By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Reporter)
The best players will once again grace squash’s most iconic tournament venue as world number ones and reigning champions Nouran Gohar and Ali Farag top the draws for the CIB Egyptian Open, which will take place at the Great Pyramid of Giza between September 19-25.
The CIB Egyptian Open will be the first joint PSA World Tour Platinum event of the season and $600,000 in total player compensation, a record amount for a Platinum event, will be up for grabs.
Last season’s CIB Egyptian Open represented the first of Gohar’s seven PSA title wins during the campaign when she overcame World Champion Nour El Sherbini in an exciting finale. Both players are again the No.1 and No.2 seeds for this year’s event and will look to reignite their rivalry for the new season in front of their home fans.
Both players receive a bye in round one and will play against fellow Egyptians in round two as Sana Ibrahim and Mariam Metwally will battle it out for the opportunity to play Gohar. Meanwhile, El Sherbini has been drawn against 9/16 seed and World No.9 Salma Hany in her opening match on day two.
World No.3 Hania El Hammamy is the No.3 seed for the event and will be looking to compete with Gohar and El Sherbini for the World No.1 spot this season. She gets her campaign under way against either France’s Enora Villard or Hong Kong’s Tomato Ho, and if she is successful she will play either Farida Mohamed or Nele Gilis in round three.
World No.11 Nour El Tayeb finished last season in great form, reaching the semi-finals of her final two events at the PSA World Championships and the El Gouna International. She’ll be looking to continue that form into the first women’s Platinum event of the new season to kickstart her charge towards the world’s top 10.
She plays either wildcard Amina Orfi or USA’s Sabrina Sobhy in round two and could potentially set up a last-16 encounter with No.4 seed Amanda Sobhy.
In the men’s event, Farag is guaranteed to get his title defence underway against a compatriot and will face either Mazen Gamal or Moustafa El Sirty for a place in round two.
The reigning World Champion could face Germany’s 9/16 seed Raphael Kandra in round three if both players are successful. Kandra will take on Omar Mosaad or Faraz Khan in his opening match after also receiving a bye.
Double Commonwealth Games gold medalist Paul Coll is the No.2 seed for the event as he begins his attempts to regain the World No.1 spot he initially captured in March of this year.
He will play either France’s Baptiste Masotti or Spain’s Bernat Jaume in his opening tie, and if the seedings go to plan in his quarter of the draw, there could be a rematch of the brutal semi-final match from the PSA World Championships between Coll and Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Such is the strength of the PSA World Tour, there are some tough matches scheduled for round two of the tournament. Welsh World No.7 Joel Makin and Egypt’s Marwan ElShorbagy will play each other for a spot in round three.
The Egyptian holds an impressive 3-0 lead over Makin in the head-to-head record, with ElShorbagy winning their last encounter 3-0 at the CIB PSA Black Ball Squash Open last year.
An entertaining all-Egyptian clash will also take place in round two as two of the best shot makers in the game go head to head, with No.8 seed Mazen Hesham taking on World No.11 Youssef Ibrahim for a place in the last 16. The pair have only met once on the PSA World Tour, with Hesham winning on that occasion at the Qatar QTerminals Classic in a five-game thriller last year.
All matches from the glass court erected in front of the Pyramids will be shown live on SQUASHTV. Selected first, second and third round matches will be held at the Sodic Club S. The semi-finals and finals will also be shown live by PSA’s broadcast partners.
2022 CIB Egyptian Open, Graet Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, September 19-25.
2022 CIB Egyptian Open: Women’s Draw
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) – [Bye] Sana Ibrahim (EGY) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[9/16] Hana Ramadan (EGY) v Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[9/16] Tinne Gilis (BEL) ) – [Bye] [17/32] Lisa Aitken (SCO) v Marie Stephan (FRA)
Nicole Bunyan (CAN) v [17/32] Hollie Naughton (CAN)
[17/32] Melissa Alves (FRA) v Emilia Soini (FIN
 Georgina Kennedy (ENG) – [Bye]  Rowan Elaraby (EGY) – [Bye] [WC] Nour Heikal (EGY) v [17/32] Rachel Arnold (MAS)
[9/16] Tesni Evans (WAL) – [Bye] Ineta Mackevica (LAT) v [17/32] Aifa Azman (MAS)
[9/16] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) – [Bye] [WC] Amina Orfi (EGY) v [17/32] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
[17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY) v Cristina Gomez (ESP)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) – [Bye]  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) – [Bye] Enora Villard (FRA) v [17/32] Tomato Ho (HKG)
[9/16] Farida Mohamed (EGY) – [Bye] [9/16] Nele Gilis (BEL) – [Bye] [17/32] Emily Whitlock (WAL) v Julianne Courtice (ENG)
[9/16] Olivia Fiechter (USA) – [Bye] [9/16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) – [Bye]  Joelle King (NZL) – [Bye]  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) – [Bye] Jana Shiha (EGY) v [17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
[17/32] Olivia Clyne (USA) v Cindy Merlo (SUI)
Anna Serme (CZE) v [17/32] Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
[17/32] Lucy Turmel (ENG) v Ka Yi Lee (HKG)
Grace Gear (ENG) v [17/32] Jasmine Hutton (ENG)
[9/16] Salma Hany (EGY) – [Bye]  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) – [Bye]
2022 CIB Egyptian Open: Men’s Draw
 Ali Farag (EGY) – [Bye] Mazen Gamal (EGY) v [17/32] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
[17/32] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Faraz Khan (USA)
[9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) – [Bye] [17/32] Patrick Rooney (ENG) v [WC] Karim El Torkey (EGY)
[9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA) – [Bye] [9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) – [Bye]  Tarek Momen (EGY) – [Bye]  Mazen Hesham (EGY) – [Bye] [9/16] Baptiste Masotti (FRA) – [Bye] [17/32] Ramit Tandon (IND) v Zahed Salem (EGY)
Ivan Yuen (MAS) v [17/32] Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
[17/32] Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) v Dimitri Steinmann (SUI)
[9/16] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) – [Bye] [17/32] Auguste Dussourd (FRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Mostafa Asal (EGY) – [Bye]  Diego Elias (PER) – [Bye] Muhammad Asim Khan (PAK) v [17/32] Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA)
[17/32] Karim El Hammamy (EGY) v Declan James (ENG)
Rui Soares (POR) v [17/32] Todd Harrity (USA)
[9/16] Victor Crouin (FRA) – [Bye] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) v [17/32] Leonel Cardenas (MEX)
[9/16] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) – [Bye]  Joel Makin (WAL) – [Bye]  Mohamed ElShorbagy (ENG) – [Bye] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) v [17/32] Lucas Serme (FRA)
[9/16] Fares Dessouky (EGY) – [Bye] [WC] Omar Sobhy (EGY) v [17/32] Shahjahan Khan (USA)
[17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO) v Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
Henry Leung (HKG) v [17/32] Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP)
[17/32] Borja Golan (ESP) v Bernat Jaume (ESP)
 Paul Coll (NZL) – [Bye]
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour