World No.1 Elshorbagy set for Dubai season finale

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World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy has played squash at some of the most iconic landmarks across the globe, from Grand Central Station to the Hong Kong harbour, and the Egyptian will get to cross Burj Khalifa off his list when he headlines the field at next month’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals.

The grand finale of the squash season will come to the Middle East for the first time and organisers revealed – in the presence of Elshorbagy and Malaysian world No.5 Nicol David – the competition will be held on a purpose-built glass court at Burj Park at the foot of the world’s tallest building in Downtown Dubai.

Elshorbagy has already qualified to the top-eight season-closer as he leads the World Series standings by an incredible 270-point margin over second-placed Gregory Gaultier and he’ll be hoping to capture the title that has eluded him so far in his career.

“It’s an exciting place for us, playing at the park by Burj Khalifa,” Elshorbagy told Sport360 on Sunday at the Palace Downtown Dubai.


“The World Series Finals is always like a reward for all the top players after a hard tough season. We all worked really hard to get here and I’m just happy to be one of the eight players who will be competing and trying to get the title.








“I’ve never won this title before. I got to the final once. So it will be an amazing moment for me if I get my first World Series Finals title here in Dubai and I’ll do my best to try and do that.”


Last season, Elshorbagy rose to No1 in the world for the first time and grabbed four World Series titles including his first British Open. This season, he has gone one better, triumphing in five World Series events and breaking the record for the highest ever points average in the process.




“When I won four World Series titles last year, I told my brother ‘winning four out of seven, I don’t know if I can do that again’. And then when I won my fifth one at the British Open (last month) I just couldn’t believe it, it was like a dream. I’m just feeling really lucky and I have such a great team behind me that can make me back up every tournament the way I’m doing,” said the 25-year-old Alexandrian of his exploits this season.


But things haven’t been completely rosy for Elshorbagy in this 2015-2016 campaign. His 13-month reign at the top of the rankings was briefly interrupted early in the season after suffering a third round exit at the World Championship, where he fell to James Willstrop last November.


It prompted a change in perspective and he quickly recovered, regaining the No1 spot a month later, but he admits dealing with the pressure of being squash’s main man has not been easy.


“Since I got to world No1 the pressure is completely different. It’s way tougher than I imagined,” he confessed.


“It’s not easy to just finish one tournament, go to the next tournament, finish one match, go to the next match, knowing that you’re playing the most number of matches on tour than anyone else. But if that’s what it takes to be world No1, I’m going to do anything I can to stay there.


“When I finished the season last year and went into the summer break I just didn’t feel like I wanted to train. Things were too tough for me mentally and when I started the season this year, I messed up a little bit until I lost the World Championship and then I had a 12-hour plane ride on the way back home (from Seattle to England) and I just had to think of what’s going wrong.




“I felt that I needed to relax, I needed to enjoy being world No1. Not many people had the chance in their life to be there and I feel lucky to be here and to be one of the few people in the whole world to be chosen to be there. It’s not going to last forever so I have to enjoy it.”


That change in mentality made all the difference for Elshorbagy, who hasn’t blinked since.


Capturing a second British Open title in Hull last month proved an emotional affair for him as he avenged his World Championship loss to Willstrop in the second round before overcoming his nemesis, Ramy Ashour, in the final, ending a four-match losing streak he had against the Egyptian ex-world No1.


“Beating James took so much out of me, that my body would shake every night before I sleep. But it’s fine, I’d rather play with that kind of pain then see someone else lift my trophy, that would be more painful to me,” says Elshorbagy.


“I’m just glad I was able to lift my second British Open. Jonah Barrington (my coach) has always been tough on me, he has won it six times, so he’s always telling me don’t be too happy, you still have four more left. And I’m like ‘just relax, just let me enjoy this moment for a while and then tell me this a few days later’.”


He won’t have much time to enjoy it as he already has his eyes on the final World Series event of the season, in El Gouna, Egypt in two weeks’ time.





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PSA Finals to be held in specially constructed glass court at Burj Park

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The finals are the latest closing sports tournament to head to the UAE, following on from F1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale and golf’s hugely popular Race to Dubai, among others.

This tournament heads to Dubai after an agreement was brokered between the PSA and Dubai Sports Council and facilitated by Falcon and Associates.

“Hosting the PSA Dubai World Series Finals further strengthens Dubai’s position as a leading sports destination, and we are delighted to add squash to our already impressive portfolio of world-class sport finals hosted in Dubai,” said His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council.  

PSA chairman Ziad Al-Turki added: “The PSA World Series Finals is the most high-profile stage of the tour and we are delighted to have partnered with Dubai to host the 2016 season-finale in Burj Park.

“With fantastic views of Burj Khalifa, this tournament is set to be an exhilarating occasion and the perfect close to months of elite competition.”

Tickets are now on sale via Ticketmaster.

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Women’s winners in the 2015–16 PSA World Series squash

The PSA World Series 2015–16 is a series of squash tournaments which are part of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour.

The PSA World Series tournaments are some of the most prestigious events on the men’s and women’s tour, with the best-performing players in the World Series qualifying for the annual 2016 Women’s PSA World Series Finals.

Here, Sport360 presents the winners of the PSA World Series 2015-16 on their road to compete in the grand finale in Dubai.

US OPEN 2015: October 10–17, 2015

Women’s Champion – Laura Massaro (England)

Runner-up – Nour El Tayeb (Egypt)

Laura Massaro claimed her second U.S. Open title as she came from 2-1 down to beat Nour El Tayeb in a scintillating women’s final.

The British player, who was the champion in 2011, got off to a good start and kept the tempo going. The young Egyptian kept on pushing hard but ultimately tasted defeat after a five-set thriller, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7.

QATAR CLASSIC 2015 – October 31 – November 6, 2015

Women’s Champion – Laura Massaro (England)

Runner-up – Nour El Sherbini (Egypt)

Massaro continued her impressive form by capturing a second successivePSA World Series title after defeating Egypt’s El Sherbini in the final of the Qatar Classic.

The Englishwoman hit a delightful volley drop on championship ball to wrap up an intense five-set affair with the Egyptian, 11-8, 12-14, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9.

HONG KONG OPEN 2015 – December 1–6, 2015

Women’s Champion – Nicol David (Malaysia)

Runner-up – Laura Massaro (England)

Malaysian squash queen Nicol David is simply an unstoppable force in Hong Kong.

She demolished England’s Laura Massaro 15-13, 11-5, 11-3 for her 11th Hong Kong Open crown in her 100th Professional Squash Association Tour final – at the Hong Kong Squash Centre, extending her winning streak on the island nation to a remarkable 55 matches.

TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS 2016 – January 14, 2016

Womens Champion – Nour El Sherbini (Egypt)

Runner-up – Amanda Sobhy (Unites States)

Egyptian No.2 Nour El Sherbini scoop the most lucrative title of her career after overcoming home favourite Amanda Sobhy to claim first ever PSA World Series crown

El Sherbini was in the form of her life after defeating 2014 winner Nicol David in the previous round and the 20-year-old played stunningly well  to claim an 3-1 (11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8) victory.

WINDY CITY OPEN 2016 – February 25 – March 2, 2016

Women’s Champion –  Raneem El Weleily (Egypt)

Runner-up – Nour El Sherbini (Egypt)

Egyptian Raneem El-Welily won her second consecutive Women’s Windy City Open title, at the University Club of Chicago.

El-Welily defeated her compatriot Nour El-Sherbini, ranked fifth in the worl, in a 3-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-3,11-6) victory.

BRITISH OPEN 2016 – March 21-27, 2016

Womens Champion – Nour El Sherbini (Egypt)

Runners-up – Nouran Gohar (Egypt)

Women’s world number 5 Nour El Sherbini made history, becoming the first Egyptian female to win the title after beating 18-year-old world champion Nouran Gohar.

El Sherbini took the upper hand and managed to defeat Gohar 3-2 ( 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8), in a 75-minute final, becoming the second youngest player in the world to win the tournament.

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