By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Reporter)
The draws have been released for the historic U.S. Open taking place at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia between October 8-15. Egyptian duo and defending champions Mostafa Asal and Nouran Gohar feature in the draws as the No.3 and No.1 seeds, respectively.
World No.1 Gohar will be looking to claim a third consecutive U.S. Open title. Gohar defeated compatriot Hania El Hammamy in last year’s women’s final, winning a 3-1 encounter in 74 minutes. Gohar receives a bye in round one of this year’s event and will then face India’s 9/16 seed Joshna Chinappa in round two.
World Champion Nour El Sherbini is yet to get her name on the U.S. Open trophy, losing out in the final on three occasions in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
This year she will be boosted by the appointment of former men’s world champion Gregory Gaultier as her new coach as she bids to regain the coveted No.1 ranking from Gohar.
After receiving a round one bye, El Sherbini will play the winner of Zeina Mickawy or Ineta Mackevica in her opening match. She is then set to face 9/16 seed Tesni Evans for a place in the quarter finals.
Recent CIB Zed Open champion Nour El Tayeb will be a worry for all of the top eight seeds heading into major tournaments this season. El Tayeb, who won the 2017 event alongside her husband, top seed Ali Farag, will start her title challenge against either Nicole Bunyan or Hana Ramadan and is then set to face England’s No.1 and No.6 seed Sarah-Jane Perry for a spot in the last eight.
Egypt’s World No.3 El Hammamy has not been shy about her ambitions for this season and is determined to capture Platinum event titles to reach her ultimate goal of becoming the World No.1. The 21-year-old faces a tough test in her opening match of the tournament as she faces World No.11 Olivia Fiechter in round two.
In terms of home interest, USA No.1 Amanda Sobhy is seeded at No.4 and is the highest ranked American in a draw that also includes Fiechter, younger sister Sabrina, Olivia Clyne as well as the Stefanoni sisters, Lucie and Marina.
England’s Sarah-Jane Perry and Commonwealth Games champion Gina Kennedy receive byes in the first round, as does Wales’s Tesni Evans.
England’s Lucy Turmel, Jasmine Hutton, Julianne Courtice and Grace Gear are all in action in the first round, along with Emily Whitlock (Wales) and Lisa Aitken (Scotland).
Asal became the youngest ever men’s U.S. Open champion last year at the age of 20 and has risen seven places in the PSA World Rankings since then, sitting at No.3.
He will be looking to recreate his form from last year’s event and become the first male player to successfully defend the U.S. Open title since Lee Beachill in 2005. Asal is the No.3 seed for the event and plays either Raphael Kandra or Zahed Salem in his first match after a first-round bye.
World No.1 Farag is the top seed for the men’s event and will be determined to avenge a disappointing 2021 U.S. Open finish as he lost out in the quarter finals to Joel Makin, in Farag’s joint worst finish throughout the entire 2021-22 season.
Like Gohar, Farag is also a two-time champion and will play either Scotland’s Alan Clyne or Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng in his opening match in Philadelphia.
World No.2 Paul Coll from New Zealand is likely to face Mohamed ElShorbagy, now representing England, in the quarter-finals.
World No.7 Joel Makin reached the semi-finals last season but opens his account with a tricky round two match against French No.1 Gregoire Marche. The Frenchman currently sits at World No.14 and will surely provide a tough test to the Manchester Open champion with his impressive athleticism. The winner is then scheduled to face the always dangerous Fares Dessouky in round three.
England’s James Willstrop, Patrick Rooney, Nathan Lake and George Parker are all in action in the first round, as are Scotland’s Greg Lobban and Alan Clyne
Recent CIB Zed Open champion Youssef Soliman will play Swiss No.1 Nicolas Mueller for a place in round three. The pair have played twice previously on the PSA World Tour, with the head-to-head record level at 1-1. The victor of that match will set up a last 16 encounter with No.8 seed Mazen Hesham for a place in the quarter finals.
World No.30 Shahjahan Khan is the highest ranked American man and will be joined in the draw by Todd Harrity, Faraz Khan and Timothy Brownell.
The action from the U.S. Open will be shown live on SQUASHTV, while semis and finals will be shown on the channels of PSA’s broadcast partners.
US Open, Arlen Specter US Squash Center, Philadelphia, USA (October 8-15).
US Open 2022: Men’s Draw Ali Farag (EGY) [Bye] Alan Clyne (SCO) v [17/32] Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
[9/16] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) [Bye] Nathan Lake (ENG) v [17/32] Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) [Bye] Borja Golan (ESP) v [17/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[9/16] Victor Crouin (FRA) [Bye]  Tarek Momen (EGY) [Bye]  Mazen Hesham (EGY) [Bye] Lucas Serme (FRA) v [17/32] James Willstrop (ENG)
[9/16] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) [Bye] [9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) [Bye] [17/32] Patrick Rooney (ENG) v [WC] Faraz Khan (USA)
[9/16] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [Bye] [17/32] Raphael Kandra (GER) v Zahed Salem (EGY)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) [Bye]  Diego Elias (PER) [Bye] Dimitiri Steinmann (SUI) v [17/32] Shahjahan Khan (USA)
[17/32] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v Mazen Gamal (EGY)
Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) v [17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[17/32] Leonel Cardenas (MEX) v Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)
[9/16] Fares Dessouky (EGY) [Bye] [9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA) [Bye]  Joel Makin (WAL) [Bye]  Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) [Bye] [WC] Timothy Brownell (USA) v [17/32] Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
[17/32] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) v Auguste Dussourd (FRA)
Tayyab Aslam (PAK) v [17/32] George Parker (ENG)
[17/32] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
Todd Harrity (USA) v [17/32] Ramit Tandon (IND)
[17/32] Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) v Bernat Jaume (ESP)
 Paul Coll (NZL) [Bye]
US Open 2022: Women’s Draw Nouran Gohar (EGY) [Bye] [9/16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) [Bye] [17/32] Lisa Aitken (SCO) v Cristina Gomez (ESP)
Anna Serme (CZE) v [17/32] Emily Whitlock (WAL)
[17/32] Jasmine Hutton (ENG) v Sana Ibrahim (EGY)
[9/16] Nele Gilis (BEL) [Bye] [17/32] Rachel Arnold (MAS) v Grace Gear (ENG)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) [Bye]  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [Bye] [WC] Marina Stefanoni (USA) v [17/32] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[9/16] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [Bye] Nicole Bunyan (CAN) v [17/32] Hana Ramadan (EGY)
[17/32] Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Marie Stephan (FRA)
Enora Villard (FRA) v [17/32] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
[17/32] Melissa Alves (FRA) v Emilia Soini (FIN)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) [Bye]  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [Bye] [9/16] Olivia Fiechter (USA)
[17/32] Sabrina Sobhy (USA) v Chan Sin Yuk (HKG)
[9/16] Salma Hany (EGY) [Bye] [9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY) [Bye] Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Aifa Azman (MAS)
[17/32] Tomato Ho (HKG) v Jana Shiha (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) [Bye]  Georgina Kennedy (ENG) [Bye] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Olivia Clyne (USA) v Ka Yi Lee (HKG)
[9/16] Farida Mohamed (EGY) [Bye] [9/16] Tesni Evans (WAL) [Bye] [WC] Lucie Stefanoni (USA) [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Ineta Mackevica (LAT)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [Bye]
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour