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Shabana and Gaultier to Contest 2014 ToC Final

Four-time World Squash Champion Amr Shabana and French star Gregory Gaultier will contest the final of the 2014 J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions in New York’s Grand Central Terminal on Friday.

The duo booked their final berths with impressive victories over James Willstrop and Mohamed Elshorbagy, respectively, and will contest a final in which there is more than a title at stake.

Victory against Elshorbagy saw Gaultier draw level with England’s Nick Matthew atop the world rankings but victory in the final would see him surpass the Sheffield-player to become Squash World No.1 outright.

“Becoming World No.1 again by winning this match was a big goal for me,” said Gaultier. “Being World No.1 is a big thing for every player and I’m happy I got through today. Everybody was talking about it and I just tried to focus on the match and my tactics – but it gives you a bit of tension and I started the game flat and he came out on fire.

“Today was my turn – one day it will be his – but I keep pushing to try and beat these young players. One day he’ll be up there instead of me so I’m going to enjoy it for a bit but I have another match to play tomorrow.

“Shabana has been unbelievable this week – when he playing like this he is probably the best player.

“To me he his the most inspiring guy and technically I think he is the best. When I’ve watched him this week he has inspired me – but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to beat him – I want to win tomorrow.”

Shabana, who impressed in a 3-1 win over Willstrop in an enthralling contest, will also be hoping to end what has been a tough period of time for him with injury and illness having interrupted his past few seasons and win his first PSA World Series ranking event since 2011.

“I’m really over the moon,” said Shabana after his 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5 win.

“Any time you get a win over a player the calibre of James Willstrop you have to be playing your best.

“I’ve made it to the final and I’m happy but I’m just trying to take it day by and day and do my best. Playing in a final at Grand Central is an amazing experience.

“The crowd really get behind the players and we love it so win or lose you just try and enjoy the experience.”

2014 J.P Morgan Tournament of Champions – Semi-finals:

[7] Amr Shabana (EGY) bt [4] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-1: 11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-5   61 mins

[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [3] Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 14-12  75 mins

Schedule of Play, Friday January 24 – Final 

7:45 pm [7] Amr Shabana (EGY) v  [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA)