Champions will bank $72,000 in squash’s biggest-ever showcase
By SEAN REUTHE
The draws for the 2018-19 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family have been announced, with some blockbuster fixtures in store at Chicago’s Union Station between February 23 and March 2.
A total of 128 of the world’s greatest male and female squash players will descend on Chicago for the most prestigious title in the game as they battle for a record prize purse of $1 million, which is the highest in the sport’s history.
Defending men’s champion and current World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy has been drawn against England’s Joshua Masters in round one and is featured on the same side of the draw as three-time winner Ramy Ashour.
ElShorbagy and Ashour contested both the 2012 and 2014 finals – both of which are regarded as two of the greatest squash matches of all time – and could potentially meet in the semi-finals.
Ashour – who is yet to play this season due to a knee injury – will play Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly in round one. The Egyptian is unseeded for the first time since the 2006 World Championships and will look to replicate his incredible title victory in 2014, where he came back from a six-month spell on the sidelines to lift the iconic trophy.
World No.2 Ali Farag is seeded on the opposite side of the draw as fellow Egyptians ElShorbagy and Ashour and he will take on England’s Daryl Selby in round one. Farag has the likes of Peru’s Diego Elias and New Zealand’s Paul Coll in his path to the final, while he is predicted to play World No.3 Simon Rösner in the semi-finals.
Reigning women’s World Champion Raneem El Welily begins her tournament against South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller as she bids to continue her strong start to the season, which has seen her take two PSA titles so far.
The 30-year-old was thwarted in the final of this tournament in 2014 and 2016, but finally got her hands on the trophy in December 2017 courtesy of a 3-1 victory against two-time winner Nour El Sherbini in Manchester.
Twelve months later, El Welily ended El Sherbini’s 31-month reign at World No.1 and the Egyptian duo – who contested six PSA finals last season – are seeded to do battle in the title decider once again.
El Welily is predicted to meet World No.3 Nour El Tayeb in the semi-finals, but El Tayeb must come through a difficult draw which contains 2013 World Champion Laura Massaro if she is to play to her seeding.
Meanwhile, El Sherbini begins her tournament against Satomi Watanabe of Japan and is predicted to play United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy in a mouthwatering third round fixture.
Eight-time World Champion Nicol David will be looking to add to her record haul but is seeded to play World No.5 Camille Serme as early as the third round. The Malaysian will need to end a two-match losing streak to the French player if she is to progress into the latter rounds.
New Zealand’s Joelle King will also be one of the frontrunners for the women’s title. The World No.4 claimed her first PSA Platinum title in November’s Hong Kong Open and is seeded to go head-to-head with El Sherbini for a place in the final.
In addition to prize winnings totalling over $72,000, the winner of the World Championships will also qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals, which pits together the reigning World Champions and all seven PSA World Tour Platinum winners.
The 2018-19 PSA World Championships will take place at Chicago’s Union Station, while matches from rounds one and two will also be held at MetroSquash and the University Club of Chicago.
Matches from Union Station will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets are priced from $30 and are available for purchase on Ticketmaster.
2018-19 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family, Union Station, Chicago, USA.
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Joshua Masters (ENG)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
Leo Au (HKG) v  Raphael Kandra (GER)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Ivan Yuen (MAS)
Tayyab Aslam (PAK) v Victor Crouin (FRA)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Daniel Mekbib (CZE)
[Pre-Qualifier] v  Miguel Rodriguez (COL)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Greg Lobban (SCO)
Youssef Ibrahim (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
Shahjahan Khan (PAK) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Tom Richards (ENG) v George Parker (ENG)
Todd Harrity (USA) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Vikram Malhotra (IND) v Richie Fallows (ENG)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Rex Hedrick (AUS)
Ben Coleman (ENG) v  Max Lee (HKG)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
Joel Makin (WAL) v Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Paul Coll (NZL) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
Christopher Binnie (JAM) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) v Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Diego Elias (PER) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Zahed Salem (EGY) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v Mostafa Asal (EGY)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
Lee Ka Yi (HKG) v  Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
Anna Serme (CZE) v  Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Lucy Turmel (ENG)
Menna Hamed (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
Coline Aumard (FRA) v  Nele Gilis (BEL)
 Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Nicole Bunyan (CAN)
Nikki Todd (CAN) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Salma Hany (EGY) v Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG)
Melissa Alves (FRA) v  Samantha Cornett (CAN)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Haley Mendez (USA)
Rachel Arnold (MAS) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) v  Mayar Hany (EGY)
 Joey Chan (HKG) v Sarah Cardwell (AUS)
Ineta Mackevica (LAT) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Nicol David (MAS) v [Pre-Qualifier]
Olivia Fiechter (USA) v  Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Lisa Aitken (SCO)
Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Vanessa Chu (HKG)
Enora Villard (FRA) v  Yathreb Adel (EGY)
 Nada Abbas (EGY) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v  Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
 Mariam Metwally (EGY) v Christine Nunn (AUS)
Satomi Watanabe (JPN) v  Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of