Willstrop provides Hull of a battle for world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in British Open first round
By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor
As former world No.1 James Willstrop works his way back to fitness, his ranking anomaly (he has slipped to 13 in the world) means that he is likely to turn up in some very unexpected places in major tournament draws.
In the first round of the 2015 Allam British Open, Willstrop has been drawn to meet the top seed and current world No,1, Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt. It promises to be a titanic battle as the British Open returns to Hull Sports Arena on Monday May 11.
Willstrop, who underwent a hip operation in September, will be aiming to peak in tournament where he will undoubtedly feel at his most comfortable, competing in his home county of Yorkshire.
Elshorbagy will be keen to reassert his authority after being chopped by Willstrop’s fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew in the final of the Windy City Open in Chicago.
The opening day on the glass court in Hull will also see Essex’s World No.8 Peter Barker up against French World No.12 Mathieu Castagnet in another massive encounter.
With World No.18 Cameron Pilley facing World No.20 Karim Abdel Gawad, World No.9 Simon Rösner against World No.14 Marwan Elshorbagy and World No.6 Miguel Angel Rodriguez against his training partner, World No.16 Max Lee, the Allam British Open looks set to wreak havoc with the form book in what will be a gripping week in Yorkshire.
Another massive match-up involves India’s Saurav Ghosal against Spanish No.1 Borja Golan, with wild card Adrian Waller meeting Egypt’s No.7 seed Tarek Momen.
“I am delighted to welcome the world’s best squash players back to Hull to compete for the 2015 Allam British Open title,” said tournament title sponsor Dr Allam.
“Squash is a great passion of mine and to bring these amazing athletes from all corners of the globe to the UK, and particularly Hull in East Yorkshire, is an enormous pleasure.
“I look forward to watching some great matches, seeing the best of both the men and woman in action and seeing new talent coming through, all competing for this world famous title.”
Defending champion Gregory Gaultier, the maverick Frenchman, will begin his defence with a theoretically easy tie against a qualifier while the man he beat to the title in 2014, England’s three-time British Open champion, Matthew, also faces a qualifier.
2015 Allam British Open – Main Draw:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Fares Dessouki (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Adrian Waller (ENG) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Max Lee (HKG)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
The 2015 Allam British Open gets underway the The Sports Arena, Hull, on Monday May 11 – Sunday May 17, with tickets costing from £10 and available to purchase at: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/British-Open-Squash-Championships-tickets/artist/1686792?SREF=TWArtist
The full main draw will also be shown live in its entirety on SQUASHTV: www.psaworldtour.com/tv
Picture courtesy of PSA