Grasshopper Cup in Zurich, saw two great players battle to hold up the trophy and title at this PSA Tour event. The final match of the event saw World No.2 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) versus World No.8 Ali Farag (EGY) take to the court.

dwt17.25

The Frenchman, Gregory Gaultier, World No.2 and winner of the British Open, has been busy this year. After winning the Swedish Open, the Windy City Open, the British Open, and the El Gouna International Open, Gregory Gaultier has been on fire, blazing a path around the world during his PSA World Series and PSA Tour events.

Greg-Gaultier-1024x731

Gregory Gaultier (FRA)

The Frenchmen, at 34-years-old, became squash’s oldest World No.1 just recently in April — while the Road to Dubai standings had Gaultier end up as No.2 despite winning the British Open (having to lose the No.1 spot to Karim Abdel Gawad), he is considered the best male squash player in the world right now – and for good reason.

gaultier_gc2017web-787x453-785x452

It was his combative approach on the court, where he imposes his physical style of play, that landed Gaultier his 39th title of his career — and fifth consecutive tournament win in 2017 — when he defeated the Egyptian Ali Farag to win the 2017 Grasshopper Cup. This also meant that Gaultier has won his 23rd consecutive PSA Tour match win, as well.

gregory-gaultier

images

The Final Match

Gregory Gaultier was ranked number 3 for the event while Farag sat at number 5 — despite their rankings, it was clear the Frenchman and Egyptian were poised to take to the court for the finals.

The match lasted 53 minutes with a final scoreline of 3-0 in Gaultier’s favor — however, we’ll give you a breakdown of the game, because the scoreline truly doesn’t reflect the competitiveness of the match. Farag did not roll over and make it easy for Gaultier, which made this a great final match to watch.

Gregory Gaultier vs. Ali Farag

Gregory Gaultier vs. Ali Farag

Ali Farag was definitely the opponent that was going to make a final match difficult for Gaultier — a real challenge to Gaultier’s attacks on court, the Egyptian was paired well to make things difficult for him in all four corners of the court.

At the beginning of the game, Gaultier began with a thumping kill off the first serve that could have rattled any opponent, but Farag didn’t let it get to him. The Frenchman controlled the court in the early parts of the match, but Farag was happy to work his way on the board with rally after rally on a defensive counter position. However, the strong start from Gaultier was enough for the Frenchman to take the first game, 11-9.

farag 2

The second game started with Ali Farag reading Gaultier’s plays in the front of the court well, and making scoring extremely difficult for him. Unfortunately for Farag, Gaultier’s combative on-court style took over and Gregory stepped up and began sending Farag into all of the four corners. This had the Egyptian running and sapping his energy. A lesser player would have lost this round from the beginning, but Farag answered with some sweetly struck winners as he upset Gaultier’s rhythm, and he got the score back 8-9; however, he was soon overcome by Gaultier’s swift attacks and ended the second game 11-9 in the General’s favor.

Finally, game three saw Gregory Gaultier’s physical attacks drop off as he tired during the extremely active second game. He fell 4-1 in the beginning of the third as the intensity left his game. Farag took his opportunity as he was up in the score and he raced ahead, attacking short to open up the court for a lead 7-2 — even staying ahead until 10-8 — but Gaultier wasn’t done yet. Farag had two game balls in hand and tinned two balls in succession to see the game in a tie. The Frenchmen took advantage of another error by Farag and continued to sneak in balls. In the end, the third game finished 14-12 in favor of Gaultier — which is incredible as he had been losing 2-7 against Farag just minutes before as he tired.

Friends off court -- Here is Gaultier helping Farag off the court in 2016 after their five game match gave the Egyptian leg cramps.

Friends off court — Here is Gaultier helping Farag off the court in 2016 after their five game match gave the Egyptian leg cramps.

2017 Grasshopper Cup / Final Result

[3] Gaultier (FRA) bt [5] Farag (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 14-12 (53m)

It can definitely be said that Gregory Gaultier poses a threat on court to opponents, regardless of score and despite how tired he may become. His battling of opponents at all stages of the game, with attack changes and pace shake-ups is truly impressive. This was a well deserved and hard fought win by the Frenchmen, who won the title with a 3-0 victory that was narrower than one would think.

Even Gaultier stated that he was happy to win yet another title and felt he played well, but that “3-0 doesn’t reflect the battle because we played almost an hour.” And he couldn’t be more correct — the game was on pins and needles the entire time and narrow wins doesn’t do the resulting score justice for Ali Farag, who played an outstanding match against Gaultier.

25-year-old Ali Farag (EGY), No.8 in the World

25-year-old Ali Farag (EGY), No.8 in the World

We have certainly been keeping an eye on Gregory’s 2017 winning streak — this is what Gaultier had to say about it: “I’ve had an amazing run since January, but there’s no secret to the success. I’ve been working hard my whole life and have a team supporting me and working with me every day — and that work has been paying off. I had a bad run in 2016 with injuries and that has really motivated me this season as well.”

Gaultier's Victory at the Grasshopper Cup

Gaultier’s Victory at the Grasshopper Cup

So, it looks as if the General’s skill, determination, stamina, and aggressive court style are to thank for his continuous wins. It is no surprise that his injuries last year made him hit the ground running when he recovered, hoping to make every minute on court worth it. And he has.

What’s to Come for Gaultier

The Frenchman has two more events to play this season. His next event is the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic 2017 (simply called the Bellevue Classic), where he is seeded as number 1.

The Bellevue Classic could also see Gaultier reclaim the World No.1 spot from Karim Abdel Gawad — should he keep his level up and make it to the finals, he could make the end of this squash season the best one of his life — and take the No.1 world spot while collecting yet another title.

cropped-PMI_BELLEVUE_MENS_SQUASH_CLASSIC

Bellevue Classic

The Men’s Pacific Market International Bellevue Classic 2017 will be held at the Boys & Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House in Bellevue, Washington, USA from May 14 — May 20th, 2017.

This is a PSA M100 event and there is a $150,000 prize waiting for the title winner. Gregory Gaultier (FRA) is seeded number 1 and will be playing a yet-unknown qualifier. As an interesting note, Ali Farag will be seeded number 3. There are a ton of incredible players set for the first round, so a victory to the trophy is going to tough for all players in this anticipated event.

1st Round:

  • [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier
  • [6] Tarek Momen (EGY) v Qualifier
  • [7] Daryl Selby (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
  • [4] James Willstrop (ENG) v Max Lee (HKG)
  • [3] Ali Farag (EGY) v [WC] Dylan Cunningham (USA)
  • [8] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
  • [5] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier
  • [2] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Qualifier

[WC] = Wildcard

2017 Grasshopper Cup / Final Result

[3] Gaultier (FRA) bt [5] Farag (EGY) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 14-12 (53m)

Farag (EGY) on the left with Buchli, and Gregory Gaultier (FRA) on the right

Farag (EGY) on the left with Buchli, and Gregory Gaultier (FRA) on the right

Read Next

Nick Matthew and Cameron Pilley to Take the Court in Devon, England in May

Maria Toorpakai Wazir, Pakistani Squash Player, Appointed to IOC’s Women in Sport Commission

El Sherbini Retains Women’s World Championship Crown

Pakistan Lodges Complaint with World and Asian Squash Bodies Over Delayed Visas to Team

The Frenchman Does it Again: Gaultier Wins the El Go