Reigning champion fired up for Philly
By ELLIE MAWSON and NATHAN CLARKE
Egypt’s World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy returns to the 2017 U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management next week as he looks to defend his crown when the tournament gets under way October 7 – 14 at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
Egypt’s World No.3 Mohamed ElShorbagy returns to the 2017 U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management next week as he looks to defend his crown when the tournament gets under way from October 7-14 at Philadelphia’s Drexel University.
The 26-year-old Egyptian defeated England’s World No.4 Nick Matthew at last year’s instalment, with the Englishman forced to retire in the fifth game of their title decider, and ElShorbagy is looking forward to playing at the World Series event once again this year.
“I really enjoy playing there,” said ElShorbagy. “The promoters and sponsors always make sure we feel welcome and everything is really easy. I’m sure everyone looks forward to playing there.”
The Egyptian – who is seeded second at the tournament following the withdrawal of World No.1 and top seed Gregory Gaultier – recently reigned victorious at the Oracle NetSuite Open, picking up his first title of the season, and will open against Australia’s World No.17 Cameron Pilley in round one at the U.S. Open.
ElShorbagy has won the U.S. Open twice in the last three years as he also conquered compatriot Amr Shabana in the 2014 final – with that victory leading him to the coveted World No.1 spot – and the Egyptian is hoping his good run at the tournament continues.
He said: “I have great memories because it is the tournament that got me to World No.1 three years ago.
“I’ve won it twice in three years and when I didn’t play very well last season it was one of the tournaments I won, so I have good memories there.
“I always love playing there and love all of the support. It’s a tournament I always look forward to.”
French World No.1 Gregory Gaultier and former World No.1 Ramy Ashour have both withdrawn from the first PSA World Series event of the 2017-18 season – the 2017 U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management – due to injury.
The 34-year-old Gaultier, a three-time U.S Open champion, has failed to recover from an ankle injury that also ruled him out of the recent Oracle NetSuite Open – a recurrence of the injury that forced him to pull out of last year’s PSA Men’s World Championship at the semi-final stage when he was due to face eventual runner-up Ashour.
The Egyptian, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open, has also withdrawn from the event which begins this weekend due to illness, meaning Scotsman Alan Clyne and Egypt’s Omar Mosaad move into the main draw automatically.
Those movements mean defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy moves up in the seedings to replace Gaultier in the top half of the draw and will play Australian Cameron Pilley in the first round, while Fares Dessouky takes Ashour’s place to play local favourite and tournament wildcard Christopher Gordon.
The U.S. Open also features a women’s event, with Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini the top seed, and represents the first chance for players to earn points for the World Series Standings as they bid to qualify for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals – with only the top eight players on the men’s and women’s standings earning a coveted berth at the lucrative tournament.
Qualification for the 2017 U.S. Open takes place between October 5-6, while the main draw will be held between October 7-14 inside the Daskalakis Athletic Center at Drexel University.
Action from the tournament will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of the World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while tickets start from $25 and can be purchased here: www.usopensquash.com/tickets
2017 U.S. Open Presented by Macquarie Investment Management, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
Men’s First Round Draw:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Simon Rösner (GER) v [Q] Cesar Salazar (MEX) v  James Willstrop (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) v [Q] [WC] Christopher Gordon (USA) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Max Lee (HKG) v Diego Elias (PER)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Women’s First Round Draw:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[Q] v  Victoria Lust (ENG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [Q]
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [Q]
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v [WC] Haley Mendez (USA)
[Q] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) v [Q]
[Q] v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [Q]
Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v Heba El Torky (EGY)
[Q] v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA