US SQUASH

El Sherbini and Rösner Reign in Grand Central Terminal

2018 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions winners Nour El Sherbini (l) and Simon Rösner

Egypt’s world No. 1 Nour El Sherbini claimed her second career J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title, while Simon Rösner became the first German to win a PSA World Series title with his career first Thursday night in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.

A five-game, all-Egyptian women’s final led off the evening session in Vanderbilt Hall between El Sherbini and Nour El Tayeb, who was making her first World Series final appearance since winning the U.S. Open in October.

El Tayeb earned a 2-1 lead after the first three games with the same lethal shot-making ability on display that got her to the final. El Sherbini shifted the momentum in the fourth to win 11-7, before closing out the match in the fifth 11-7 after fifty-six minutes.

The twenty-two-year-old from Alexandria has now already won two World Series titles this month, following up her Saudi PSA Squash Masters title with her second in Grand Central. El Sherbini’s first career World Series title came in 2016 at the ToC when she defeated Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling right now, I cannot describe it,” said El Sherbini. “I’m extremely happy, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to 2018. I’ve been playing well and this is my fifth final in a row. I worked really hard in the summer and have been trying to enjoy playing when I’m out there and that hard work is paying off right now. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season.”

Nour El Sherbini (r) against Nour El Tayeb

The ensuing men’s final between Egypt’s world No. 7 Tarek Momen and world No. 8 Rösner guaranteed a first-time ToC and first-time PSA World Series champion after both players produced major semifinal upsets over world No. 3 Ali Farag and world No. 1 Gregory Gaultier, respectively.

After splitting the first two games, Rösner started to assert his lead by winning the third 11-6 before overpowering Momen 11-5 in the fourth game after seventy-one minutes.

“It’s a unbelievable feeling,” said Rösner, who will move up to World No.6 in next month’s World Rankings. That was the biggest match of my career and to win it is incredible. Coming here this week, I didn’t expect to win the championship. But this is what you work for every day. To play on this kind of stage is the reason you wake up, train hard, stay disciplined and go through all of that. And for that to pay off, in New York, in Grand Central Terminal, with the Tournament of Champions title—it’s unbelievable.”

2018 marked the twenty-first year the ToC was held inside Grand Central Terminal.

For more tournament coverage visit www.tocsquash.com.

Simon Rösner (r) against Tarek Momen.

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