Stars out to deliver top performances at postal company’s new HQ
By ELLIE MAWSON and ALAN THATCHER
The draws for the 2019 DPD Open Squash have been announced today, with some blockbuster clashes in store at the DPD Hub in the Netherlands city of Eindhoven between April 9-14.
Some 48 of the best male and female players will descend on the Dutch city next month to battle it out for the PSA World Tour Gold titles.
The tournament will take place at the distribution company’s new office building in Eindoven, which will house the glass court and seating. It is a novel approach to delivering sponsorship benefits, with three other glass court events set to take place across the country. DPD have also committed to sponsoring the Dutch Federation as part of the forward-thinking deal, put together by PSA commercial director Tommy Berden, who is based in The Netherlands.
World No.1 and World Champion Ali Farag is seeded to meet compatriot and World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final. The two players have become familiar foes on the PSA World Tour in recent months, battling it out in three finals already in 2018-19 this season.
Farag will first have to negotiate through a tough field, which sees him drawn on the same side as Colombia’s 2018 British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez, compatriot Mohamed Abouelghar and Germany’s World No.5 Simon Rösner, who he could face in the last four.
ElShorbagy, meanwhile, could face a showdown with compatriot and former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad for a place in the final. Also seeded in the bottom half of the draw is New Zealand’s Paul Coll, who recently won the Citigold Wealth Management Canary Wharf Squash Classic title and ElShorbagy’s younger brother, Marwan.
In the women’s draw, World No.1 Raneem El Welily and World Champion Nour El Sherbini could lock horns in the final of the DPD Open, in their fourth meeting in a final this season.
The 2019 Black Ball Open winner, El Welily could face compatriot and World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the semi-finals of the tournament. The last time the two players came up against each other was in the last four of the PSA World Championships in Chicago when El Tayeb put an end to El Welily’s title defence.
El Sherbini, meanwhile, could face a rematch with France’s World No.4 Camille Serme in the semi-finals in Eindhoven. The two players have faced each other in their last two tournaments with both matches going to five-games and seeing the Egyptian triumph.
Also in the bottom half of the draw is England’s former World No.1 Laura Massaro and Egypt’s World No.8 Nouran Gohar.
Home interest in the women’s draw comes in the form of Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden and wildcard Tessa ter Sluis, who will face England’s Millie Tomlinson and Egypt’s Yathreb Adel, respectively, in round one.
The men’s wild card will be decided on March 31 in a Play-Off match between Roshan Bharos and Thijs Roukens. The winner of that match takes on Joel Makin from Wales in the opening round.
Tickets for the DPD Open are available for purchase through Ticketmaster.
DPD Open Squash, DPD Hub, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
 Ali Farag (EGY) [Bye]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [9/16] James Willstrop (ENG)
[9/16] Daryl Selby (ENG) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) [Bye]
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [Bye]
Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [9/16] Declan James (ENG)
[9/16] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
 Simon Rösner (GER) [Bye]
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [Bye]
Borja Golan (ESP) v [9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) v George Parker (ENG)
 Paul Coll (NZL) [Bye]
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [Bye]
[Wildcard] v [9/16] Joel Makin (WAL)
[9/16] Tom Richards (ENG) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [Bye]
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [Bye]
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v [9/16] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
[9/16] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) [Bye]
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [Bye]
Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [9/16] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
[9/16] Tesni Evans (WAL) v Nele Gilis (BEL)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [Bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [Bye]
[WC] Tessa ter Sluis (NED) v [9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[9/16] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [Bye]
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [Bye]
Coline Aumard (FRA) v [9/16] Alison Waters (ENG)
[9/16] Nicol David (MAS) v Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [Bye]
Pictures courtesy of PSA