think it will be difficult to top
it in 2019, but I'll give it my very best."
The 2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions will be held between
January 16-24 and the event is one of the most prestigious
tournaments on the PSA World Tour calendar.
Rösner admits that going into the tournament as the defending
champion will result in some added pressure but is backing himself
to push it one side as he targets a strong start to 2019.
"There's a bit of extra pressure, but I'm just going to go in there
the way I did last year and try to take each match round by round,
enjoy it as much as I can, enjoy Grand Central Terminal and go from
there," he said.
"Last year was an incredible experience. I think that winning one of
my most favourite tournaments of the year is something very special
and I can't really describe the feeling. Feelings come up that you
haven't experienced before and it's going to be a very interesting
approach this year as defending champion.
"I haven't had that before, so I definitely have to try to get my
best squash out there right from the [second] round, which is going
to be tough already against [Ryan] Cuskelly.
"The ToC win was a big result for me in order to push into the top
six in the world. I hadn't been in there for quite a while, so that
win got me back in there. It was very important in order to stay in
touch with all of the Egyptian boys, who are all incredibly strong.
"So are all the other competitors obviously, so I have to play the
best every single time and try to enjoy my squash, as that's when I
usually do my best."
Rösner is seeded third for the tournament and receives a bye into
round two, where he will come up against Australia’s World No.14
Cuskelly. The Paderborn-based star features on the same side of the
draw as World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, while the likes of World No.2
Ali Farag, Momen, Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez and three-time winner
Ramy Ashour will also compete at Grand Central Terminal.
A women’s draw featuring stars such as defending champion Nour El
Sherbini, World No.1 Raneem El Welily, United States No.1 Amanda
Sobhy and 2017 winner Camille Serme gets under way on January 18.
The 2019 edition of the Tournament of Champions will be held at
Grand Central Terminal for a 22nd year and features a record prize
purse of $360,000, which makes it the second most lucrative event on
the PSA Tour throughout the 2018/19 season.
For more information on the event, follow the Tournament of
Champions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or the tournament website.
Tickets are available for purchase here.
New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal will host the prestigious
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions for a 22nd successive year in
January when reigning World Champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem
El Welily return to battle for the coveted PSA World Tour Platinum
Held under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal’s spectacular
Vanderbilt Hall, the Tournament of Champions is one of the most
highly-anticipated tournaments on the PSA Tour and the 2019 edition
of the tournament features a record prize purse of $360,000, which
will be split equally across the men’s and women’s draws.
EShorbagy headlines the men’s event - which takes place between
January 16-24 - and will be bidding to win his third Tournament of
Champions trophy, while he will also be aiming to keep his grip
intact on the coveted World No.1 spot amidst a serious challenge
from World No.2 Ali Farag.
If ElShorbagy exits the tournament at the semi-final stage or
earlier and Farag wins the tournament then the latter will claim top
spot for the first time.
27-year-old ElShorbagy - a ToC champion in 2015 and 2016 - is
featured on the same side of the draw as younger brother Marwan
ElShorbagy and defending champion Simon Rösner, and receives a bye
into round two where he will play either Switzerland’s Nicolas
Mueller or compatriot Mazen Hesham.
Meanwhile, Farag gets his tournament under way against 2010 winner
James Willstrop, while the likes of New Zealand’s Paul Coll,
Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez and 2018 runner-up Tarek Momen are all
involved on the Harvard-graduate’s side of the draw.
Welily tops the women’s draw - which begins two days after the men’s
- and will make her first appearances on the PSA Tour since
reclaiming the World No.1 spot from compatriot Nour El Sherbini on
The 29-year-old from Alexandria won this tournament in 2015 and will
look to continue a stunning start to the season which has seen her
reach four successive finals and claim two titles, including
October’s U.S. Open in Philadelphia.
El Welily is seeded to play Hong Kong Open winner Joelle King in the
semi-finals, while defending champion El Sherbini is predicted to
play World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the other last four fixture.
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy will have home hopes on her
shoulders and the 2016 runner-up receives a bye into round two where
she will play one of Canadian duo Samantha Cornett or Danielle
If she can win her second round fixture, a mouthwatering third round
match with El Tayeb will await her and she will aim to avenge her
second round defeat to the Egyptian in the 2018 Tournament of
16-year-old Marina Stefanoni takes the wildcard spot in the women’s
event for a second year running after she became the youngest player
ever to compete at the tournament last January.
The British Junior Open runner-up will take on Egypt’s Zena Mickawy
in round one. Olivia Blatchford Clyne and Haley Mendez will be the
other US women to take part, while Todd Harrity and Chris Hanson
will carry US hopes into the men’s draw.
The Tournament of Champions will be the first PSA World Tour
Platinum event of 2019 and the winners of the event will qualify for
the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.
All fixtures from the glass court at Grand Central Terminal will be
shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe
only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be broadcast by
major broadcasters around the world such as BT Sport, Fox Sports
Australia and Astro.
2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Men’s Draw
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [17/32] v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[17/32] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v [17/32] Zahed Salem (EGY)
[17/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
Ben Coleman (ENG) v [17/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[9/16] Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v [17/32] Joel Makin (WAL)
[9/16] Fares Dessouky (EGY) [bye]
George Parker (ENG) v [17/32] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[17/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
[9/16] Max Lee (HKG) [bye]
[9/16] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) [bye]
 Simon Rösner (GER) [bye]
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]
[9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
[17/32] Raphael Kandra (GER) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v [17/32] Declan James (ENG)
[17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [17/32] Borja Golan (ESP)
[17/32] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [WC] Chris Hanson (USA)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) [bye]
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye]
Todd Harrity (USA) v [17/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye]
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v [17/32] Leo Au (HKG)
[9/16] Daryl Selby (ENG) [bye]
[Pre-Qualifier] v [17/32] Ramy Ashour (EGY)
[9/16] James Willstrop (ENG) [bye]
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions - Women’s Draw
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]
Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) [bye]
 Annie Au (HKG [bye]
Coline Aumard (FRA) v [17/32] Joey Chan (HKG)
[17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
Haley Mendez (USA) v [17/32] Milou van der Heijden (NED)
[17/32] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
 Nicol David (MAS) [bye]
Alexandra Fuller (RSA) v [17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA)
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
Nada Abbas (EGY) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Samantha Cornett (CAN) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) [bye]
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [bye]
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[17/32] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
 Tesni Evans (WAL) [bye]
Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) v [17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL)
[17/32] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [Pre-Qualifier]
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [bye]
2019 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions returns to Grand Central
Terminal for the 22nd consecutive year as the second richest event
on the PSA World Tour with a combined purse of $360,000 —the highest
prize money in tournament history— held across an expanded nine days
of match play between January 16-24 in New York City.
Since 1995, one of the sport's longest-running and most iconic
tournaments has attracted the world’s top squash players to the
majestic Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central. The competition will take
place once again on the state-of-the-art Oracle NetSuite
SuiteSuccess all-glass court.
Tickets are available now on tocsquash.com/tickets.
With its combined $360,000 prize money purse, the ToC leads the
world’s top level Platinum events in the 2018-2019 season and is
second only to the sport’s first million-dollar tournament—the 2019
PSA World Championships - which will be held in Chicago in February,
The 2019 ToC has a new look following the new PSA Tour structure for
the 2018-2019 season, which sees PSA World Platinum events employ
48-player draws with no qualifying rounds. To accommodate the new
format, squash fans and passersby will enjoy an additional ninth day
of world-class squash in Grand Central from what had previously been
eight days of glass court play.
“Interest in squash has reached a new level, especially as squash
lobbies to be the next new Olympic sport in 2024 or 2028, and it is
only fitting that the world’s best known tournament here in the
heart of New York City continues to increase its prize money, pay
women and men equally and present more sessions to the public and to
ticketed fans,” said Tournament Chairman and Founder John Nimick.
The ToC welcomes its twelfth year of title sponsor support from J.P.
Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini and Germany’s Simon Rösner are set to
defend their 2018 ToC titles against the top-ranked players in the
world. El Sherbini, World No.1, has her sights set on what could be
an incredible third ToC title at just twenty-three years old. Rösner,
World No. 5, made his breakthrough at the 2018 ToC when he captured
his first career PSA World Platinum title in what was his twelfth
appearance at the tournament.
The ToC is the only sports championship presented annually in Grand
Central Terminal and is the sport’s oldest men’s professional
tournament dating back to February 1930.
Player entries and draws are set to be released in December.
In 1995, the Tournament of Champions was one of the first
events to be staged in Vanderbilt Hall when the venue was
made available for public use. The 83-year-old tournament
celebrates its 20th anniversary in Grand Central in 2017.
Ticket prices range from $8 for early round matches, going
up to $170 for the sought-after Men’s and Women’s Finals on the
evening of Thursday, January 14th.
Tickets are available online at
ToCSquash.com or by calling (718) 569-0594