All eyes on the British Open for Hull of a change
By MIKE HEGARTY, Squash Mad Resident Geek
Mohamed ElShorbagy described losing to his younger brother Marwan as the “proudest day of my life” but soon his attention may be turning to the rankings and the imminent threat of losing his number one position to fellow Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, the world champion. Gregory Gaultier, who beat ElShorbagy’s younger brother Marwan in last night’s Windy City Open final, will also play a major role in a possible change at the top.
As some of you are probably aware, I’m a bit of a boring geek and wanted to have a play with some ‘what ifs’ going into the British Open taking place in Hull later this month.
Points averages for the men are calculated as the total points from the top 10 results in a rolling year for a player divided by 10. After last year’s Windy City points expire for both ElShorbagy and Gawad at the end of March, and assuming no change in points after the British Open, the points averages for the top two players in the world at the end of March would be as follows and we would have a new world No.1:
Mohamed ElShorbagy: 1527 previously 1725.5
Karim Abdel Gawad: 1586 previously 1562.5
Gawad actually lost in the first round of the Windy City Open last year, so this year’s ‘upset’ result, losing to Spain’s Borja Golan, is actually a small boost to his points average, whereas it’s a significant reduction to ElShorbagy, who won the Windy City title last year.
Last year’s Windy City open result is still active until the end of March, so these theoretical averages don’t count yet and assume no change after the British Open.
In the British Open, Gawad has room to gain points after his semi-final exit last year while Elshorbagy, who won last year’s British Open, can only retain or lose the points he gained last year. Elshorbagy can lose a maximum 2625 from his points total and can gain no more by winning.
Gawad, who lost in the semi-final at last year’s British Open, could lose 1050 points but also potentially add 1575 to his current total by winning.
Therefore if the following scenarios play out at the British Open, the World No.1 spot will go to Gawad.
– If Elshorbagy wins but Gawad reaches the quarter finals or further
– If Elshorbagy loses the final even if Gawad scores no points at all
He was out for a time after unfortunately rolling his ankle in the 2016 Tournament of Champions.
Greg returned to top form this year and won the 2017 Swedish Open. He also did not play in last year’s Windy City Open so these fresh points are all helping to increase his average and strengthen his hold on World No.3.
Gaultier’s win in the Windy City final means that this is no longer a two-horse race to the top. Now, let’s say Greg also manages to win the British Open…
If that happens and if Gawad falls in the first or second round, Gaultier could move into the No.1 spot.
Looking at the draw for the British Open there are some really unpredictable matches from the get-go.
Elshorbagy plays Fares Dessouky and is seeded to meet Daryl Selby in the second round.
Gawad plays Omar Mosaad and is seeded to meet Mohamed Abouelghar in the second round. Gaultier plays Miguel Rodriguez and is seeded to meet Cameron Pilley in the second round… No pressure, then.
Gregory Gaultier only needs to equal Mohamed ElShorbagy’s result in the British Open in order to overtake him in the world rankings. So, if they both lose in the semi-finals, for example, Gaultier will overtake him.
Elshorbagy needs to score more points than Gaultier by going one round further in order to hold him at bay. Gawad may go to World No.1 or remain at No.2, meaning ElShorbagy could be World No.3.
In the women’s draw it’s possible for the World No.1 spot to also change hands at the British Open. Most of the ladies have points totals divided by eight, meaning these World Series level points have potential to have a big effect and add to spectator excitement.
As Raneem El Welily retained her title in the Windy City final, current World No.1 Nour El Sherbini must reach the semi-finals of the British Open in order to guarantee she remains at the top.
If El Sherbini is stopped in the quarter-finals or sooner, it’s possible for Camille Serme or Raneem El Welily to move into World no1 if they win the British Open.
The World No.2 spot is wide open also, depending on the results, with current No.2 Camille Serme under threat from Raneem El Welily, Nouran Gohar and Laura Massaro. There are too many possibilities to try and list, but a good result here for someone could see a big change at the top of the ladies’ order ahead of the Women’s World Championships in April.
Nour El Sherbini plays Line Hansen in the British Open first round and is seeded to meet Annie Au in the second round. Camille Serme plays a qualifier and is seeded to meet Nour El Tayeb in the second round.
Raneem El Welily plays wildcard Fiona Moverley and is seeded to meet Joshna Chinappa next. Nouran Gohar plays a qualifier then is seeded to play Alison Waters. Laura Massaro plays Dipika Pallikal Karthik and is seeded to play Joelle King in the second round.
Have a play with the attached spreadsheet (there’s a third column so scroll off screen to the right) and, provided you agree with these figures, it might be interesting info.
Pictures courtesy of PSA