British Open rematch on the cards
By SEAN REUTHE – Squash Mad Reporter
British Open finalists Mohamed ElShorbagy and Miguel Angel Rodriguez are seeded to meet in a blockbuster quarter-final fixture when the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open brings world-class squash back to San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza from September 27 to October 2.
Rodriguez’s win over the World No.1 in the final of the sport’s oldest competition in May was one of the most dramatic moments of the 2017-18 season and the pair are likely to meet once again in the last eight of the men’s PSA World Tour Gold event.
Both players receive a bye into the second round, where ElShorbagy will play either France’s Gregoire Marche or Welshman Joel Makin, while Rodriguez will face one of fellow South American Diego Elias or tournament wildcard Charlie Johnson in round two.
Second seed Ali Farag will lock horns with either 2016 finalist James Willstrop or Scotland’s Alan Clyne in the second round, with a victory against either of the two British players taking him through to a potential quarter-final clash with two-time champion Ramy Ashour.
The winner of that match is seeded to face either three-time champion Gregory Gaultier or Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner, while one of World No.4 Tarek Momen or 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad is also seeded to reach the semi-finals on the opposite side of the draw.
In the women’s PSA World Tour Silver event, defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry is drawn on the same side of the draw as New Zealand’s Joelle King, with the pair seeded to play in the quarter-finals in a repeat of their final meeting in April’s Commonwealth Games.
Elsewhere, 2016 champion Laura Massaro and last year’s runner-up Nicol David are also predicted to meet in the last eight, while top seed Raneem El Welily could play England’s Alison Waters.
United States interest comes in the form of World No.14 Olivia Blatchford and 2015 winner Amanda Sobhy. Blatchford will play France’s Coline Aumard in round one, while Sobhy will lock horns with 2007 World Champion Rachael Grinham.
A record prize fund of $206K is split between the men’s and women’s tournaments, both of which will feature a 24-player draw after the new PSA tour structure came into effect on August 1.
First and second round action will be split between the Bay Club Redwood Shores, Squash Zone, Bay Club San Francisco, the Olympic Club and the University Club while the quarter-finals onwards will be held at the Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess court erected on Embarcadero Plaza from September 29.
Fixtures shown on the Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess court will be broadcast live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only).
2018 Oracle NetSuite Open, Embarcadero Plaza, San Francisco, USA (September 27 to October 2):
Main Draw – Men’s First Round:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) (bye)
Joel Makin (WAL) v [9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[9/16] Diego Elias (PER) v [WC] Charlie Johnson (ENG)
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) (bye)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) (bye)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v [9/16] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) (bye)
 Simon Rösner (GER) (bye)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v [9/16] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[9/16] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v Mazen Hesham (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) (bye)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) (bye)
Lucas Serme (FRA) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
[9/16] James Willstrop (ENG) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
 Ali Farag (EGY) (bye)
Main Draw – Women’s First Round:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) (bye)
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[9/16] Olivia Blatchford (USA) v Coline Aumard (FRA)
 Alison Waters (ENG) (bye)
 Nicol David (MAS) (bye)
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [9/16] Fiona Moverley (ENG)
[9/16] Donna Lobban (AUS) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) (bye)
 Camille Serme (FRA) (bye)
Rachael Grinham (AUS) v [9/16] Amanda Sobhy (USA)
[9/16] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Milou van der Heijden (NED)
 Annie Au (HKG) (bye)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) (bye)
Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v [9/16] Salma Hany (EGY)
[9/16] Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v Nadine Shahin (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) (bye)
Tickets start from $20 and can be purchased via the tournament website
Article by SEAN REUTHE (PSA PR and Media Manager). Edited by ALAN THATCHER
Pictures courtesy of PSA