World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy capped what has been a remarkable
12-months for the Bristol-based Egyptian by lifting the prestigious
2015 Allam British Open title courtesy of a 3-2 win over defending
champion Gregory Gaultier in a breath-taking finale at Hull's Airco
Arena today (May 17).
In a bruising 94-minute battle that ebbed and flowed throughout it
was Elshorbagy, who has held the number one spot unopposed since
November 2014, who fought back from 2-1 down against the formidable
Frenchman to triumph in the 'Wimbledon of Squash' for the first time
in his career.
It was a special moment for the man who has reached the final in all
of the last seven PSA World Series tournaments as it sees him write
his name in the history books alongside his mentor and coach Jonah
Barrington, the legendary star who won the British Open title six
times from 1967 - 1973 during an iconic career.
was playing so well today, he was absolutely killing me in that
second and third game and I didn’t know what to do,” Elshorbagy
“I just started hitting everything hard and just told myself not to
give up and to fight until the last point. I wanted to make him work
as hard as I could and I was maybe a little lucky in the end.
“So many prestigious names have won this trophy and to win this
title in front of Jahangir Khan [ten-time British Open winner] is
such an honour and my own coach, Jonah Barrington, won this title
six times so to be able to put my name on the same trophy is great.
called him after the match and told me that I just have to win it
five more times now! But I am really happy - It means a lot to be
able to put my name on this famous trophy and end the season is such
a great way.”
Gaultier One Step Away From
Retaining British Open Title
champion Gregory Gaultier looked in ominous form as he dispatched
dangerous Colombian World No.5 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the
semi-finals of the 2015 Allam British Open in Hull's Airco Arena
today (May 16) to keep alive his hopes of winning the prestigious
title for the third time.
The enigmatic Frenchman, who won the 'Wimbledon of Squash' in 2007
and 2014, has cruised through the tournament without dropping a
single game and took just under an hour to see off the acrobatic man
from Bogota 3-0 to set up a title-decider with World No.1 Mohamed
Gaultier has lost his last two encounters with the Bristol-based
Egyptian, including the final of the 2014 Hong Kong Open, but after
overcoming a troubling Achilles-tendon issue that has hampered his
recent tournaments the 32-year-old is relishing the chance to
contest his first PSA World Series final since that defeat in the
"Last year he (Mohamed) took my number one spot," said Gaultier.
"He's a fantastic player and he deserves to be up there but tomorrow
it's match time and you take the chance to win when you get it and
I'll be giving it 200 per cent to win.
"I lost the last few times we played so I'm happy to have a rematch
and I want to finish the season on a positive note."
booked his place in the final courtesy of a 3-1 win over 2014
runner-up and three-time champion Nick Matthew as he aims to win his
second PSA World Series title of the year to add to January's J.P.
Morgan Tournament of Champions.
“The British Open is special for everyone," said the 24-year-old.
"You always want to have your name on that prestigious trophy. For
me, I want it a bit more because I have Jonah [Barrington] as my
coach who is like my father figure as well who has won it six times
so I am determined to get my name on there beside his."
All top four seeds moved into the semi-finals of the 2015 Allam
British Open taking place at Hull's Airco Arena following a
thrilling evening of action in what is the oldest and most historic
tournament in the world of squash.
in attendance at the 'Wimbledon of Squash' were treated to an
enthralling evening in which defending champion Gregory Gaultier
stormed past giant-killing Egyptian Mazen Hesham to keep alive his
hopes of claiming back-to-back titles to join World No.1 Mohamed
Elshorbagy, World No.2 Nick Matthew and World No.5 Miguel Angel
Rodriguez in the last four.
The French World No.3 looked in imperious form as he dispatched the
21-year-old challenger 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 in 45-minutes and says he
feels confident ahead of a showdown with Colombian live wire
Rodriguez in tomorrow's (May 16) semi-finals.
"Mazen is only 21 and he's very skilful so you don't expect what's
coming and that means you have to really focus and play tight
against him," said Gaultier.
"I really enjoyed playing him and that kind of match really
activates me ahead of tomorrow. I beat Miguel two weeks ago but he
played unbelievable tonight so I will try to use my experience and
do my best and see what happens and hopefully it will be a great
match in front of a full crowd.
"I'm feeling really relaxed at the minute. I enjoy coming here and
for me it's the last push of the season. I've been struggling this
year with my Achilles but I'm really enjoying being back on court at
the moment so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Matthew, the man Gaultier beat in the finale 12 months ago, ensured
he remains on course for a fourth British Open triumph with a
dominant 3-0 win over French number two Mathieu Castagnet to show
that his recovery from a recent ankle injury continues unimpeded.
“The competitive animal that I am, I wouldn't have played just to
make up the numbers," said Matthew.
"I guess if you’d offered me a place in the semi-finals before the
tournament I’m sure I would have taken it because it means I would
have been feeling healthy but once you get to a semi-final anything
can happen - the four guys who get to that stage are all capable of
Matthew will now face World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the
semi-finals where he will hope to pick up where he left off against
the Egyptian before injury brought their semi-final encounter in El
Gouna to a premature end.
Egyptian talent Mazen Hesham produced a stunning performance
in the second round of the 2015 Allam British Open, PSA
World Series tournament, to book his place in the
quarter-finals after downing compatriot Omar Mosaad in a
giant-killing act at Hull's Airco Arena.
The World No.32, who only found himself in the main draw
following the withdrawal of four-time World Champion Amr
Shabana prior to the start of the competition, twice came
from behind in a thrilling encounter with the towering World
No.9 in which he displayed a dazzling array of talents that
was at times totally sublime.
Despite never previously making it past the qualifying
stages at the prestigious 'Wimbledon of Squash' the
youngster followed up his first round win over Hong Kong's
Leo Au to take out Mosaad and move into the quarter-finals
of a PSA World Series event for the first time in his
"I'm so happy to be in the quarter-finals of a World Series
event for the first time in my life especially in such a big
event like the British Open," said Hesham.
"This is one of the biggest wins of my career. It's the
second time I have played and beaten a top ten player and
it's an awesome feeling but it's also a little emotional
because I know him so well.
"Omar has been a role-model for me and all the other
Egyptians and he's a great sportsman and example to all of
us - he's like a big brother to me.
"I play him probably once a week so we know each other's
games pretty well but I’m sure he’s going to be happy for
me, he’s a good guy, and I'm very very happy to win and I'm
going to sleep as much, and eat as much, as I can to get
ready for tomorrow."
will now face defending champion Gregory Gaultier in the
last eight after the Frenchman rolled past England's Tom
Richards, taking just 34-minutes to complete a
straight-forward 11-3, 11-1, 11-7 win.
Elsewhere there were wins for Egyptian Tarek Momen, who
defeated compatriot Zahed Mohamed, and Colombian World No.5
Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who kept alive his hopes of reaching
the semi-finals of a PSA World Series for the second time
with a comfortable 3-0 win over Karim Abdel Gawad.
"It's been a long tough season for all the players but I
need to push especially now I'm in my second world series
quarter-final of the year and I'm going to give it my best
tomorrow," said Rodriguez.
Elshorbagy Narrowly Avoids
British Open Exit
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy narrowly avoided crashing out of the
2015 Allam British Open at the second round stage following
a gritty encounter with top Spanish player Borja Golan at
Hull's Airco Arena today (May 13).
The 24-year-old Bristol-based Egyptian, who has failed to
add to his World Series trophy tally since winning January's
J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, appeared to struggle at
times with a heavily strapped right leg but managed to find
enough in his locker to see off a spirited challenge from
"Borja played very well tonight and he played completely
differently to how he normally plays against me and he had
me very nervous," said Elshorbagy.
"Especially in the fourth game he played very well and I had
to dig deep in the fifth and use some experience to stay in
there and I'm just glad I was able to finish it off at the
"I had a bit of slip against James (Willstrop) in the first
round and hurt my leg but hopefully I can carry on all week.
It's the last event of the season and I know that even on
one leg I can keep going - I’m in the quarter–finals now and
I have a rest day to take full advantage of tomorrow."
in the day England's three-time British Open champion Nick
Matthew, the 34-year-old from Sheffield, produced a tough
come-from-behind victory over Frenchman Gregoire Marche
after just over an hour on court and will now face a second
consecutive Frenchman in the last eight in the form of World
No.11 Mathieu Castagnet.
"Gregoire made me use every ounce of experience on the court
tonight," said Matthew.
"I'm starting slowly and tentatively at the minute and you
can't afford to give these guys a head start early on,
they're getting out to 7-1 before I'm starting to get
firing, so there's plenty to work on ahead of the
The second round of the 2015 Allam British Open, PSA World Series
tournament, will be dominated by Egyptians as eight of the country's
top squash players made it through the first round of action at the
prestigious tournament currently taking place at the Airco Arena,
Despite the absence of current World Champion Ramy Ashour and
four-time World Champion Amr Shabana in this year's event Egyptian
names will still occupy 50 per cent of the last sixteen line up,
with rising stars such as Mazen Hesham and Fares Dessouki joining
the likes of World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy.
Qualifier Zahed Mohamed, the World No.39, pulled off one of the most
impressive wins of the first round courtesy of a surprise 3-2
victory over World No.18 Stephen Coppinger during the second day of
action while Karim Abdel Gawad, Omar Mosaad, Hesham and Tarek Momen
all prevailed to join Elshorbagy, Dessouki and Marwan Elshorbagy in
the second round.
on day two defending Champion Gregory Gaultier (right), the
32-year-old Frenchman, began his bid to win back-to-back trophies
with a 3-0 demolition of Malaysian qualifier Nafiizwan Adnan.
"He was really sharp in the third and I had to really push to get
though that game so I'm happy with how I came through that and I was
feeling good with how I played," said Gaultier.
Mixed Fortunes For Home
Hopes In British Open Openers
top squash stars suffered a day of mixed fortunes during the opening
round of the 2015 Allam British Open, PSA World Series event, with
three-time World Champion Nick Matthew (left in blue) the only
representative to progress on day one of action at Hull's Airco
Dubbed the 'Wimbledon of squash', the British Open is the most
prestigious tournament to take place in the United Kingdom but it
was a disappointing day for home talent, with Peter Barker, the
World No.6, James Willstrop, the World No.15 and World No.77 Ben
Coleman all suffering first round defeats.
Former World No.1 Willstrop lost out in a gigantic opener against
current World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, the Bristol-based Egyptian,
with Coleman falling to German Simon Rösner and injury ending
Barker's hopes of progress, but there was joy for Matthew as he saw
off Dutchman Laurens Jan Anjema 3-1 to continue his recovery from a
"I'm delighted to get off the court in one piece today and it feels
like I've just won a tournament at the minute because you can take
being healthy for granted at times," said the 34-year-old from
Sheffield three-time British Open winner.
"A lot of work has gone in with my physio and the team behind the
scenes to get me here to the start line. I've got 48 hours rest and
recovery now and the amount of improvement my ankle has been making
every day this week is great so hopefully we can keep that moving on
now over the next 48 hours."
Matthew came into the tournament with question marks over his
fitness after limping off court during April's El Gouna
International but the tenacious Yorkshireman utilised his wealth of
experience to move into the second round where he will face
Frenchman Gregoire Marche.
Elsewhere on day one there were impressive victories for Spaniard
Borja Golan and Egyptian pairing Fares Dessouki and Marwan
The second half of first round action continues tomorrow from 12noon
at both the Airco Arena and University of Hull.
James Willstrop, the 31-year-old from Pontefract, believes that he’s
on track to get back to his best at next week’s Allam British Open
following an injury-disrupted season on the PSA World Tour.
The former World No.1, who reached the quarter-final stage during
the 2014 edition of the tournament before being eliminated by
current World Champion Ramy Ashour, has been limited to competing in
just four events since then after undergoing treatment on a hip
injury, but he believes he’s returning to form just in time.
Willstrop made his comeback to the PSA World Tour during February’s
CASE Swedish Open and after reaching the quarter-finals during last
month’s El Gouna International, successfully coming through two
tough 60-minute encounters en route, the signs are good for the
talented shot-maker ahead of a mouth-watering first round encounter.
“I’m happy I have played in a few tournaments recently and I’ve had
the chance to get a good month of training in which gives me a great
platform to have a real go at the Allam British Open,” said the
three-time tournament runner-up.
“Getting through three hard days of squash in Egypt was more than I
could have expected and it’s a boost for me so it confirms that I’m
on the right track.
“It was brilliant playing in Hull last year, I thought the venue
looked really good and it was a pleasure to play there. Obviously
for me as well it’s only down the road which is a great comfort as I
don’t have to travel far and that’s a special thing for me to be so
close to home.
Willstrop is unseeded for the event and faces World No.1 Mohamed
Elshorbagy in the opening round, where he knows victory would open
up the draw.
“I’m playing the best player in the world straight up which is
obviously a tough ask,” he said. “But it’s also really exciting to
be honest and I’m looking forward to it.”
Relishing British Open Return
champion Gregory Gaultier says he's relishing the prospect of
returning to Hull to contest the 2015 Allam British Open as he guns
to win the title for a third time.
The Frenchman triumphed in emotional circumstances 12-months ago
when he beat home-favourite Nick Matthew comprehensively in the
finale and after returning to winning ways at last month's
Grasshopper Cup, following a prolonged calf-related niggle, he's
looking forward to returning to the scene of his last PSA World
Series tournament triumph.
"I’m really looking forward to being back in Hull," said the
"We’ve been there two times before and it’s been brilliant on both
occasions and obviously I’ve done well there as well making the
final both times and winning last year - so it's a place that I'm
looking forward to going back to.
"The tournament is fantastically organised and Dr Allam really does
a great job supporting squash and we’re all very thankful to him and
all the people involved in the tournament."
Gaultier is seeded second for the tournament, behind current World
No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, and will face a qualifier in his opening
match on Tuesday May 12 – with a match-up with England’s Daryl Selby
likely to await in the second round.