Stars line up for richest 16-man draw in history
By SEAN REUTHE
Current World No.1 Gregory Gaultier is seeded to meet former World No.1 James Willstrop in the semi-final stage of next month’s Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic after the main draw for the PSA M100 tournament was released today (April 21).
With a share of the $150,000 prize fund up for grabs, the Bellevue Classic is the most lucrative 16-man main draw squash tournament of all time and will see Gaultier and Willstrop battle for honours between May 16-20 at the Boys and Girls Club Hidden Valley Field House in Bellevue, Washington.
Bellevue became the first city in the United States to hold the PSA Men’s World Championship when it staged the iconic tournament in November 2015 and Gaultier, who captured that title, has been the in-form man on the PSA World Tour in 2017, claiming four Tour titles and losing just once.
The Frenchman is currently the oldest World No.1 of all time and, while he will lose top spot to World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad in next month’s rankings, the 34-year-old will look to continue his stunning form when he takes on a qualifier in round one in Bellevue.
Willstrop (right) begins his tournament against Hong Kong’s World No.16 Max Lee, while the other half of the draw boasts a strong Egyptian presence which includes three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour, World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy and World No.6 Ali Farag.
Ashour and ElShorbagy both kick-start their tournaments against qualifiers and are seeded to face each other in the quarter-finals, with the winner of that fixture set to face Farag for a place in the final if the 24-year-old plays to his seeding.
Tournament wild card and United States No.5 Dylan Cunningham will take on Farag in round one.
The qualifying stages of the Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic, PSA M100 tournament will take place between May 14-15 at the PRO Sports Club, which also staged the qualifying rounds for the 2015 World Championship, while the main draw will be held between May 16-20.
Tickets for the tournament start from $80 and can be purchased here: www.sportyhq.com/ticket/view/tournament/2604
The whole tournament will also be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only).
Results title (i.e. First Round):
2017 Pacific Market International Bellevue Squash Classic – First Round Draw:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Daryl Selby (ENG) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Max Lee (ESP) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [WC] Dylan Cunningham (USA)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier] [Qualifier] v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA