Wins Historic PSA World Series Finals Crown
RESULTS: ATCO PSA World Series Squash
Finals, London, England
 Amr Shabana (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier
(FRA) 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 (91m)
The ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals
- covered live by Sky Sports - came to a glorious
conclusion today at The Queen's Club in London
when Egyptian maestro Amr Shabana rolled back the
years to win the $110,000 PSA World Tour title, and
his first ever squash trophy on British soil.
The sensational 91-match, in which the
32-year-old four-time world champion was taken the full
distance by higher-ranked Frenchman Gregory Gaultier,
was a fitting climax to the flagship PSA Tour event which
featured the eight most successful players from the nine
PSA World Series championships in 2011.
World No3 Gaultier, celebrating his fourth
final in four appearances in the championship, came out with
all guns blazing and quickly opened up a 5-0 lead before
going on to take the game.
Shabana, the former world No1 now ranked
eight in the world, seemed revitalised in the second and -
helped by a sudden spurt of unforced errors from his
opponent - battled to game-ball at 10-5. But the stylish
left-hander was unable to close out the game as the younger
Frenchman gradually reduced the deficit before drawing
The game was characterised by two incredible
marathon rallies - the veteran Egyptian matching the
29-year-old Gaultier shot after shot. The courageous Shabana
refused to bow down, however, and finally claimed his sixth
game ball to draw level.
From 4-6 down in the third, Shabana won five
points in a row as Gaultier became embroiled in arguments
with the referee. The former champion took another point but
it was the Egyptian who maintained the upper hand to take
the game and move 2/1 up.
Despite the pundits' view that longer matches
would favour the younger player, Shabana capitalised on his
momentum to lead 7-6 in the fourth. But the Aix-en-Provence
ace refocused to take the next five points in a row to force
a fifth game.
The packed Queen's Club crowd certainly got
their money's worth - and no more so than at two-all in the
decider when Shabana twice dived full length in the rally to
keep the ball in play, and Gaultier inexplicably responded
by putting the ball into the tin to give the Egyptian the
The next two points went to Gaultier, but
thereafter it was Shabana who maintained the lead - and
after one match-ball was saved, it was an irretrievable
backhand drop shot from the back of the court that gave
Shabana his historic 6-11, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8 victory.
The crowd gave the two players a standing
ovation while Shabana lay flat on his back outside the
court. When Sky MC Natalie Pinkham began to interview
the new champion after he sat up, he urged her to keep on
talking while he got his breath back!
When asked to sum up his feelings about his
win at this stage of his career, Shabana admitted that he
had considered quitting the game a year ago: "I can't player
better. I was nearly out last year - thinking about if it's
time to watch the players play rather than competing with
"If it wasn't for my friends and family - one
of whom was Greg, who kept telling me to push - I think I
would have retired. I tried my best."
How special was it to win his first title in
the UK, asked Ms Pinkham: "I'm not going to miss that
question, so I thank god I won't be asked it again now that
I have won," said the Cairo-based star, who now boasts 28
PSA World Tour titles.
Gaultier also joined in the post-match
interview: "I am disappointed to lose - but I am really
happy for him as he was struggling last year. I learned a
lot from him - he's great for the game," said the Frenchman.
"Hopefully I will win the next one!"