Perry secures debut PSA World Series Finals spot

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England’s Sarah-Jane Perry will compete in the lucrative season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals for the first time in June after a superb run to the final at the Allam British Open saw her seal a place amongst the top eight on the concluding Women’s PSA Road To Dubai Standings.

Only the top eight players on the standings qualify for a coveted place at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals – which will take place inside the Dubai Opera House from June 6-10, 2017 – where an equal £160,000 prize purse will be on offer in both the Men’s and Women’s draws.

“I’ve never been to Dubai before and never played at the World Series Finals so I’m very excited to experience it all,” said Perry.

“At the start of the season my aims were to make the top eight in the World Rankings and I’ve managed to achieve that, so to qualify for Dubai is a huge bonus. There will be no pressure on me – I’ll just go out there and enjoy the experience and try to play some good squash.

“It will be a fantastic way to end the season.”

The 26-year-old from Birmingham came through the field in Hull to defeat eight-time World Champion Nicol David and reach her first PSA World Series tournament final. While she fell short to compatriot Laura Massaro – who moves up to third on the standings – in the final, it was enough to see Perry secure seventh place in the standings and a trip to Dubai.

With American Amanda Sobhy ruled out for the remainder of the season due to injury, a third English player, Alison Waters, moves up to occupy the No.8 spot and the last berth in Dubai – joining Egyptian trio Nour El Sherbini, Raneem El Welily and Nouran Gohar.

France’s Camille Serme and David complete the Women’s qualifiers.

“The 2016 World Series Finals was such a good event and I’m sure we will all have another brilliant week there this year,” said 2016 champion Massaro.

“As an English player its also great to see Alison and SJ qualifying. There will be a real mix of style and skills amongst the players so it should be another great event.”

Despite a disappointing second round exit at the British Open, World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad maintains his position at the top of the Men’s Road To Dubai Standings with one qualifying event – April’s El Gouna International – still to play.

Gawad’s feats so far this season have guaranteed him a place in Dubai alongside British Open winner Gregory Gaultier, World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and 36-year-old Nick Matthew – runner-up in Hull.

Former World No.1 James Willstrop and Egyptian duo Marwan ElShorbagy and Ramy Ashour are all but confirmed to make the journey to the Middle East – although they aren’t mathematically certain to finish in the top eight – while Germany’s Simon Rösner faces a tough battle for the last qualifying spot.

Rösner – who takes on Borja Golan in a banana-skin opener in El Gouna – sits on 130 points, just 10 ahead of Ali Farag with Max Lee and Aussie duo Ryan Cuskelly and Cameron Pilley hot on their heels on 100 points.

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Gaultier and Massaro clinch British Open titles

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Gregory Gaultier.

Gregory Gaultier became the oldest winner of the British Open since Hashim Khan in the late 1950s when he beat Nick Matthew, the oldest finalist since that era, in a four-game final on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Frenchman’s 8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3 win over the 36-year-old Englishman earned him his third British Open title and made him the oldest ever world number one on a ranking system which began in the 1970s.

Gaultier destroyed opponents so efficiently in the earlier rounds that Matthew came to the final having competed for two-and-a-half hours longer than his rival.

By the third game his movement was beginning to slow.

There was trouble for Gaultier when he was admonished by the referee for taking his opponent’s space late in the second and warned that next time he would lose a conduct stroke.

But gone are the moments when Gaultier would sometimes lose concentration, and an immediate surge of eight points in a row which carried him to 6-0 in the third game irrevocably swung the direction of the match.

Laura Massaro became the first English woman in 58 years to defend the British Open twice when she beat surprise finalist, Sarah-Jane Perry, her seventh-seeded compatriot, by 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6.

It was Perry’s first World Series final and by far the biggest final of her career, whereas the 33-year-old Massaro was a former British Open champion, a former world champion, a former world  number one, and was playing her fourth British Open final in five years.

The disparity in experience was soon apparent.

It was the first time in four years that Egypt — which has three of the top five men in the top ten, and three of the top four women — had failed to produce a finalist.

However, the outcomes may be very different at the World Championships at El Gouna on the Red Sea in a fortnight’s time.

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WATCH: Ashour opens up about injury concerns

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Ramy Ashour was forced to retire from his semi-final match against Greg Gaultier at the British Open on Saturday.

The Egyptian lost the first set 11-9 and was unable to carry on. The decision to withdraw from the encounter couldn’t have been easy for the 2013 British Open champion who came back brilliantly to beat Mohamed Abouelghar 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5 in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Ashour, arguably one of the most talented players to ever pick up a squash racquet, spoke to Joey Barrington in a video on PSA – World Tour’s Facebook page about the condition of his hamstring.

The fifth-seed revealed the unique circumstances of his injury that has left doctors and physios bamboozled.

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