Mohamed Elshorbagy and Nour El Sherbini top seeds in Hong Kong
By NATHAN CLARKE
The draw for the opening tournament of the 2016-17 PSA World Series season, the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, will see the world’s top players descend on the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ during the last week of August with the hopes of securing the first major title of the new campaign.
One of the longest-running major tournaments on the PSA World Tour, having celebrated its 30th anniversary last season, the Hong Kong Open will welcome 112 players from around the world to the Hong Kong Squash Centre on August 23.
They will be aiming to take the first steps towards a top eight finish on the 2016-17 PSA Road To Dubai Standings and a place at the lucrative season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals.
Only the top eight players on the Men’s and Women’s ‘Road To Dubai Standings’ will qualify for the end of season Finals, which offers one of the biggest purses in professional squash, and with a strong start vital to hopes of securing one of those coveted berths the action in Hong Kong is set to be fierce from day one.
Having gone undefeated in Hong Kong for over 10 years, reigning champion Nicol David will be out to extend her winning streak in what looks set to be a highly competitive women’s field.
David will occupy the number four seeding behind top seeded World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, World No.2 Laura Massaro and Raneem El Welily, the player who ended David’s nine-year reign as World No.1 last September.
In the Men’s draw World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy will be aiming to extend his recent domination of the World Series as he returns to the tournament that first saw him scale to the top of the World Rankings in 2014.
The 24-year-old Egyptian won six back-to-back titles last year but will face stiff competition in a field that includes World Champion Gregory Gaultier and the returning Ramy Ashour, the Egyptian maverick who dominated the Tour prior to 2013.
2016 Hong Kong Open.
Men’s First Round Draw:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Leo Au (HKG) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Tom Richards (ENG) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v Simon Rösner (GER)
[Qualifier] v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
Women’s First Round Draw:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v [Qualifier]
Line Hansen (DEN) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Joey Chan (HKG)
Victoria Lust (ENG) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
 Nicol David (MAS) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v [WC] Ho Tze-Lok (HKG)
Dipika Pallikal (IND) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
The 2016 Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open gets under way with qualification at the Hong Kong Football Club on Saturday August 21. Main draw action begins on Monday August 23 at the Hong Kong Squash Centre before the action moves to the Hong Kong Parks Sports Centre for the quarter-finals onwards.
Only the top eight players on the ‘PSA Road To Dubai Standings’ at the end of the season will qualify for the PSA Dubai World Series Finals, which will take place in Dubai from June 5-9.
Players accumulate ranking points at each World Series tournament during the season, which includes the likes of the Delaware Investments U.S. Open, J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and Allam British Open.
Pictures courtesy of PSA