Group of death features Gaultier, Ashour, ElShorbagy and Willstrop
By NATHAN CLARKE
The 2016-17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals, taking place at Dubai Opera from June 6-10, looks certain to deliver a blockbuster climax to the squash season after a quartet of former world number ones in the guise of Gregory Gaultier, Ramy Ashour, Mohamed ElShorbagy and James Willstrop were drawn together in a mouthwatering group stage. It has already been branded the Group of Death by three-times world champion Nick Matthew in a Twitter post.
The lucrative tournament, which has $160,000 on offer in both the men’s and women’s draws, will see the players face off against each other in a round-robin best-of-three series from June 6-8 for a place in the knockout semi-finals and beyond – with only two players progressing from each group.
Current World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad, the man who topped the PSA Road To Dubai Standings, finds himself going up against another former No.1, Matthew, the in-form Marwan ElShorbagy and Germany’s hard-hitting Simon Rosner in the second group – with both Gawad and ElShorbagy making their debut appearance at the prestigious tournament.
The five day event brings together the cream of squash talent and the Women’s Group Draw has pitted three World Championship winners – Egypt’s two-time winner Nour El Sherbini, Malaysia’s eight-time winner Nicol David and 2013 World Champion, and defending World Series Finals Champion, Laura Massaro – alongside debutant Sarah-Jane Perry.
While the second group will see Camille Serme – the Frenchwoman who topped the Women’s Road To Dubai Standings, Egypt’s first ever women’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily, 19-year-old Nouran Gohar and England’s Alison Waters clash for a place in the coveted knock-out stages.
When the Group stages get under way on June 6, Gaultier – who has gone 27 matches undefeated in 2017 – Ashour, ElShorbagy and Willstrop will take to court during the day’s second session of play – beginning 9:30pm local time – alongside El Sherbini, Massaro, David and Perry.
Both Group As will be in action from 3:00pm local time.
The PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place from June 6-10, 2017 with the tournament match schedule to be announced on Monday June 5. All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
Group stage matches will take place at 15:00pm, 15:45pm, 16:45pm and 17:30pm (Group A) and 21:30pm, 22:15pm, 23:15pm and 00:00am (Group B) between June 6-8 with the semi-finals due to take place from 22:00pm on June 9. The finals will commence at 22:00pm local time on June 10.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased at https://dubaiopera.etixdubai.com/shows/show.aspx?sh=PSAUMB
2016-17 PSA Dubai World Series Finals, Dubai Opera House, June 6-10.
Women’s Group A:
Raneem El Welily
Women’s Group B:
Nour El Sherbini
Men’s Group A:
Karim Abdel Gawad
Men’s Group B:
Pictures by GETTY IMAGES courtesy of PSA