End of the road for James Willstrop and Tarek Momen
By NATHAN CLARKE in Seattle: Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com)
After a week of upsets and stunning squash, taking the game to new heights of drama, a new name will be etched on to the most prestigious trophy in squash today (November 22). Debutant finalist Omar Mosaad and four-time runner-up Gregory Gaultier go head-to-head in the final of the 2015 Men’s World Squash Championship in Bellevue, Washington.
Both players will be motivated by the pain of recent events, one intensely personal and one played out on a global scale. Mosaad lost two members of his family in a car crash, while Gaultier, like every Frenchman, has been deeply affected by the murderous terrorist attacks in Paris last weekend.
Gaultier, the Frenchman who lost the 2007 final after squandering five match balls before also falling at the final hurdle in the 2008, 2011 and 2013 tournaments, produced a masterclass against giant-killer James Willstrop to secure his berth in the title-decider.
Willstrop had already taken out top seed and pre-event favourite Mohamed Elshorbagy and World No.5 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in stunning style to reach the last four but Gaultier was impeccable as he saw out the match in straight-games, winning 11-1, 11-8, 11-8 after just 50 minutes.
“I’ve lost four finals in my life and I had five match balls and obviously didn’t make it,” said Gaultier, who was quick to mention the impact of the Paris attacks on his hunger to win.
“But I am more than motivated to win tomorrow. I came here and I was sick the first few days and I was struggling but I had to deal with it. The motivation makes the difference at the end of the day – if your head is there you can deal with anything.
“Everybody was really touched about what happened in France and what’s happening at the moment in the whole world – I’m determined to make it for myself, for my country, for my team and for everybody who supports me in the world.”
Gaultier will line up against Omar Mosaad in a repeat of the 2015 Delaware Investments U.S. Open final after the man known as the ‘Hammer of Thor’, for his hard-hitting style, followed up his huge quarter-final upset win over 2014 champion Ramy Ashour with a classy straight-games victory over compatriot Tarek Momen.
The number eight seed outclassed Momen in one of the finest performances of his career to secure his place in what could be a career-defining contest, which poignantly comes just three months after the 28-year-old lost his mother and sister in a tragic car accident in Egypt.
“To be in the final of the World Championship is an amazing feeling,” said Mosaad.
“It’s the second time this season I’ve made a big final so I’m really happy and I hope I can play well tomorrow and win. Today was tough but I will pick myself up now, recover, and hopefully come back string tomorrow.
“Three months ago my family had an accident and I lost two of them, so I hope I can win tomorrow and dedicate this title to my father because he deserves it. He’s been a role model for me and I want to win for him.”
2015 Men’s World Championship, Bellevue, Washington, USA.
Results – Semi-finals:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 11-1, 11-8, 11-8 (50m)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) bt  Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (50m)
2015 Men’s World Championship Final:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA