Last month’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals brought down the curtain on another memorable season on the PSA World Tour.
Over the past few weeks we have been looking back at the major moments that have lit up the PSA World Tour during the 2016/17 season, including the outstanding performers, breakthrough stars, biggest shocks, comebacks, rallies of the season and the players to watch next season.
We’re now looking back at May when Gregory Gaultier continued his impressive streak of wins to claim his fifth and sixth successive PSA World Tour titles
Gaultier (front) in action against Farag (back) at the Grasshopper Cup
Frenchman Gaultier continued his unbeaten run in May as he picked up the 39th title of his career at the Grasshopper Cup in Zurich after defeating Egyptian Ali Farag in the final.
The 34-year-old continued to go unbeaten – not losing a competitive match since January as he claimed the Swedish Open, Windy City Open, British Open and El Gouna International in succession and he made it five in a row after narrowly edging past World No.8 Farag courtesy of a 3-0 scoreline that didn’t truly reflect the competitiveness of the match.
Farag proved to be tough competition for Gaultier as he read the Frenchman’s game well to counter his attacks and cause him problems as Gaultier managed to take the first game by a narrow 11-9 margin.
The second game also began with Farag making life difficult for Gaultier but the Frenchman rose to the challenge as he took the second by an 11-9 scoreline once again.
Gaultier appeared to drop off slightly in the third, as Farag fought back to go ahead 4-1 and then 7-2. The Egyptian managed to stay ahead until 10-8 but with two game balls in hand, he tinned two in succession to see the game into a tie break – which Gaultier managed to sneak 14-12 courtesy of another error from the Egyptian.
A fortnight later at the inaugural PMI Bellevue Squash Classic, Gaultier continued his unbeaten run as he lifted his sixth successive PSA World Tour title as he, once again, got the better of Farag – a win which would also see him return to the top of the PSA Men’s World Rankings the following month.
The man from Egypt once again caused problems for the French General as he pushed him to tie-breaks in the opening two games, with Gaultier forced to fightback from a game ball down in the opener and then four game balls down in the second to take the lead.
Farag continued to perform well in the third as he went 6-3 up but Gaultier dug in resiliently once more to move out in front and seal the win to make it 27 matches undefeated and ten matches without dropping a single game.
The Bellevue Classic was also the most lucrative 16-man main draw squash tournament of all time, with a share of the $150,000 prize fund up for grabs.
One of the other big wins of the tournament saw Marwan ElShorbagy claim a huge victory in the quarter-finals over three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour at the Bellevue Squash Classic.
ElShorbagy’s only previous win against Ashour had come during the 2016 El Gouna International but Ashour was unable to see the match out on that occasion, retiring mid-way through the second game.
The enigmatic Ashour was far from his best throughout the 39-minute encounter but a ruthless display from ElShorbagy made sure there was no hope of a revival from the 29-year-old as he dispatched him by an 11-8, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6 margin.
Later in the month, Egypt’s Mohamed Abouelghar collected his first PSA World Tour title in almost two years courtesy of victory over compatriot Zahed Mohamed in the final of the 2017 Sporta Guatemala X Torneo Internacional PSA Sporta.
The Egyptian had impressed earlier in the year with his win over World Champion, Karim Abdel Gawad, at the British Open and showed good form once more to come through in straight games, winning 11-6, 11-5, 11-3 to down Moham and claim the PSA M50 title – the seventh of his career and biggest tournament win to date.
Full list of winners
Abu Dhabi Open 2017 – Vikram Malhotra (IND)
Bull Ring Open Squash Championships 2017 (Men’s title) – Mohamed El Sherbini (EGY)
Bull Ring Open Squash Championships 2017 (Women’s title) – Menna Hamed (EGY)
Tour De Las Americas Decker Camiones 2DO Mar Del Plata Open 2017 – Angus Gillams (ENG)
Grasshopper Cup 2017 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Jersey Squash Classic 2017 (Men’s title) – Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
Jersey Squash Classic 2017 (Women’s title) – Milou van der Heijden (NED)
Austrian Open 2017 – Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
Tour De Las Americas Gobierno de la Provincia del Chaco Regatas Resistencia Open 2017 – Robertino Pezzota (ARG)
Malaysian Squash Tour IX 2017 (Men’s title) – Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND)
Malaysian Squash Tour IX 2017 (Women’s title) – Rachel Arnold (MAS)
Arnold Homes Tring Open 2017 – Declan James (ENG)
SYS Open 2017 – Ramit Tandon (IND)
Squash Revolution Mid Atlantic Pro Classic 2017 – Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari (PAK)
NT Open 2017 – Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic 2017 – Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Tour De Las Americas Paraguay Open 2017 – Leandro Romiglio (ARG)
Vitesse Stortford Classic 2017 – Greg Lobban (SCO)
Open International d’Angers 2017 – Victor Crouin (FRA)
2nd Nissan Open Squash Championships 2017 (Men’s title) – Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (IND)
2nd Nissan Open Squash Championships 2017 (Women’s title) – Satomi Watanabe (JPN)
Sekisui Open 2017 (Men’s title) – Raphael Kandra (GER)
Sekisui Open 2017 (Women’s title) – Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
Sporta Guatemala X Torneo Internacional PSA Sporta 2017 – Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Hasta La Vista Open 2017 – Edmon Lopez (ESP)
Rhiwbina PSA Welsh Men’s Open 2017 – George Parker (ENG)
Gibson O’Connor North Shore Open 2017 (Men’s title) – Joshua Larkin (AUS)
Gibson O’Connor North Shore Open 2017 (Women’s title) – Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)