El Weleily and Rosner top Macau seedings
By Alex Wan – Squash Mad Asian Bureau Editor
The Macau Squash Open will be making its sixth consecutive appearance on the PSA World Tour this year. Like last year, it offers $50,000 on-site prize money and bonuses each in the men’s and women’s categories. The event will run from 19 – 24 September, and has attracted participants from a total of 18 countries.
The event is organised by the Macau Squash Association with Macao Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government returning once again as the title sponsors. The event is also supported by TDM as the official media partner and Coca-Cola Beverage Company Limited Macau as the official drinks partner.
Former world number 1 and current world number 2 Raneem El Weleily returns to the event once again. Her last appearance was in 2014 where she lost in the final to Nicol David. She heads the seeding ahead of compatriot Nouran Gohar, currently the world number 5. Hong Kong’s Annie Au and defending champion Joelle King, who won her biggest career title here last year, complete the top four seeds in the women’s category.
In the men’s, world number 11 Simon Rosner of Germany is the top seed ahead of Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar. Local favourite Max Lee, who was forced to concede the final last year, will be bidding for a third straight final after winning the event in 2015. India’s Saurav Ghosal, who was ousted in the last four last year, complete the top quartet. Hong Kong’s Leo Au will also be a hit in the event with the local supporters, especially coming in fresh from victory at the HKFC International.
In the qualifiers, Aussie veteran Rachael Grinham head the seedings in the women’s ahead of Egypt’s World Junior finalists pair of Hania El Hammamy and Rowan Elaraby. Philippines Jemyca Aribado celebrates her break into the top 100 with a place in the qualifying draw. Egyptian Mazen Gamal or better known as The Falcon to squash fans is seeded second in the qualifiers behind German Raphael Kendra.
Local challenge will be spearheaded by wild cards Ivy Liu, who has once again drawn Annie Au, while Van Keng Hei makes his debut in the men’s main draw against second seed Mohamed Abouelghar. Other local hopefuls Steven Liu and Manuel Gassmann will compete in the men’s qualifiers.
Macau Squash will be looking for something special from their players after breaking new heights this year. One of their juniors Yeung Weng Chi became the first Macanese to be on the honours list of the Asian Juniors after finishing joint-third in Jordan this year.
The opening rounds of the tournament will be played at the squash courts at the Bowling Centre at Avenida da Nave Desportiva, while the semi-finals and final will be moved onto the all-glass court that will be erected at the Amizade Square in the heart of town.
A press conference was held yesterday (11 Sept) afternoon where the main draw was officially released. The event was attended by Miss Fong Fei, Acting Head of Sports Development of Macao Sports Bureau of Macao SAR Government, Mr. William Kuan Vai Lam, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of Macau Squash Open, Mr. Kenneth Lei Kam Fai, Tournament Director of Macau Squash Open, Mr. Armando Amante and Mr. Lim Chee Ming, the Assistant Directors of the Macau Squash Open.
Tickets for the semi finals and finals are numbered and 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]
Pictures by Macau Squash Association