Three days of intense competition in the group stages of the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals drew to a close tonight as the semi-finalists were decided, promising some spectacular showdowns at the Emirates Golf Club.
In the afternoon session World champion Raneem El Welily and France’s Camille Serme earned their places in the semi-finals after Serme registered a sublime 2-0 victory over England’s Laura Massaro, while El Welily posted a 2-0 win over Sarah-Jane Perry.
El Welily’s victory saw her qualify top of the women’s Group B – meaning 2016 and 2017 tournament winner Massaro’s hopes of a third consecutive title were dashed, due to having a lower games won percentage than both El Welily and Serme, who qualified in second. Sarah- Jane Perry finished in fourth without a win.
In Men’s Group B German No.1 Simon Rösner made it three wins out of three after he claimed a 2-0 victory over Frenchman Gregory Gaultier. 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 victory over 35-year-old Gaultier to maintain his 100 per cent record.
And in the decider for the other qualifier from Group B, Egyptian World No.2 Ali Farag got the better of compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad to finish second behind Rösner.
The evening session saw World No.1 Nour El Sherbini maintain her position as 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.
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.
“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” said El Sherbini.
“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.”
Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb was 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.
In a tense encounter King took the early lead before El Tayeb stepped up to level the scores and take the match to a decider. King fought back from match ball down in the decider to force a tie-break and she was at her tenacious best as she earned a match ball of her own, but she was unable to convert as El Tayeb kept fighting. A loose shot at the front resulted in a stroke against the Kiwi player to hand the win to El Tayeb, who will face 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.
“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. I’m happy to be in the semi-finals.”
And in his final tournament as a professional squash player 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 after triumphs against Egypt’s Tarek Momen and Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez.
With both players already qualified, the match lacked the intensity normally prevalent in matches between the duo and it was clear to see that ElShorbagy wasn’t going at full throttle. 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.
— Nick Matthew OBE (@nickmatthew) June 7, 2018
“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.”
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.
In the final match of the Group Stages World No.4 Tarek Momen took 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.
“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed for not qualifying. 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.”
The semi-finals will be played on June 8 commencing at 8pm. The finals will commence at 8:00pm on June 9.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased here: https://dubai.platinumlist.net/event-tickets/70345/atco-psa-dubai-world-series-finals or at the venue. For further information on both the PSA World Series and the PSA World Tour, please visit www.worldseriesfinals.com
Day 3 results:
Women’s Group A
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt  Joelle King (NZL) 2-1: 7-11, 11-7, 13-11 (38m)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt  Nouran Gohar (EGY) 2-0: 11-5, 11-5 (14m)
Men’s Group A
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 2-1: 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (40m)
Nick Matthew (ENG) bt  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 2-0: 11-6, 11-6 (16m)
Women’s Group B
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt  Laura Massaro (ENG) 2-0: 11-7, 11-5 (22m)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 2-0: 11-6, 11-9 (20m)
Men’s Group B
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt  Gregory Gaultier (FRA) 2-0: 11-8, 12-10 (21m)
 Ali Farag (EGY) bt  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 2-0: 11-5, 11-5 (21m)