Egypt’s number one seed desperate for his first world title
By NATHAN CLARKE
World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy faces a difficult journey if he is to end his run of disappointments at the PSA Men’s World Championship after the draw for this year’s event was released today (September 27).
ElShorbagy has twice lost out in the prestigious title decider, in 2012 and 2014, and fell to a shock third round exit last season when odds-on favourite for the trophy, and he faces a difficult task if he is to end his losing streak this year.
The Egyptian is seeded to meet Cameron Pilley – the hard-hitting Australian who halted ElShorbagy’s bids to win both the 2016 Dubai World Series Finals and 2016 Hong Kong Open – in the third round. Should the 25-year-old come through that battle, England’s James Willstrop could lay in wait as a possible quarter-final opponent.
Willstrop produced one of the performances of the season last year when he beat ElShorbagy 3-1 in that third round encounter and with Ali Farag, Miguel Angel Rodriguez and the in-form Karim Abdel Gawad also possible last eight opponents, ElShorbagy will have to be at his best to reach a third World Championship final – with Nick Matthew seeded to stand between him and the title-decider.
On the opposite side of the draw, defending champion Gregory Gaultier, the Frenchman who ended his own World Championship hoodoo last year having lost out in four previous finals, also faces a tough draw, beginning with a first round match against New Zealand’s Paul Coll.
Coll has been ever improving during the past twelve months and will be hoping to cause a huge first round shock, with the winner seeded to meet Marwan ElShorbagy – who beat Gaultier to the Grasshopper Cup title in April – in the quarter-finals.
Last year’s World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad, Mathieu Castagnet and 2015 semi-finalist Tarek Momen are amongst the other big names in the bottom half while one of the standout first round encounters will see maverick Egyptian Ramy Ashour – the three-time World Champion who beat ElShorbagy in both the 2012 and 2014 finals in two of the most entertaining matches ever seen – lock horns with Mazen Hesham.
2016 PSA Men’s World Championship, Wadi Degla Club, Cairo.
First Round Draw:
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Lucas Serme (FRA) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) v  Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
James Willstrop (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Reda (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Chris Simpson (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Borja Golan (ESP)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Diego Elias (PER)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [Qualifier]
Leo Au (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Campbell Grayson (NZL) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v [WC] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
Joe Lee (ENG) v  Fares Dessouky (EGY)
 Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Tom Richards (ENG) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Greg Lobban (SCO) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Raphael Kandra (GER)
Max Lee (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v [Qualifier]
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Paul Coll (NZL) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
The 2016 Men’s PSA World Championship takes place from October 25 – November 4 at the Wadi Degla Club, Cairo with tickets to the tournament available for free when purchasing a day pass to the venue, costing from $5.
Pictures courtesy of PSA