Defending Champion Massaro Within Touching Distance of World Series Finals Qualification
By SEAN REUTHE – PSA World Tour
England’s World No.7 Laura Massaro moved closer to qualification for next month’s ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals after her semi-final finish at last week’s El Gouna International saw her move up to fifth on the PSA World Series Standings.
Points for the World Series Standings are on offer at all eight World Series tournaments throughout the 2017/18 season, with a top eight finish guaranteeing players a spot at the season-ending PSA World Series Finals, which will take place at Emirates Golf Club between June 5-9.
And Massaro, the 34-year-old from Preston, has all but booked her place in Dubai after her semi-final finish in Egypt yielded 40 points, which has seen her move 55 points clear of ninth-placed Alison Waters with just one World Series tournament – the Allam British Open in Hull – left to be played this season.
Massaro, who beat the current leader of the World Series Standings – World No.1 Nour El Sherbini – in last year’s final, sits behind the already qualified quartet of El Sherbini, World Champion Raneem El Welily, World No.3 Nour El Tayeb and Windy City Open runner-up Joelle King.
A first round win at the British Open would ensure that Massaro qualifies for Dubai, while France’s Camille Serme, Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and Massaro’s compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry take up the final three spots in the top eight heading into the final World Series tournament of the campaign.
Along with Waters, Malaysia’s eight-time World Champion Nicol David and Hong Kong’s Annie Au are also in the mix, although they would need to reach the latter stages of the tournament, while hoping that results elsewhere go their way, if they are to have any chance of qualifying.
On the men’s standings, World No.3 Marwan ElShorbagy’s maiden World Series triumph in El Gouna has seen him rise above Tarek Momen and Simon Rösner to sit in third behind current leader and older brother Mohamed and World No.2 Ali Farag – with all five players having booked their spots in Dubai.
Three-time winner Gregory Gaultier sits in sixth with 145 points ahead of 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad, who has 130 points. Both players are yet to mathematically secure their places in Dubai and could miss out if they fail to make it to the semi-finals and results elsewhere go against them.
Taking the final spot inside the men’s top eight is England’s Nick Matthew, who will aim to defend a slender five-point lead over Egypt’s Omar Mosaad going into his final British Open.
The 37-year-old veteran will retire at the end of the season, but whether his last PSA World Tour appearance comes in Hull or Dubai depends on whether he can better Mosaad’s placing at the British Open.
To qualify for Dubai, Matthew must finish higher than Mosaad and Peru’s Diego Elias, who sits in 10th, but the Yorkshireman has a difficult first round encounter with World No.5 Tarek Momen in store, while Mosaad faces a qualifier in round one.
Elias lines up against World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, while Egyptian maverick Ramy Ashour – a two-time World Series Finals champion – is a dark horse for qualification and would need to win a second British Open crown if he is to book a spot at the season-ending event.
The final battle for qualification will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) as players battle for the prestigious British Open title between May 15-20, while action from the semi-finals and finals will be broadcast on mainstream channels across the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals will go on sale soon.
Pictures by: PSA World Tour