Gregory Gaultier’s 27-match winning streak came to an end at the hands of Ali Farag, who only gained a place at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals after Ramy Ashour withdrew last week due to injury.
The 34-year-old from France has been in blistering form this year, winning the last six tournaments, but couldn’t match Farag’s pace in the Dubai opener, going down 11-5 11-7 in 28 minutes.
Speaking after his win, Farag said: “Last time I played Greg I didn’t even get a game off him. I’m really happy with the win. It was very important for me to get that first game under my belt, it took the pressure off.”
Elsewhere, defending champion Laura Massaro got off to a winning start, beating two-time competition winner Nicol David 12-10, 12-10.
Massaro and David have contested one of the sport’s most fascinating rivalries of recent times, with David leading the head-to-head record 22-8.
The 33-year-old from Penang held three game balls in the opener, only to see Massaro fight back to take a one-game lead before winning the second game by the same margin and clinch victory.
“I’m really happy to close it out in the end. You know you’ve got three matches either way and you’ve got to do your best in all of them. If I lost today I would have had a bit of an uphill battle tomorrow and the day after, but a win under my belt doesn’t mean anything at this point unless I can get at least one more win” said Massaro.
Meanwhile, former World No1 Mohamed El Shorbagy edged James Willstrop in straight sets, 11-8, 11-9 in 39 minutes.
El Shorbagy has suffered a disappointing season by his high standards – with the loss of his World No.1 ranking in April bringing a 15-month reign to an end – but he took a step closer to securing a place in the semi-finals with victory over the Englishman.
“I just want to enjoy myself and be happy on court,” said El Shorbagy.
“This season, I haven’t enjoyed it at all, so I’m really happy I did enjoy it today and I want to win. I play to win, I play hard and aggressive in the right manner and I’m really happy to get the win today.
World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry secured one of the biggest wins of her career after she defeated World Champion Nour El Sherbini 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 to join compatriot Massaro at the summit of Group B.
Tickets for the evening sessions, semi-finals and finals can be purchased at https://dubaiopera.etixdubai.com/shows/show.aspx?sh=PSAUMB
Results – Men’s Group A Day One: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-1: 11-9, 8-11, 11-7 (48m)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Nick Matthew (ENG) 2-1: 11-13, 11-8, 11-7 (49m)
Results – Men’s Group B Day One: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2-0: 11-5, 11-7 (28m)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  James Willstrop (ENG) 2-0: 11-8, 11-9 (39m)
Results – Women’s Group A Day One: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Alison Waters (ENG) 2-1: 9-11, 11-5, 11-3 (39m)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 2-1: 13-11, 3-11, 11-3 (35m)
Results – Women’s Group B Day One: 2016/17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Nicol David (MAS) 2-0: 12-10, 12-10 (30m)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) 2-1: 9-11, 11-9, 11-4 (37m)