ToC titles virtually seal places in Dubai finals
By NATHAN CLARKE
After claiming the spoils in last week’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, the first PSA World Series tournament of 2017, Egyptian World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad and France’s World No.4 Camille Serme have extended their leads atop the Men’s and Women’s PSA Road To Dubai Standings and all but guaranteed their places at the season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals.
The 25-year-old Gawad was too good for the opposition as he cruised to glory in New York, claiming a second consecutive World Series crown to go with last November’s Qatar Classic.
Serme put in the performance of a lifetime to defeat World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and World No.2 Nouran Gohar en route to also winning her second consecutive World Series crown after victory at the U.S. Open.
“I have dreamed of playing in the World Series Finals, so to be number one in the Road To Dubai Standings is a great feeling right now,” said Gawad, who beat 2015-16 World Series Finals champion Gregory Gaultier 3-1 in the ToC final.
“I’m very excited about the chance to compete there and hopefully I can continue to enjoy my squash and keep playing well over the next few tournaments. If I can do that, then I’ll give myself a good chance to go to Dubai at the end of the season and become the World Series Finals champion.”
Only the top eight players on the standings will 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 – with every match in the PSA World Series vital in determining who gets a shot at one of the sport’s most prestigious and financially rewarding titles.
Gaultier’s run to the final saw him rise from 13th to fifth on the Men’s Standings, with Mohamed ElShorbagy, James Willstrop and Nick Matthew staying above him and looking good for a place in the showpiece event.
After her victory at the Tournament of Champions, also defeating the 2015-16 series champion Laura Massaro in the final, Serme said: “Playing in Dubai last year was an amazing experience so I would really love to go back there again this season.
“I can’t get too far ahead of myself as there are still big tournaments to play before then, but I’m very happy to know I am at the top of the standings right now.”
The journey towards the PSA Dubai World Series Finals continues on February 23 when the 2017 Windy City Open gets under way in Chicago.
The 2017 PSA Dubai World Series Finals will take place from June 6-10 at the Dubai Opera house, and further information can be found by visiting www.worldseriesfinals.com
Pictures and graphic courtesy of PSA