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Joelle King (right) v Nouran Gohar (left)

World Series Finals: Day Three - As it Happens

The curtain comes down on the group stages of the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals today at Emirates Golf Club, with four of the eight semi-final spots still up for grabs across both the men’s and women’s events.

England’s Nick Matthew and Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy have already qualified for the last four from Group A and compete in a dead rubber match, while Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Tarek Momen will play each other.

In Group B, Simon Rösner has earned his place in the semi-finals and he plays Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, who is unable to qualify for the knockout stages.

That leaves a deciding match between Ali Farag and Karim Abdel Gawad, with the winner progressing to the semi-finals.

There’s a similar situation in Group A of the women’s event as World No.1 Nour El Sherbini has already qualified for the semi-finals, leaving New Zealand’s Joelle King and Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb to battle for a place in the last four.

Defending champion Laura Massaro leads the way in Group B and can earn her semis spot with victory over World No.5 Camille Serme. However, If Serme beats Massaro today and El Welily gets the better of Perry, then it will come down to the percentage of games won to decide who qualifies for the last four.

You can watch LIVE coverage on SQUASHTV and Eurosport Player or follow our live scoring page.

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

Serme Through to Semi-Finals After Dominant Win Over Massaro

Camille Serme (right) v Laura Massaro (left)

France’s Camille Serme has earned her place in the semi-finals of this year’s ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals after a sublime 2-0 victory over England’s Laura Massaro to leave the defending champion on the brink of a group stage exit.

Serme was a semi-finalist at last year’s tournament and was as solid as Massaro was sluggish, with the World No.5 finding her targets right from the off.

For her part, Massaro was unable to rediscover the accuracy that took her to wins over World Champion Raneem El Welily and compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry and Serme blitzed to an 11-7, 11-5 victory in 22 minutes to ensure that she will compete in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

“I’m very happy with the way I played, I managed to relax and play my shots better than the other days,” said Serme.

“She’s such a fighter, she loves playing here and she never gives up, so until the very last point I didn’t want to give her anything.

“I was a bit upset with myself after losing yesterday, then on the other side I was like ‘you still have a chance, be positive!’ and it’s funny because I called my coach and he was telling me what went wrong in my match yesterday but you have to focus on the positive side and refocus the next day.”

Massaro will now only qualify for the last four if compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry can overcome World Champion Raneem El Welily in the other match in Group B of the women's event.

Result: Women’s Group B
[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [4] Laura Massaro (ENG) 2-0: 11-7, 11-5 (22m)

Rösner Wins Dead Rubber with Gaultier

Simon Rösner (left) v Gregory Gaultier (right)

German No.1 Simon Rösner made it three wins out of three in the men’s Group B after he claimed a 2-0 victory over Frenchman Gregory Gaultier to leave the former World No.1 without a win for the second year running.

Rösner had already qualified top of his group after wins against World No.2 Ali Farag and World No. 8 Karim Abdel Gawad and he claimed an 11-8, 12-10 win over 35-year-old Gaultier to maintain his 100 per cent record thus far.


“If you play a match when there’s nothing to win, where everything is decided already, it’s so difficult to play at 100 per cent,” Rösner said afterwards.

“Obviously I’ve got a semi-final to play tomorrow and he’s knew beforehand that he was out, so it’s never easy to play matches like that. I feel a bit sorry for him that he lost out after the second day because we’re good friends on tour.

“But I get that’s how the sport is and he’ll come back stronger.”

Rösner will play either World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy or 37-year-old Englishman Nick Matthew for a place in the final and he says that whoever it is will prove to be a tough test.

“These days it’s so close as you saw yesterday when Nick beat Miguel [Angel Rodriguez], who has just won the British Open and Guatemala,” he said.

“Even though he’s been retired already he’s playing pretty good squash, so no matter who I get they’re going to be fit anyway so I’ll try to get the best rest now and will try to find my rhythm right away tomorrow.

“It’s going to be a bit different because the whole week I’ve played in the afternoon and now I’ll be the last on tomorrow, so I need to change my daily routine a little bit. We’ll see how it goes, I’m looking forward to it.”

Result
[4] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [7] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2-0: 11-8, 12-10 (21m)

El Welily Beats Perry to Send Defending Champion Massaro Out

Raneem El Welily

Egyptian World Champion Raneem El Welily has qualified top of the women’s Group B after she overcame England’s Sarah-Jane Perry by a 2-0 margin – meaning defending champion Laura Massaro is out of the tournament due to having a lower games won percentage than both El Welily and France’s Camille Serme, who qualifies in second.

El Welily lost out to Massaro on day one of the tournament but her victory over Serme yesterday ensured that she came into the final day of group stage action needing a victory over Perry to have any chance of reaching the knockout semi-finals.

Serme stormed to a blistering 2-0 win over Massaro in the day’s earlier match and El Welily matched her scoreline in an immaculate display against Perry to ensure that she will qualify for the semi-finals of this tournament for the second time in three years.

The first game went the way of El Welily as she dropped just six points and the World No.2 went 7-3 up in the second as Perry struggled to find her range. Perry dug in and a superb fightback from the 28-year-old saw her come back to within a point, but she was unable to prevent El Welily from closing out the win.

El Welily’s games won percentage was the same as Serme’s at 62.5% but her percentage of points won is higher at 54.1% to Serme’s 51.3%, so the Egyptian player tops the group.

“I didn’t expect SJ to fight that way in the second game,” El Welily said afterwards.

“I thought maybe she would be thinking that she was out of the semis so she wouldn’t give it 100 per cent but all credit to her for doing her best to try and win today.

“I was very pleased to be through to the semis. It’s the second time for me in Dubai, I didn’t quite make it last year but I’m definitely happy to be in the semis this year.

“I can’t help but feel bad for Laura, she won her first two matches and didn’t do anything wrong there but she didn’t qualify. It was a tough group just like the other one and I’m just glad to be through against such tough competitors.

“Dubai is definitely a favourite tournament, we all have a great time here, we’re taken good care of and I really enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere, it’s absolutely fantastic to play in front of such a cheerful crowd.”

El Welily will play either New Zealand's Joelle King or compatriot Nour El Tayeb in the next round.

Result: Women’s Group B
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [8] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-9 (20m)

Farag Downs Gawad to Reach Semis

Ali Farag (left) v Karim Abdel Gawad (right)

Egyptian World No.2 Ali Farag got the better of compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad to finish second in Group B behind Germany’s Simon Rösner.

Both players had beaten Frenchman Gregory Gaultier earlier on in the group stage and had suffered defeats to Rösner, meaning that it was a winner takes all battle, with a semi-final berth up for grabs.

And it was 26-year-old Farag who fired on all cylinders to take an 11-5, 11-5 victory in just 21 minutes and he will be rewarded with a semi-final matchup tomorrow against the winner of either World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy or England’s Nick Matthew.

Farag finishes behind Rösner due to the German’s superior head-to-head record over the course of the tournament.

“It was very tough, not only is he a good friend, he’s such a lethal player,” said Farag, who will appear in the last four of this tournament for the first time.

“Before the match and between games Nour [wife El Tayeb] told me that I didn’t want to match him at the front of the court. He’s so attacking and so talented, so I had to keep him in the back two corners.

“That’s what I tried to do as much as possible, then when I had the opportunity I went short and thankfully it worked. Last year I was in the exact same position, I won my first match, lost the second and then it was winner takes all in the third match and I lost to James [Willstrop], who played brilliantly.

“Today I wanted to learn from that and go through to the semis for the first time ever, so I’m quite delighted.

Farag, along with a number of the Egyptian players in attendance at the tournament, is observing the holy month of Ramadan meaning he is unable to take on food or water during daylight hours.

Farag says that he is used to dealing with having to fast before playing his matches, saying: “We’ve been training during Ramadan ever since we were 10. Obviously it’s not the optimum atmosphere that you want to play in but I guess we’re used to it.

“I played with Nour three times where I have to play only in the back of the court and she plays everywhere and she makes me run and run and run, so I think that helped me a lot today.”

Result: Men’s Group B
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [8] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-0: 11-5, 11-5 (21m)

El Sherbini Blitzes Past Gohar to Maintain 100 Per Cent Record

Nour El Sherbini (left) v Nouran Gohar (right)

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini continues to be the player to beat in the women’s event as she surged to a 2-0 victory over World No.6 Nouran Gohar in just 14 minutes – making it eight wins in a row over her fellow Egyptian.

El Sherbini had already secured top spot in the group after successive wins over New Zealand’s Joelle King and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb but she showed no signs of taking her foot off the gas as she powered to 11-5 victories in both games.

The 22-year-old will go up against World No.5 Camille Serme next as she aims to reach the title decider of this tournament for the second year in a row.

“I think it was important for me to win three matches even if I knew I was qualified from yesterday,” said El Sherbini.

“Every match is important and I want to win every match so I just wanted to focus the same as the first match and I’m really happy with the way I played today.

“Camille has been playing so well this week and it will be a tough match I’m sure. I hope I’m going to have a good recovery, relax and I’ll be ready for tomorrow.

“I think all of the Egyptians started really young with squash and we’ve been travelling since we were really young. We watch how a lot of professionals play and we want to play the same game as them.

“I’ve grown up watching a lot of the top players from Egypt and I wanted to be the same as them. I think that’s one of the reason why Egyptians are good at squash right now.

Result: Women’s Group A
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [7] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-0: 11-5, 11-5 (14m)

Matthew Tops Group A as Swansong Continues

Nick Matthew

37-year-old Englishman Nick Matthew has qualified top of Group A in the men’s event after he overcame long-term rival Mohamed ElShorbagy to make it three wins out of three in this year’s World Series Finals – his final tournament as a professional squash player.

Matthew delayed his retirement after getting a late call up to the tournament due to a hamstring injury ruling ElShorbagy’s younger brother, Marwan, out of the event but the Yorkshireman has looked at home at Emirates Golf Club as he added a win over ElShorbagy to triumphs against Egypt’s Tarek Momen and Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez.

Both Matthew and World No.1 ElShorbagy have contested a bitter rivalry ever since first meeting on the tour 10 years ago, with ElShorbagy leading the head-to-head record 14-9 prior to the match.

With both players already qualified, the match lacked the intensity normally prevalent in matches between the duo but Matthew impressed as he attacked well on the volley and hit some sublime nicks to rattle off a succession of points amidst a sluggish showing from his opponent.


It was clear to see that ElShorbagy wasn’t going at full throttle and an impeccable performance from Matthew ensured that he wrapped up an 11-6, 11-6 victory in just 16 minutes to ensure that he will take on World No.2 Ali Farag – the runner-up in Group B – as he bids to reach one last PSA World Tour final before hanging up his racket.

“It was a very unique situation, neither of us quite knew how to approach it,” said Matthew.

“It certainly didn’t have the edge of the usual battles between the two of us but I think that both of us at the start of the week would have signed up for the position that we were in. We would have both taken it, getting to the semi-finals with one match to spare and I think whoever we had to play tomorrow, be it Simon or Ali, were both going to be incredibly tough.

“Maybe it was a bit easier for Mohamed to turn off the tap and then turn it back on at full speed tomorrow. It’s a bit harder at my age, I think that if I slow down I stop so I try to keep moving and obviously Mohamed was nice and relaxed tonight.

“I’ve never seen him so relaxed but I’m sure he’ll be back in beast mode tomorrow.

“Mohamed said he’s never seen me play so many shots but it’s slightly easier when he’s not moving his full speed, he was taking it easy on me tonight which was nice of him after all the battles we’ve had. Hopefully me and Mohamed can have one more on Saturday, who knows.”

ElShorbagy, meanwhile, will take on Rösner in a repeat of last year’s semi-finals – where the man from Germany squandered a match ball to miss out on a place in the title decider.

Result: Men’s Group A
Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-6 (16m)

El Tayeb Comes Through Thriller With King

Nour El Tayeb

Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb is the final player to qualify for the last four of the women’s event as she overcame Kiwi World No.4 Joelle King in a thrilling match which saw both players hold match balls in a dramatic third game.

The match was a repeat of February’s Windy City Open final where El Tayeb fought back from match ball down to deny King a first World Series title.

29-year-old King had the better of the opening stages as her precise attacking game enabled her to race ahead to 7-2 but El Tayeb stepped up the court to respond with attacking shots herself and the Egyptian came back to within a point before King upped her game to take the lead by an 11-7 margin.

The second game saw El Tayeb level the scores by the same scoreline as she built on a strong early lead and she dominated the early stages of the third with some deft touches drawing King into the front of the court.


King fought back from a 7-3 deficit and then match ball down to force a tie-break and she was at her tenacious best as she earned a match ball of her own as the tension inside Emirates Golf Club reached its peak.

But she was unable to convert as El Tayeb kept fighting and a loose shot at the front resulted in a stroke against the Kiwi player to hand the win to El Tayeb, who will face World Champion Raneem El Welily in the next round.

“I really don’t know how I won it, Joelle was playing extremely well at the beginning of the match,” said El Tayeb, who joins husband Ali Farag in the last four.

“She was playing so fast, so accurately and it took me a while to get used to her game. I had to focus on my length, the court conditions today were a bit too warm for my shots to go in and be effective.

“I had to dig in and play to the back as much as I could until the easiest opportunities came, but they didn’t happen often. I think she was match ball up, we played a great match a few months ago and I’m very lucky to be on the winning side of it and I’m happy to be in the semi-finals.

“I’m very excited to be playing it [the World Series Finals] but I’m very nervous because I like the atmosphere here and I want to keep going. Throughout the match I couldn’t drink one sip of water because I was too nervous.

“It’s obviously different with the best of three format, there’s a lot at stake every point but I’m happy to be in the semi-finals.”

Result: Women’s Group A
[3] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 2-1: 7-11, 11-7, 13-11 (38m)

Momen Takes Third Place in Group A

Tarek Momen

World No.4 Tarek Momen has taken third place in Group A after beating Colombian Cannonball Miguel Angel Rodriguez 2-1 to ensure that he doesn’t end the group stage without a win.

Momen and Rodriguez were unable to qualify for the semi-finals after defeats to World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and three-time World Champion Nick Matthew but, with over a $3,000 difference in prize money between third and fourth place, there was still something to play for and Momen claimed an 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 victory to finish above the British Open champion.

“It’s a special treat to finish my last match of the season with a win,” said Momen.

“Whether I’m out or not I’ll be taking my break after a win, which is good. Obviously I’m a bit disappointed for not qualifying. I was very upset after the first day, Nick played amazingly well but I had more to put into the game and I couldn’t.

“It hit my confidence a bit but yesterday when I came back it gave me a boost because I felt like I needed to see myself playing again because there have been a few rough weeks. I’m very happy with the outcome and hopefully next year I can do better.”

Result: Men’s Group A
[5] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [6] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-1: 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (40m)