Max Lee draws Mohamed ElShorbagy in first round
By NATHAN CLARKE
The main draw of the 2017 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open has thrown up some difficult first round fixtures for the home players on display after the country’s No.1 male player Max Lee and tournament wildcards Leo Au and Liu Tsz-Ling were all handed matchups against former winners of the World Series tournament.
Taking place at the Hong Kong Squash Centre between November 14-19, the Hong Kong Open will be the third World Series tournament of the 2017-18 season and home hero Max Lee will come up against two-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy in round one.
Lee became the first player from Hong Kong in over 30 years to reach the semi-finals last year and the man he lost to there, eventual winner Ramy Ashour, will aim to take out home opposition for a second year in succession when he clashes with men’s wildcard Au in round one.
Ashour, who has three Hong Kong Open titles to his name, is seeded on the bottom half of the draw and could meet World No.5 Ali Farag in round two if he beats Au, while World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad is also involved in the bottom half as he looks to do one better than last year’s runner-up finish at the hands of Ashour.
World No.1 Gregory Gaultier is seeded first for the tournament and he begins his campaign against fellow Frenchman Gregoire Marche, who collected a third successive Open International de Squash de Nantes title earlier this month.
Gaultier is yet to taste success at the Hong Kong Open – losing in five finals – and, if results go according to seeding, he will meet ElShorbagy in the last four for a place in another final.
Women’s wildcard Liu will take on defending champion Nouran Gohar in round one of the women’s draw, with Gohar seeded to meet World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in a mouthwatering quarter-final fixture.
Elsewhere, England’s Laura Massaro opens up against a qualifier and is seeded to meet El Sherbini in the last four, while the bottom half of the draw also features a host of world-class talent, with Raneem El Welily, Camille Serme, Nicol David and Sarah-Jane Perry all involved.
Two-time runner-up El Welily meets World No.24 Fiona Moverley in round one and could come up against Perry in the last eight.
Perry ended a four-match losing streak to El Welily in January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and a second successive win could see her through to face either World No.3 Camille Serme or Malaysia’s record 10-time winner Nicol David in the semi-finals, with the duo seeded to meet in a titanic last eight clash.
Points for the World Series Standings will be on offer as players aim to qualify for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals, with only the top eight players on the men’s and women’s standings earning a spot at the season-ending tournament.
The qualifying stages for the 2017 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open take place between November 12-13 at the Hong Kong Football Club. The main draw will be staged at the Hong Kong Squash Centre between November 14-16 before moving to the glass court erected at the arena of Hong Kong Park Sports Centre on November 17-19.
Action from every round of the tournament will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe Only), while the semi-finals and finals will be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
2017 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open,
Men’s First Round Draw:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Paul Coll (NZL) v [Qualifier]
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Simon Rösner (GER)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [WC] Leo Au (HKG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Women’s First Round Draw:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Donna Urquhart (AUS) v  Victoria Lust (ENG)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) v Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
[Qualifier] v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Nicol David (MAS)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
Fiona Moverley (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
For more information, please visit the tournament website: http://www.hksquashopen.com
Pictures from Squash Mad archive