names were etched into the record books of both the Men's and
Women's J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions today (Jan 19) as
Egypt's Karim Abdel Gawad, World No.2, and France's Camille Serme,
World No.4, were crowned 2017 champions on an electric night inside
New York's Grand Central Terminal.
The pair, both competing in the PSA World Series tournament title
decider for the first time in their careers, prevailed in thrilling
encounters with Gregory Gaultier and Laura Massaro, respectively, to
take the spoils and add their names to an illustrious list of past
25-year-old Gawad came from behind against World No.3 Gaultier to
win 6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6, extending his unbeaten streak to 16
matches to win a third consecutive major title - adding to the Qatar
Classic and World Championship titles he won last November.
"Winning the Tournament of Champions, here in this venue, is an
amazing feeling and I feel absolutely fantastic right now," said
with Greg are always tough and they can change at any moment. He has
beaten me so many times before that I know even at match ball up he
isn't beaten. I've learnt a lot from him and I thought it was a
great match tonight.
"It's been an amazing week. I'm over the moon. To win three big
titles like the World Championship and Qatar Classic is a great
feeling and I have to thank my coaches for the support and hard work
that has been put in for the past few years.
"I'm really enjoying my squash at the moment so hopefully I can keep
that going in the next tournament."
Gaultier said: "I had a great week here and I gave it all that I
could. I gave beyond 100 per cent."
Serme meanwhile proved that she truly is the player to beat at
present on the Women's Tour by downing No.2 Nouran Gohar, No.1 Nour
El Sherbini and No.5 Massaro to add the ToC title to the U.S. Open
crown she won last October.
The 27-year-old French World No.4 started strong against Massaro,
taking a tie-break opening game 13-11, but faded fast as the
Englishwoman's will and determination came to the fore. But at 2-2
Serme responded impressively, stepping up the court to get the
better of Massaro and run out an 13-11, 8-11, 4-11, 11-3, 11-7
can't believe it," said Serme.
"Winning this title and winning two World Series titles in a row,
beating the World No.1 and No.2 and coming from 2-1 down today to
beat Laura, it is absolutely amazing.
"I can't believe I managed to come back today. It was such a big
match for both of us. I had to fight myself, because I felt tired
and flat, but I could see she was as well. We didn't play our best -
we were both tired and nervous.
after third game my coaches tried to wake me up, they said the right
things and they told me to try and play like I did at the US Open so
I went out there in the fourth like I was going into a boxing ring.
I just had to fight and fight for it.
"I've been working hard in training and to see it all pay off like
this is so encouraging - I'm delighted."
duo Gregory Gaultier, Men's World No.3, and Camille Serme, Women's
World No.4, derailed the challenge of 2016 tournament winners
Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini to come through two dramatic
and enthralling semi-final encounters at the 2017 J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions Semi FInals.
Inside Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall Gaultier, 2009
champion, prevailed 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 11-7 in an 84-minute
encounter with 2015 and 2016 winner ElShorbagy that had the
theatrics, drama and intrigue befitting a broadway classic.
34-year-old strutted extravagantly around court, playing with pace,
precision and guile to take a 2-0 lead, delighting the crowd with
his theatrical celebrations before a contentious referee decision at
8-7 in the third swung the match. The Frenchman capitulated, first
mentally and then physically - as a troublesome left glute hampered
his movement - allowing ElShorbagy to level 2-2. But a stunned
crowd, silenced by what they were witnessing, watched on as Gaultier,
playing on one leg, displayed all the traits of his 'General'
moniker to regain control and seal a dramatic victory.
"I felt my glute go during my match with Tarek (Momen) and it was
sore this morning - but after warming up today it was fine and I had
no problem in those first two games," said Gaultier.
"In the third game I could feel it tighten and then at 8-7 that
decision should have gone my way and I lost my dynamic. I could have
gone through to win 3-0 and then it was 2-2. At that point I just
wanted to shake hands - I was in a lot of pain.
"But my coaches told me just to fight for every point. I played
smart and it maybe got in his head and he got a little shaky. I was
injured all year in 2016 - so I am very determined to come back.
This is a beautiful place to play squash and you want to give your
all in these kind of locations.
a lot of talk about Egyptian players dominating at the moment but
there are players from other countries here as well, and we're
showing that we are still competing and that our names deserve to be
on trophies as well."
Gaultier will face Egypt's World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in the
title-decider after he produced a sublime performance to beat James
Willstrop in straight games while it was Gaultier's compatriot Serme
who captured attention in the Women's draw with a 3-1 defeat of
World No.1 El Sherbini.
beat World No.2 Nouran Gohar yesterday and injected pace from the
off today to unsettle El Sherbini, working her favoured backhand
with relentless accuracy, to win 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6 and secure
her first appearance in the iconic event's title-decider.
"I was so focused on the match and making sure I played as well as I
could that it hasn't really sunk in that I'm into the final yet,"
said 27-year-old Serme.
"I dreamt of playing this event - the venue is unbelievable - so
it's amazing to know I will be playing in the final here tomorrow
with a chance to win. I've beaten the #1 and #2 players so I have to
take confidence that I'm playing some of my best ever squash.
feel like there's still improvements to be made but I'm on the right
track. Tomorrow will be a different challenge again so I'll give it
my best and see what happens - it's very exciting."
Serme will face England's Laura Massaro, 2014 runner-up, in the
decider ensuring a new Women's champion will be crowned.
Sarah-Jane Perry, World No.11, triumphed in a remarkable
rollercoaster encounter with 2015 tournament winner Raneem El Welily,
World No.3, in New York today (Jan 17) to reach the semi-finals of
the iconic 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament Champions and secure her
first ever appearance in the last four of a PSA World Series
Perry halted home favourite Amanda Sobhy, 2016 runner-up, in an epic
five-game thriller yesterday but showed no signs of fatigue as she
raced to a 2-0 game lead over El Welily. But the wheels looked to
have come off the track as the Egyptian levelled up at 2-2 before
taking a 4-1 lead in the decider.
A sublime run of nine consecutive points however swung the match
back in favour of Birmingham-based Perry as she completed the 11-7,
12-10, 10-12, 5-11, 11-5 win to set up a seismic clash with
compatriot Laura Massaro, guaranteeing an English finalist.
"That's my first win over Raneem, to reach my first ever World
Series semi-final, and I get to play here again inside Grand Central
Terminal tomorrow - so I'm very pleased and very proud," said Perry.
been working hard on and off court for the past year and I've got
more confidence and belief in myself. And having that self-belief is
imperative at this level because I was 2-0 up and all of a sudden
she was back and I was down in the fifth - so I had to really work
hard to make sure I got back on track.
"I didn't realise I won 9 points in a row. I was just focusing on
each point, getting my discipline back, and refusing to stop
believing and I'm excited about the semi-finals tomorrow.
"I've played Laura many times and it's a massive match. I'm just
going to focus on trying to play how I want to play and do my best."
Perry will take on Massaro, World No.5, after the 33-year-old from
Preston dominated last eight opponent Omneya Abdel Kawy, World No.9,
winning 11-4, 12-10, 11-6, while World No.1 Nour El Sherbini kept
her title defence alive with a narrow victory over 8x World Champion
Nicol David in a thrilling 64 minute battle.
Sherbini will now meet Camille Serme, World No.4, after the
Frenchwoman knocked out World No.2 Nouran Gohar in a hugely
impressive 3-1 win that was inspired by a newly adopted training
technique - yoga.
"Nouran beat me twice last year in very tough five game battles so I
knew it would be hard today,' said Serme, who beat El Sherbini 3-1
in the U.S. Open final last October.
"But I had no pressure on me. She's No.2 in the World and I felt
like the pressure was on her - I just focused on what I needed to
do, which is exactly what I done at the U.S. Open as well, so I'm
very, very happy.
"I'm trying to get into the same state of mind as I was in
Philadelphia. I started Yoga recently and anytime I feel nervous I
use the respiration techniques to try and let it go - and it seems
to be helping!"
the men's draw it was another No.11, James Willstrop, who backed up
his headline grabbing defeat of perennial rival Nick Matthew - his
first win in 20 attempts over his old adversary - with an
accomplished 3-1 win over New Zealand's Paul Coll to reach his first
World Series tournament semi-final since the 2013 Kuwait Cup.
33-year-old Willstrop, the 2011 tournament winner, utilised his
exquisite court-craft and ball placement to counter the unrelenting
physicality of the 24-year-old, ending Coll's 10-match winning
streak, and set up an intriguing battle with Egyptian World Champion
Karim Abdel Gawad.
"I'm very happy to get through today because he's flying at the
moment and arguably one of the in-form players out there - to break
that run I had to play very well," said Willstrop.
"I had to make sure I didn't lose sight of the end goal. He makes
the court so small with his physicality and speed that you have to
keep putting the work in, move him around as much as possible and
try to break him down
have to put the ball in good areas against guys like Nick and Paul
because they're such wonderful athletes. I've done that well in the
past two rounds and I'm excited at the chance to be out on that
stage against tomorrow and I'm keen to soak it up.
"But there's no reason that I can't look to progress further. I feel
alright and if I'm beating players like Paul then I'm set to go and
hopefully I can produce it again. It's my favourite event - the
venue speaks for itself - and there's nothing like being here. I've
had some great moments here and hopefully I'll have a few more still
Sarah-Jane Perry, World No.11, stunned a capacity crowd inside New
York's Grand Central Terminal as she downed crowd favourite and 2016
runner-up Amanda Sobhy in a thrilling five-game battle to reach the
last eight of the iconic J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
The 26-year-old from Birmingham produced one the best performances
of her career as she thwarted Sobhy's all-out attacking style to
claim a huge win that sees her into a PSA World Series tournament
quarter-final for the first time since the 2015 British Open, on a
day that also saw Egyptian World No.3 Raneem El Welily, No.2 Nouran
Gohar and defending champion Nour El Sheribi, World No.1, come
through in unconvincing fashion.
"I beat Nicol (David) in September which was huge for me and this
win today is similar to that," said Perry, who won 9-11, 14-12,
12-10, 8-11, 11-5 after 67 minutes.
"They were both big matches in amazing locations (Grand Central and
the Pyramids of Giza) against very strong opponents. You don't get
to play in better venues than those so it's great to get that win
"I watched her (Sobhy) here last year and saw how much she enjoyed
playing in front of a loud supportive crowd, so I just had to put
that out of my mind. I had to focus on playing my way, not going
short too much, and I stuck to my plan just enough to edge it.
"I changed coach about 14 months ago and have had some good results
in the past six months. It's all about believing in myself,
approaching the game slightly differently mentally and going on
court believing that I can compete with anyone and I know if I can
stick to my game plan, win or lose I'll be happy."
will face 2015 winner El Welily for a place in the semi-finals after
she edged past Indian Dipika Pallikal Karthik while 8x World
Champion David put in a second consecutive performance of total
domination to down Annie Au 3-0 to underline her championship
credentials and set up a quarter-final encounter with El Sherbini.
David and El Sherbini met here at the same stage last year, when El
Sherbini recorded the second of five consecutive wins over David en
route to the title, but the Malaysian will likely have her best
chance yet to halt that run and install a needed confidence boost
with El Sherbini struggling to hit her stride in the event to date -
having narrowly beaten Salma Many Ibrahim in four games today.
"I'm pleased with my performance today," said David.
"You don't get to experience something like playing in Grand Central
Terminal every day and when you train so hard and work all your
life, you just want to be in venues like this competing with the
best players and enjoying it.
"I'm excited to play Nour here. I'm going to give it my all tomorrow
and we'll see what happens."
the Men's tournament World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy kept his title
defence alive by beating younger brother Marwan, World No.6, in
straight games to secure his place in the semi-finals where
Frenchman Gregory Gaultier awaits after beating Tarek Momen 3-1.
"I think people enjoy watching us but it's not fun competing against
each other and it's hard for everyone in the family," said Mohamed.
"But we have to deal with it and I'm very glad to have won today and
to be coming back here to compete in another match in this amazing
"The crowd here make it very special and they show us some great
support so I'm looking forward to the next round."
33-year-old James Willstrop ended a 10-year, 19-match losing streak
against perennial domestic rival Nick Matthew to knock the
36-year-old from Sheffield out of the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions with a 73-minute 11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4 second round
victory in New York today (Jan 15).
The pair met for the 34th time last month when Matthew scored an
impressive straight-games win in the final of the British Grand
Prix. But under the chandeliers of Grand Central Terminal's
Vanderbilt Hall Willstrop turned recent history on its head,
producing a free-flowing attacking performance that saw him pull out
every tantalising trick in his repertoire and recover from going 1-2
down in games to complete the victory, his first over Matthew since
the 2007 English Open Final.
"It's taken me a long time to notch that win against him, so I'm
pleased," said Willstrop.
"Last month I didn't play well against him and I was more
disappointed with the performance than the result.
"I think the squash today was as good as it has ever been between us
and we both played some very accurate stuff. I know what I'm capable
of and I've been trying to work out the way to break him down for a
long time. Today I did just enough to come through.
"And the best thing is I get to play here once again because I love
being here at this event. To be out there and performing well in a
good game of squash, it's just brilliant."
After the match Matthew said: "He deserved it - even when I was 2-1
up I didn't feel like I was on top.
"He was the aggressor today and I felt like I was chasing it. He's a
class player and we've played some massive matches, so that win was
coming some day. He's too good a player to have a record like that."
will now face tournament surprise package Paul Coll for a place in
the semi-finals after the 24-year-old qualifier from New Zealand
scored an unexpected win over World No.7 and ex-Harvard student Ali
Farag to reach the last eight of a PSA World Series tournament for
the first time in his career.
The physical powerhouse, who competes in Crossfit games for pleasure
when not in squash action, prevailed 3-1 to extend his unbeaten
streak on the PSA World Tour to 10 consecutive matches.
Coll came through qualification to defy the odds and claim the PSA
M100 Channel Vas Championship in December - a victory that saw him
become the first Kiwi since 1995 to break the top 20 rankings - and
continued to enjoy a purple patch as he nullified the supremely
talented Farag 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7.
"I'm very happy - I'm was worried that I'd get knocked out in
qualification here so to reach the quarter-finals is very pleasing,"
"I know Ali from juniors and know he's a quality player who's very
talented with the racket, so I told myself just to focus on
countering what he does and take it from there.
"I've been training hard, like I always do, and it has started to
pay off recently. I just try to play the way I like to play. I love
the physical side of the game and I'm just embracing that and it's
working for me at the minute.
"Winning in December gave me a tonne of belief that I can compete
with these guys up at the very top and to be backing that up again
this week is a huge confidence boost."
World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad won a five-game war of attrition
with Australian Cameron Pilley to keep his tournament alive and set
up a meeting with Germany's Simon Rösner.
the Women's event 2016 runner-up and local New York crowd favourite
Amanda Sobhy got her 2017 campaign off to an emphatic winning start
by demolishing Australia's Donna Urquhart 3-0 in just 24 minutes.
Sobhy put in a performance packed with typical aggressive shot
making as she out-gunned and out-though Urquhart to send out a
strong signal to the opposition as she looks to improve on last
"It's great to be back here in New York at one of my favourite
events - I love it here and just enjoy being out there in front of
so many supporting fans," said Sobhy.
"It fuels me that I got to the final here last year and I want to do
better. I've also lost two World Series finals and they say three's
the charm, so hopefully that'll be this week.
"It would be great to do well here. It's a goal to win this event.
I've been putting in the work and I know I'm fit enough to compete
with the top players and have the confidence to be the best, so
hopefully that can carry me through and help convert some of that
will be more than just a place in the semi-final of one of squash's
most iconic tournaments - the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions - at stake inside New York's Grand Central Terminal come
Monday (Jan 16) as family bragging rights will also be on the line
for ElShorbagy brothers Mohamed and Marwan.
The 26-year-old World No.1 and 23-year-old World No.6 made light
work of second round opponents Ryan Cuskelly and Stephen Coppinger
respectively to set up a last eight showdown that will see them meet
for the seventh time on the PSA World Tour - with elder brother
Mohamed enjoying a 100 per cent record to date.
They last met at the same stage during the 2016 U.S. Open, when
Mohamed claimed a 3-0 win on the way to the title, but after
defeating Cuskelly in straight-games tonight the defending ToC
champion admitted that he expects his brother to push him to the
limits this time around.
"I've won all our matches so far but he's learning every time we
play and he's getting closer and closer to that win," said Mohamed.
"It's something special to have two brothers playing and competing
against each other - it's like the Williams sisters in tennis - and
it's something our family can be very proud of.
"One day he will beat me, but hopefully not at this tournament
because I felt like I played very high quality squash today. I have
trained hard in the past month and I'm feeling good, so hopefully I
can carry that on.
"It took me nine attempts to defeat (Amr) Shabana and Greg (Gaultier)
and I had to take everything out of them to get those first wins. I
make it as hard as possible for my brother as well because I know
when he beats me he will be a complete player - when that happens I
will be incredibly proud.
"It's the second World Series event this season where we've met at
this stage and he's been playing well, so I'm looking forward to a
of the match up Marwan said: "I'm excited to be in the quarters. To
play my brother in the last eight in a setting like Grand Central
Terminal is something I never dreamed would happen.
"I've been close to him a few times and I'll try to step up another
level on Monday. He's playing well, but so I am, so we'll see what
The victor of their battle could find themselves lining up against
2009 Tournament of Champions winner Gregory Gaultier in the semis
after the 2015 World Champion staged a resurrection in his second
round encounter, coming from 0-2 down to defeat an inspired Fares
The 22-year-old Egyptian recorded his first career win over Gaultier
in their last meeting, during last August's Hong Kong Open, and
looked to have gotten under the Frenchman's skin as he recorded
11-9, 11-8 opening game wins. But the man know as "The General'
found a way back into the contest, stepping up and asserting his
physicality to extend the rallies and edge a decisive fifth game
"Last time in Hong Kong he played very well and I was on the
back-foot throughout so today I was very focused as I knew what
could happen," said Gaultier.
"But in the first two games I was rushing and making too many
errors. At 0-2 down I tried to just make him work harder and be
constructive and I could see he was beginning to tire.
"I had to dig in and play at the right pace. I'm glad I made it
through, it was a good fight and I'm happy with how I managed to
the Women's tournament, which got underway with first round action
today, it was plain sailing for defending champion Nour El Sherbini
and eight-time World Champion Nicol David as they recorded dominant
El Sherbini easily dispatched Hong Kong's Joey Chan while David, who
fell to a 12 year low of No.7 on the World Rankings in December
after a disappointing 2016 campaign, got her 2017 off to a positive
start with a 23 minute demolition of former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf.
"2016 was a disappointing year in terms of results but I felt like I
was enjoying my squash again towards the back end of the year and I
feel like I've carried that through into 2017," said David.
"It was a tough year and I really had to work hard because of the
challenges. But that made it one of the biggest years of learning in
my career and I'm still very motivated.
"I had to come out strong today and I felt like I was seeing the
ball well and moving well. I put her under pressure from the start
and I'm happy to start with a good win."
World No.2 Nouran Gohar secured similarly straight forward passage
into the second round with a 3-0 win over Mayar Hany while Egyptian
qualifier Salma Hany Ibrahim produced the upset of the day to down
England's top ten ranked Alison Waters.
English duo Nick Matthew and James Willstrop will write another
chapter into their long-standing rivalry after coming through their
opening match-ups at the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions -
taking place inside New York's Grand Central Terminal - to set up a
tantalising second round encounter.
Winners of the 2012 and 2010 iterations of the iconic PSA World
Series tournament respectively, the 36 and 33-year-old Yorkshire-men
have met 34 times previously on the professional circuit and both
looked on form as they dispatched Colombian Miguel Angel Rodriguez
and Scotland's Alan Clyne to start their title-bids in impressive
"Alan played incredibly well today and in the early stages I
struggled to match him physically and mentally," said Matthew, who
came from a game down to defeat the Scottish number one.
"He really woke me up and shook off any cobwebs from the Christmas
break so I'm happy to come through, but there's plenty to work on
for the next match against James."
statesman Matthew has dominated the head-to-head with Willstrop,
winning their past 19 consecutive matches, including the final of
last December's British Grand Prix. But having watched Willstrop
complete an impressive 3-0 win over former World No.4 Rodriguez he
knows he will have to be on form to keep his streak alive in what is
a rare early-tournament meeting between the duo.
"You have to focus on what you're doing out there but it is great to
see James back in form," he added.
"We played in the final of the British Grand Prix before Christmas
and we're used to playing in semis and finals of big tournaments, so
to meet in a second round match will be something new.
"There won't be four of five matches in our legs and we both have a
day off tomorrow, so we will be fresh. He's playing well and he's
hungry for that win, so it's going to be tough."
Champion Karim Abdel Gawad, the 25-year-old vying for his first
Tournament of Champions crown, also came through his opening
encounter but was made to work hard by compatriot Zahed Mohamed, who
also took him to the brink during last year's Qatar Classic.
Mohamed stunned the in-from Gawad in the opening game as he game
from multiple game balls down to take it against the run of play but
Gawad showed the traits that have seen him rocket up the rankings
over the past six months as he came back to take the match 10-12,
11-8, 11-5, 11-7.
"We've played each other since we were kids and we've always had
tough matches so I knew it wouldn't be easy today," said Gawad.
"I've been working very hard since May to move up the rankings. To
be seeded number two brings a lot of tough mental challenges, and
you have to be very consistent, but these are the things you have to
deal with if you want to be number one."
Gawad will face Australian number one Cameron Pilley in the second
after the 34-year-old beat German Raphael Kandra 3-0.
No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy began his second consecutive J.P. Morgan
Tournament of Champions title defence with a straight-games victory
over English challenger Declan James inside New York's Grand Central
Terminal today, albeit courtesy of a scoreline that belied the
intensity of the duo's 52 minute encounter.
Competing under Vanderbilt Hall's sparkling chandeliers James, the
23-year-old qualifier who was making his debut appearance at the PSA
World Series tournament, showed no signs of being overawed by either
his opponent or the setting as he took the match to the top seed
from the off.
The Nottingham-based man matched ElShorbagy's trademark ferocity
during the opening exchanges, forcing the Egyptian into a series of
errors to earn the first game ball opportunity. But ElShorbagy dug
deep to take the opener against the run of play, turning the match
on its head and setting up the platform for a 16-14, 11-5, 11-6
victory - one that sees him take the first steps towards making up
for a 'disappointing' start to the 2016/17 season.
"Declan played very, very well out there," said ElShorbagy, who
celebrated his 26th birthday today.
"I was playing at a very quick pace in the first game, and with it
being his first match here in this setting I thought he would
struggle to settle into the match. But he stepped up and controlled
me. I was defending for large parts there and had to really dig in.
"Winning here the past few years was great, but nothing lasts for
ever and if you start to take things for granted you can lose them
"This season so far hasn't gone the way I wanted - it's been very up
and down. So in the past month I've been training very hard and
addressing what went wrong and I'm really looking forward to the
second half of the season now.
"This week I need to keep focused and keep improving."
ElShorbagy was joined in the second round by a quartet of
compatriots as younger brother and World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy,
Omar Mosaad, Tarek Momen and Fares Dessouky all secured opening day
victories while charismatic Frenchman Gregory Gaultier returned to
the court that derailed his 2016 campaign with an emphatic 3-0 win
over Peruvian Diego Elias.
suffered an ankle injury during his semi-final encounter with Nick
Matthew here 12 months ago and looked to send out a message to his
title-contenders as he ruthlessly dispatched Elias in just 39
"I was very fired up today because I had a poor year in 2016 with
injuries and I was unable to perform as I wanted for most of the
year," said Gaultier.
"But I'm back fully fresh physically and mentally and I wanted to
show that 2016 was nothing compared to what will come in 2017.
"I played very aggressive today and my shots were going well so I'm
very happy with how I played."
The top three qualifying seeds in the 2017 J.P. Morgan Tournament of
Champions, PSA World Series event fell to surprise defeats on the
final day of qualification, with Cesar Salazar, Gregoire Marche and
Omar Abdel Meguid all missing out on a place in the main draw, which
will be staged in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
Salazar, the World No.26, came up against Raphael Kandra in his
fixture, but fell two games behind after a strong start from the
German World No.43.
Salazar prevailed in the third to halve the deficit, only to see a
resilient Kandra hold firm in the fourth to triumph on the tie-break
and seal a place in the main draw of the Tournament of Champions for
the second year in a row, where he will take on Australian No.1
Meanwhile, Marche and Meguid fell to the same fate as Salazar as
they lost out to Hong Kong’s Tsz Fung Yip and Scotland’s Alan Clyne,
Yip’s reward is a main draw clash with World No.7 Ali Farag, while
Clyne will need to navigate his way past three-time World Champion
and 2012 winner Nick Matthew.
England’s World No.38 Declan James upset Hong Kong’s Leo Au to set
up a main draw meeting with defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy,
while New Zealand’s Paul Coll continued his recent good form,
beating compatriot Campbell Grayson to secure a maiden Tournament of
Champions main draw berth against England’s Chris Simpson.
Botswana’s former World No.12 Alister Walker saw his qualifying
campaign come to an end at the hands of Switzerland’s Nicolas
Mueller, while there were also wins for Nafiizwan Adnan and Tom
Richards as qualification drew to a close.
The main draw of the Men's Tournament of Champions takes place from
January 12-19, with the Women's main draw beginning on January 14
and finishing on January 19.
three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour has withdrawn from the
upcoming J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions due to injury.
The 29-year-old, a three-time winner of the event that gets underway
inside New York's Grand Central Terminal this Thursday (Jan 12),
conceded the final of the 2016 World Championship last November due
to injury and has failed to recover in time to compete this week.
As a result German number one Simon Rösner moves up inside the main
draw to number eight seed with Egyptian Zahed Mohamed moving into
the main draw from qualification, where a first round encounter with
current World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad awaits.
Squash in 2017 is set to start with an emphatic bang when the iconic
J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions returns for its 20th anniversary
amidst the grandeur of one of world sports most breathtaking
locations – New York City's Grand Central Terminal –
between January 12 – 19, 2017.
With the lure of competing in one of the world's most popular cities
and with equality in prize money assured, the 24 top-ranking men’s
and women’s players have been confirmed amidst a draw that will see
128 players descend on New York to compete for the first major
honours of the year, and one of the sport's most sought after
Defending champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini of
Egypt, both of whom currently hold the respective World No.1
rankings, will face stiff competition to retain their titles, with
ElShorbagy going up against a quartet of past champions in the form
of Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, English duo James WIllstrop and Nick
Matthew and Ramy Ashour of Egypt. El Sherbini meanwhile heads a
women's draw that contain three previous champions; compatriot
Raneem El Welily, Natalie Grinham of the Netherlands and Malaysia’s
El Sherbini faces a tricky first round encounter with unorthodox
Hong Kong player Joey Chan before a potentially mammoth
quarter-final encounter with David, while El Welily is seeded to
meet American number one and 2016 runner-up Amanda Sobhy in a last
eight encounter that will see a capacity crowd cheer on the US
In the men's draw Gaultier will face former World Junior Champion
Diego Elias in one of the stand out first round encounters while
Willstrop, the 2010 winner, will face 2014 semi-finalist and crowd
favourite Miguel Angel Rodriguez in what promises to be a thrilling
battle of styles. Should Willstrop come through then a second round
encounter with perennial domestic rival Nick Matthew is likely to
await while 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and three-time
World Champion Ramy Ashour are seeded to meet in an electrifying
last eight encounter.
“It is fitting that on the 20th anniversary of staging the ToC in
the awe-inspiring setting of Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt
Hall we have been treated to one of the strongest line-ups and most
compelling draws in the tournament's history,” said John Nimick,
President of Squash Engine, Inc., the tournament promoter.
“To have all of the world's top male and female players, a host of
current and past champions, and some of the most promising talents
in the game come together for the first event of the year is
incredibly exciting. The strength of the field is testament to the
enthusiasm of the ToC crowds and the allure of competing on one of
the sport’s grandest stages.”
“The uniqueness and energy of competing in Grand Central Terminal
has created an unparalleled spectator experience for our onsite sell
-out crowds, as well as fans worldwide who follow the action on live
web-streaming or broadcast TV and we look forward to what promises
to be another exciting edition of the ToC this January.”
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