Dubai race hots up
By SEAN REUTHE
World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad has overtaken World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy at the summit of the 2016-17 PSA Road to Dubai Standings after he defeated his fellow Egyptian last week in the final of the Qatar Classic, the third stage on the Men’s Road to Dubai.
Gawad, the World No.3 from Giza, has been in sublime form so far this season, reaching a maiden World Series final at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open in August, before triumphing over ElShorbagy in Doha to take the maximum 100 points available – just two weeks after lifting the PSA Men’s World Championship title.
Only the top eight players on the PSA Road to Dubai standings will qualify for the Dubai PSA World Series Finals, which will take place inside the stunning Dubai Opera House from June 6-10, 2017.
Every PSA World Series tournament offers players the chance to compete for vital points on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings, with a coveted berth at the Dubai PSA World Series Finals – which will see the world’s top stars battle for one of the sport’s most prestigious and lucrative titles – up for grabs.
“To reach Dubai would be a dream come true for me, I’ve been dreaming about playing in the World Series Finals since I started playing on the Tour,” said Gawad.
“When I first started dreaming of this, I was very far down the rankings, but every year I’ve been getting closer and closer. Last year I was very close, but I skipped two World Series events, so that’s why I couldn’t make it to the World Series Finals.
“This year, I am focusing on playing this event and I am very glad that I am very near to playing the World Series Finals this year. I will keep working and keep focusing in the next tournaments.”
Gawad sits atop the PSA Road to Dubai Standings with 205 points, 25 ahead of Delaware Investments U.S. Open winner ElShorbagy.
U.S. Open finalist Nick Matthew comes next with 105 points, with Hong Kong Open winner Ramy Ashour (100) and U.S. Open semi-finalist James Willstrop (80) rounding off the top five.
Hong Kong Open semi-finalists Max Lee and Ryan Cuskelly, and the younger ElShorbagy brother, Marwan, are the other players currently in the top eight, with the trio all sitting on 65 points.
The Women’s standings are unchanged and see Camille Serme and Nouran Gohar sit level at the top with 125 points after winning the U.S. Open and Hong Kong Open, respectively.
United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy and World No.1 Nour El Sherbini follow with 105 points courtesy of respective runner-up finishes at the Hong Kong Open and U.S. Open, while Nicol David (65), Raneem El Welily (55), Laura Massaro (50) and Nour El Tayeb (40) make up the rest of the top eight.
The next stage on the PSA Road to Dubai will be the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, which takes place between January 12-19, 2017 in the iconic setting of New York’s Grand Central Terminal.
The 2016-17 Dubai PSA World Series Finals will take place from June 6-10 at the Dubai Opera House and further information can be found by visiting www.worldseriesfinals.com
2016-17 PSA Road to Dubai Standings:
Picture by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA