Serme debuts in Macau as top seed while Golan tops men’s draw
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
The 2018 Macau Squash Open marks the seventh consecutive edition of the event. It will once again offer a total purse of US$ 50,000 in each of the men’s and women’s categories. The event will run from 27 March to 1 April 2018 and has attracted participation from a total of 17 nations. All earlier rounds will be played at the Macau Bowling Centre while the semis and finals will be played on an all-glass court erected on Tap Seac Square.
France’s highest ever ranked women’s player and world number 5 will make her debut in the Macau Open as top seed. Defending champion Nouran Gohar of Egypt returns to defend her title and is seeded to face Serme in the final, whom she beat in their last meeting.
Local favourite Annie Au is the third seed and she will be looking to go one better than last year where she went out in the last four. American Olivia Blatchford, the world number 13, rounds up the top quartet of the draw.
Egyptian Yathreb Adel, who last year took out top seed Raneem El Weilily en route to a surprise semi final appearance, also returns to the event to play through qualifying and will be looking once again to spring up a surprise or two.
Local challenge will be headed by wild card Gigi Yeung, who is drawn to meet American Olivia Blatchford. Gigi is returning to the event after a year’s absence being abroad in Canada on studies, where she has been training with Mike Johnson.
“I’m very happy to be back playing at home. Training abroad with Mike has given me the opportunity to play with a lot of different players and I’ve gained valuable experience from that. These experiences have helped improve my game a lot and I hope to put up a good showing,” said Leung.
Leung will be joined by compatriots Liu Kwai Chi, Yeung Wai Ling and Leong Leng Lam in the qualifiers.
In the men’s event, Spaniard Borja Golan and Mexico’s Cesar Salazar, the world numbers 17 and 19, heads the seeding, with 2013 champion Omar Mosaad seeded at 3. Hong Kong’s Leo Au comes in as the fourth seed and for the first time, at a higher position than his compatriot Max Lee. The pair are, however, drawn to face each other in the last eight should both win their first round matches.
Seasoned local, Steven Liu will be the wildcard in the men’s event and will have the opportunity to take on “The Falcon” Mazen Hesham of Egypt, arguably one of the most exciting players on the tour. The 24-year old is looking forward to the match, saying:
“Mazen is a very talented player amongst the top players. His trademark drop shots are just spectacular and I would love to see that on court with him. I will do my best, try not to make too many mistakes and give away cheap points.
Austin Van, Manuel Gassmann, Wu Ka Chon and Carlos Chan Gassman make up the other four local men in the qualifiers.
The 2018 Macau Squash Open is organised by the Macau Squash Association and is jointly sponsored and supported be the Instituto para os Assuntos Civicos e Municipais, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, Jetone Motion (Macau) Limited and Macau Coca-Cola Beverage. Co. Ltd.
Tickets for the semi finals and finals are numbered and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. For more details and to reserve your seat, call Macau Squash ticketing hotline 2853 0497 or email [email protected]
Matches from the semi finals and finals will also be aired live on Macau Squash’s Facebook page.
Picture by Macau Squash