Join us here for reports and reaction from day two of the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals as the best-of-three games group stage action heats up at Emirates Golf Club.
England's Nick Matthew – playing the final tournament of his 20-year career – tops Group A in the men's event after overcoming Egypt's Tarek Momen yesterday and he'll line up against 'Colombian Cannonball' Miguel Angel Rodriguez, who suffered a defeat to World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Group B sees Germany's Simon Rösner and World No.2 Ali Farag lead the way and they face each other, while three-time winner Gregory Gaultier and 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad line up in the group's other fixture.
In the women's event Group A leaders Nour El Tayeb and Nour El Sherbini go head-to-head in a mouthwatering fixture, with the winner set to top the group going into the final day. World No.4 Joelle King and World No.6 Nouran Gohar will do battle as they aim to recover from straight games losses yesterday.
Defending champion Laura Massaro – who is eyeing up a third World Series Finals crown – will do battle with fellow Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry, while World Champion Raneem El Welily will aim to recover from an opening day defeat to Massaro as she takes on France's Camille Serme, who tops the group together with Massaro.
Here's the SQUASHTV & Eurosport Player Order of Play
(All times are local GMT+4)
Men's Groups – As they stand at the start of the day
Women’s Groups – As they stand at the start of the day
Massaro Prevails in Feisty Affair with England Teammate Perry
Laura Massaro (right) v Sarah-Jane Perry (left)
Defending champion Laura Massaro took a step closer towards the knockout semi-finals after she came out on top during a feisty affair with England teammate Sarah-Jane Perry which saw the pair have some heated words at the end of a captivating contest.
Massaro, 34, is firmly in the driving seat in Group B of the women’s event after she followed up an impressive opening day win over World Champion Raneem El Welily with a 2-1 victory over her fellow countrywoman.
Former World No.1 Massaro had won three of their previous four meetings but had lost out to Perry in the semi-finals of the Oracle NetSuite Open in September, which was Perry’s only victory over her older compatriot.
The pair also met in the group stage of last year’s World Series Finals – with Massaro winning 2-0 – and she made a blistering start to proceedings at Emirates Golf Club today as she stormed into 10-6 lead in the opening game, hitting all of her targets at the back of the court to prevent Perry from using her short game.
Perry showcased her fighting spirit as she came back to force a tie-break and she held two games balls of her own, but Massaro remained composed under pressure to re-establish her lead and go a game up.
Perry responded brilliantly as the 28-year-old raised the intensity of her squash in the second to level the scores but was unable to get the better of her opponent in game three as World No.7 Massaro edged it 11-8, with Perry showing her frustration with the Lancastrian’s movement as the two walked off court.
“How you can blame me for trying to back in more when I’m crowded to try and create space is just a joke,” said Massaro.
“I’m quite angry to finish that match like, especially in comparison to have I ended yesterday. At the end of the day I won.
“There are a couple of movements maybe where rightly the ref says to give better access, but other than that there’s nothing wrong with my movement and I’m fed up of people saying about it.
“We play for England twice a year and we have the Commonwealth Games every four years. It’s not like we’re teammates week in, week out, but obviously we want each other to do well.
“When we step on court to play each other, and I think she’d agree, it’s just like another opponent, it doesn’t really matter. It’s always nice to win when you’re seeded to win and SJ beat me last time we played, so it’s nice to get a win back.”
Result: Women’s Group B
 Laura Massaro (ENG) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 2-1: 15-13, 7-11, 11-8 (48m)
Gawad Sends Gaultier to the Brink of Elimination
Karim Abdel Gawad (right) v Gregory Gaultier (left)
Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad sent three-time winner Gregory Gaultier to the brink of a group stage exit for a second year running after claiming a 2-1 victory to keep his semi-final hopes alive.
Gawad lost out to Germany’s Simon Rösner in the opening round, with a shoulder injury hampering the 2016 World Champion’s ability to strike the ball.
It was a battle of two former World No.1s today, with Gaultier cutting a frustrated figure on court at times despite taking the opening game after coming back from 9-7 down.
Gawad, sporting strapping around his shoulder, was dominant in the second game as he played some fluid squash to unsettle the Frenchman and level the scores.
Gaultier continued to look flat in the third and it was all Gawad as he cruised to an 11-4 victory in the final game to leave Gaultier needing results elsewhere to go in his favour if he is to have any chance of making it to the semi-finals.
karimabdelgawad</a> - the Baby-Faced Assassin has absolutely slotted that<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SquashInDubai?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SquashInDubai</a> <a href="https://t.co/bUC2jcG67J">pic.twitter.com/bUC2jcG67J</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) June 6, 2018
“I just felt a little bit tired yesterday, for my shoulder today I tried to forget about the pain and tried to play some good squash,” said Gawad
“I’ve been playing the whole season so I could come here to play in Dubai at this amazing venue, so I didn’t want to let things go without even trying. Today I just tried to stay strong mentally a little bit and Ali [Farag, Gawad’s next opponent] talked to me between the games and told me to try and forget about the pain a little bit and enjoy your squash.
“Hopefully he will come and coach me tomorrow during the games! I had him by my side during the last two matches and he gave me great tips. Tomorrow I’m playing him, he’s a great friend and we grew up together. Hopefully we play a good game and just enjoy our match.”
This year’s tournament features the interactiveSQUASH front wall for the first, which doubles up as a screen between points and shows replays and statistical information to spectators in the venue.
Gawad is a fan of the new technology, saying: “We need different ideas in squash to improve our sport. Squash is very tough physically and mentally too and interactiveSQUASH is doing a great job.
“Last year it was in the opera house and it was just amazing. When I heard the venue was moving to another place I was a little bit disappointed but I came here and saw that the venue is amazing. Dubai has great locations to put a squash court in.”
Result: Men’s Group B
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2-1: 9-11, 11-8, 11-4 (41m)
El Welily Comes Back to Beat Serme
Raneem El Welily (right) v Camille Serme (left)
World Champion Raneem El Welily made it four wins in a row over World No.5 Camille Serme after she came back from a game down to take a 2-1 victory – meaning that the battle to qualify for the semi-finals from Group B will be wide open going into the final day of group stage action.
Victory for Serme would have seen both her and current group leader Laura Massaro book their places in the semi-finals and the match looked to be going the way of France’s Serme after she took a one-game lead by an 11-8 margin.
El Welily found her range in the second though as she used her hold well to draw Serme forward and hit her lines at the back of the court to draw level.
The Egyptian dominated the third game, dropping just five points as she wrapped up an 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory in 34 minutes to stay in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals.
“Camille played really well today as always,” said El Welily, who was runner-up at this tournament in 2016.
“I had to push myself really hard to play the way I did today. Mentally and physically, it was hard for me today but I’m happy that at least mentally I was better than I was yesterday.
“Hopefully I can take this performance into the next match.
“Camille is one of the fairest players on tour, I think I always vote for her for the female Spirit of Squash award. I love playing with her, she’s fair, she plays great squash and has great technique and physicality, so they’re always good battles.”
El Welily leapfrogs Serme to move into second place in Group B. A victory over England's Sarah-Jane Perry in the next round will see her secure her place in the semis.
Result: Women’s Group B
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Camille Serme (FRA) 2-1: 8-11, 11-7, 11-5 (34m)
Rösner Qualifiers for Semi-Finals as Gaultier Bows Out
Simon Rösner (left) v Ali Farag (right)
Germany’s Simon Rösner became the first player to qualify for the semi-final stage at this year’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals after he came back from 1-0 down to defeat World No.2 Ali Farag – meaning three-time winner Gregory Gaultier has bowed out at the group stage for a second year running.
Gaultier, the current World No.7, has lost both of his matches so far this tournament, meaning he will be unable to pick up enough victories to qualify, with Rösner currently on two wins, while Farag and Gawad are on one win apiece and face each other in a decider tomorrow.
Rösner’s superior head-to-head record over both Farag and Gawad means that he qualifies top of the group after he stormed to an 11-3 victory in the final game of today’s clash with Farag, having already recovered from a game down to draw level.
“It’s more than I could have wished for to be in the semis after two matches by beating two really good players,” said Rösner, who also made it to the semi-finals of last year’s event.
“It feels amazing, just like it did last year, but last year there was a difference because I wasn’t sure if I would be in until the very last point that I played against Nick [Matthew] so getting through is amazing.
“The middle part and end of the second game, I was just trying to go past my limits.
“It felt like I had a 200 [beats per minute] heart rate and I was feeling very uncomfortable, but I thought that he would be feeling the same. I just tried to push a few more points which luckily ended up in a game I won.
“I was more confident in the third game, I managed to get off to a good start like in the first game. I’m really happy with how I managed to come back after that first game because it can get into your head when your 6-1 up and you only make one more point in the whole game. It was quite difficult to fight my way back but I’m glad I was able to push.”
Result: Men’s Group B
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Ali Farag (EGY) 2-1: 7-11, 11-9, 11-3 (40m)
El Sherbini Claims Comfortable Win Over El Tayeb
Nour El Sherbini (left) v Nour El Tayeb (right)
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini made it two wins out of two at this year’s PSA World Series Finals after she cruised to a quick-fire 2-0 triumph over World No.3 Nour El Tayeb to claim victory in just 15 minutes.
El Sherbini and El Tayeb are the only women to have won multiple World Series titles throughout the 2017/18 season and it was El Tayeb who prevailed the last time the pair met in the quarter-finals of February’s Windy City Open – a tournament El Tayeb went on to win.
El Tayeb made a strong start here yesterday as she eased to a 13-minute win over World No.6 Nouran Gohar but she was on the back foot from the off today as El Sherbini held her compatriot at arm’s length and gave her very little opportunity to show off her impressive shot-making skills.
22-year-old El Sherbini stormed to an 11-7, 11-5 victory to go top of Group A and she will now qualify for the knockout semi-final stage if New Zealand’s Joelle King can get the better of Gohar later this evening.
“I’m so happy to win this match, I think last time I lost to her and she’s doing really well this season,” said El Sherbini.
“She’s up to No.3 in the world but I’m really glad I managed that I didn’t lose a game, it was really important to win this in two games.
“She can kill any shot from anywhere and know matter how good a shot is she can get it back. I had to be ready for any surprises from her because I don’t know what she’s going to do, so I needed to be ready.
All of the Egyptian players at the tournament are observing the holy month of Ramadan at present and El Sherbini opened up on the difficulty of fasting during daylight hours.
“It’s really hard fasting and playing, even if my match is after when we can eat,” she said.
“I break my fast at 7pm and my match was at eight, so you don’t have a lot of time to eat.
“I just ate a small thing and played my match. I think I had an advantage as yesterday I played at eight and she played later, so maybe I got used to it today.
“There’s just one match to go now and I have to give it the same as the last two matches. Even if I won both matches 2-0 there is still one more to go and I’m playing another tough opponent, an Egyptian, but hopefully I’m going to be ready and will be as good as today or even better if I can.”
Result: Women’s Group A
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) 2-0: 11-7, 11-5 (15m)
ElShorbagy Downs Compatriot Momen
Mohamed ElShorbagy (right) v Tarek Momen (left)
Defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy is on the verge of reaching the semi-finals for the fourth time in a row after the World No.1 overcame fellow Egyptian Tarek Momen in an entertaining battle at Emirates Golf Club.
ElShorbagy, who beat England’s James Willstrop in last year’s final, will move through to the last four if Nick Matthew can overcome the other member of Group A, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, in their match this evening.
ElShorbagy has won four World Series titles this season and he picked up where he left off from an entertaining day one victory over Rodriguez as he powered the ball around all areas of the court to prevent Momen from building up any momentum in the opening game.
However, the 27-year-old fell victim to a Momen masterclass in the second game as he quickly slumped to an 8-0 deficit and was only able to rack up two points as World No.4 Momen sent the match into a decider.
It was nip and tuck for much of the third game with neither player giving an inch as they sought victory until ElShorbagy – as he has done so many times on the PSA World Tour over the years – played his best squash to win the crucial points and he edged that game 11-9 to complete the victory.
“I would never have played him that fast paced if it was in best of five,” said ElShorbagy.
“There is no way anyone on tour can survive that kind of pace against him. But when you play him in a best of three it’s fast and furious and you have to adapt. You have to be a tactician and you have to see the weaknesses and study the game before you study the opponent.
“It worked in the first game but it hit me in the second game because I’m not used to playing that pace against him. But all credit to him, he kept fighting and we’ve had a lot of great battles this season, in Qatar and Canary Wharf the two matches were unbelievable.
“This was probably our last battle of the season and it’s great to have a new battle with him again. Me, my brother, Tarek and [Ali] Farag have made it to the top four and it’s the first time ever that there are all Egyptians in the top four.
“I’ve witnessed a generation when [Amr] Shabana, [Karim] Darwish and Ramy [Ashour] were in the top three and I didn’t think that we were going to have another generation like that, but I’m happy to be a part of history like this and it’s something I’ll always remember for the rest of my career.”
Result: Men’s Group A
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 2-1: 11-8, 2-11, 11-9 (39m)
King Conquers Gohar to Keep Semi-Final Hopes Alive
Joelle King (right) v Nouran Gohar (left)
New Zealand’s Joelle King is still in with a chance of reaching a first ever PSA World Series semi-final after beating World No.5 Nouran Gohar to set up a decider against World No.3 Nour El Tayeb tomorrow.
29-year-old King is making her debut at the World Series Finals this year and she edged two tightly contested games to ensure that a win against El Tayeb tomorrow will see her qualify for the last four.
King took the opening game 11-8 and looked to have secured a comfortable victory after controlling the tempo to build up four match balls in the second.
Some vintage hard-hitting from Gohar enabled the 20-year-old Egyptian to force a tie-break, where she even held a game ball of her own, but a composed King kept her head to finally convert on her sixth match ball, wrapping up an 11-8, 14-12 victory.
“Nouran’s much younger than me but I’ve never actually beaten her before, so it’s nice to come away with a 2-0 win, especially in the pools because it is pretty crucial,” said King.
“I think me and Nour are now tied at one [win] all, so everything to play for tomorrow.
“I think we’ve just got used to it [playing Egyptian players]. They’ve been so dominant for the last few years that I’ve been on tour and they play exciting squash, so I guess with a player like me who is more traditional, sometimes it makes for exciting squash, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
“I’m probably more of an attritional player and I like to rely a bit more on my physicality, so this [best of three] is a completely different game, you have to be more attacking and I’m enjoying trying something different.”
The result means that World No.1 Nour El Sherbini has earned her place in the semi-finals and she will look to go one better than last year, where she was a losing finalist. Gohar, meanwhile, is now unable to reach the last four.
Result: Women’s Group A
 Joelle King (NZL) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-0: 11-8, 14-12 (26m)
Matthew Qualifies for Semi-Finals of Final Tournament
Nick Matthew (left) celebrates his win over Miguel Angel Rodriguez (right)
England’s 37-year-old three-time World Champion Nick Matthew has qualified for the semi-final stage of his final professional squash event after a stunning 2-1 victory over British Open champion Miguel Angel Rodriguez to cap 72 minutes of blistering squash.
Matthew had begun his retirement after a disappointing second round loss at the British Open last month but got a late call up to Dubai after the withdrawal of World No.3 Marwan, who pulled out due to a hamstring injury.
And the veteran Yorkshireman is now one win away from a third World Series Finals title decider after claiming an epic 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 victory over the in-form Colombian.
Spectators at Emirates Golf Club were treated to a feast of high octane action with both players putting in some incredibly physical and exciting rallies as Matthew went toe-to-toe with a player five years his junior.
With the scores locked at one game apiece, Rodriguez edged ahead to 9-7 as all of Matthew’s endeavour looked set to be for nothing.
But ‘The Wolf’ dug into his famed mental reserves as he kept on fighting and he reeled Rodriguez in before going on to take the tie-break as Rodriguez hit the tin to leave Matthew sinking to the floor to lap up the victory.
Result: PSA Dubai World Series Finals Men's Group A
nickmatthew</a> has qualified for the semis of his final ever tournament! <br><br>What a result for The Wolf!<br><br>Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-1: 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 (72m) <a href="https://t.co/CsBVUcA504">pic.twitter.com/CsBVUcA504</a></p>— PSA World Tour (PSAWorldTour) June 6, 2018
“I was just summoning every ounce of sweat, experience, willpower, knowhow and a little bit of technique here and there,” said Matthew.
“That was so, so tough, I don’t know how long it was but I’m glad it was best of three.
“I was retired last week, so I said I wanted to win one of my first two and at least keep myself interested because what’s been disappointing the last couple of years in this best of three pool format is that I’ve lost the first two and I’ve been out of it, then I’ve saved my best squash when there’s nothing on it.
“The sport’s come a long way in the last 20 years that I’ve been on the tour. I think about when I started, you had perspex courts which wobbled in the wind, so look how far we’ve come. We’ve got equal prize money, Chicago [the 2018/19 PSA World Championships] is up at the half a million [dollar] mark [for both men and women] and beyond.
“It makes me wonder if I’m retiring at the wrong time really because the tour is only going in one direction but my body is only going in one direction too, so I think we’ve met half way.”
Result: Men’s Group A
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-1: 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 (72m)