Gina Kennedy makes her debut in Group A topped by Nouran Gohar with Sarah-Jane Perry in Group B led by Nour El Sherbini
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
Egypt’s Ali Farag and Mohamed ElShorbagy, now representing England, have been drawn together in the same group in next week’s CIB PSA World Tour Finals in a mouthwatering rematch of their epic battle in last month’s CIB PSA World Championship final.
Cairo is once again the venue for this season-ending jamboree starring the eight male and female players who led the CIB Road to Egypt standings.
Held between June 21-26 at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia, the CIB PSA World Tour Finals brings the curtain down on the 2021-22 PSA World Tour season.
Points for the CIB Road to Egypt Standings were on offer at all PSA World Tour events throughout the campaign, while winning a PSA World Tour Platinum trophy secured automatic qualification.
Farag finished top of the men’s standings after a strong end to the season in which he regained his world No.1 ranking and claimed his third world title.
He will feature in Group A alongside Peru’s Diego Elias, two-time winner ElShorbagy, who will appear on home soil for the first time since switching allegiance from Egypt to England, and World No.8 Mazen Hesham, who makes his debut at the event.
New Zealand’s Paul Coll tops Group B after finishing second in the standings, and he will have an eye on the world No.1 ranking in Cairo.
The 30-year-old can reclaim top spot from Farag if he wins the tournament without losing a match, which would grant him the maximum 1,600 bonus ranking points on offer, but he would need Farag to bow out before the semi-finals.
The only other way Coll can begin the summer break as world No.1 is if Farag fails to win a single match, while the Kiwi would still have to win the event if that happens, though he can afford to lose a group stage match en route.
Drawn in Coll’s group is defending champion Mostafa Asal, who beat Coll in the El Gouna International final earlier this month, as well as former world champion Tarek Momen and Welshman Joel Makin, who has now been eclipsed as the highest ranked British and European player following ElShorbagy’s switch to England.
World No.1 and defending champion Nouran Gohar is seeded first in the women’s event after topping the CIB Road to Egypt Standings and she will be joined in Group A by United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy, New Zealand’s Joelle King and England’s Georgina Kennedy, who will make her World Tour Finals debut.
Gohar will look to cap a season which has seen her win seven PSA titles and reach the final of 11 out of 13 tournaments.
One of her main rivals will be 2017-18 champion Nour El Sherbini, who beat her fellow Egyptian in the final of the CIB PSA World Championships. After finishing second on the standings, El Sherbini has been seeded top of Group B, where she is joined by 2019-20 champion Hania El Hammamy, England’s Sarah-Jane Perry and Egypt’s Rowan Elaraby, who will make her first appearance at the PSA World Tour Finals.
A record $400,000 prize fund will be split equally across both the women’s and men’s events as players compete in a best-of-three games group stage between June 21-24. The top two from each group qualify for the knockout semi-finals, where a place in the best-of-five games title decider will await the winner of those fixtures.
CIB PSA World Tour Finals: How It Works
Group stage action will begin on Tuesday June 21 at 19:00 local time (GMT+2). Six matches will be played per night for the first four days of the event until the group stage has drawn to a close.
Group stage matches will take place at 19:00, 19:30, 20:15, 20:45, 21:30 and 22:00 between June 21-24. The semi-finals will be held at 19:00 on Saturday June 25.
The finals will begin at 19:30 on Sunday June 26.
All matches will be held at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia and fixtures will be streamed live on SQUASHTV. The semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on the channels of contracted broadcast partners.
Pictures and graphics courtesy of PSA World Tour