Top-quality draw should see last few tickets snapped up quickly
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
A handful of tickets are still available for the 2021 Canary Wharf Classic. One glance at the quality of the draw for this year’s tournament should see those seats snapped up very quickly.
Ali Farag, the current world number one and world champion, is the top seed for London’s favourite tournament, which returns to the stylish East Wintergarden venue from November 14-19 after being postponed in March.
Farag was runner-up to Mohamed ElShorbagy in last year’s event, which proved to be the final men’s tournament before a global shutdown of the PSA World Tour. The 29-year-old Egyptian returns to London’s Docklands determined to capture one of the sport’s few prizes that has eluded him.
Farag, who has won the World Championship, Egyptian Open and Oracle NetSuite Open this year, is predicted to meet mercurial compatriot Mazen Hesham in round two and will need to be on his toes if he is to beat one of squash’s most creative players.
The winner of that match is seeded to play former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad in the quarter finals, while U.S. Open champion Mostafa Asal or No.3 seed Tarek Momen could be semi-final opponents.
In the other half of the draw, New Zealand’s World No.3 Paul Coll is projected to make a strong bid to recapture the title he won in 2019.
Coll beat Farag to win the British Open in Hull in August and faces another tough battle at Canary Wharf if he is to work his way through the draw. Lying in his path will be the tireless Welsh No.7 seed Joel Makin, Egyptian No.4 seed and 2020 semi-finalist Marwan ElShorbagy, and Peru’s No.8 seed Diego Elias, who beat Coll in Doha at the weekend to add the Qatar Classic to the Manchester Open title he won earlier this year.
For the home crowd, there are three English representatives to cheer for, with all three entering in the first round. Former World No.9 Daryl Selby, who will be celebrating his 39th birthday two weeks before the tournament begins, faces France’s Gregoire Marche, Declan James plays Germany’s Raphael Kandra, and wildcard Charlie Lee takes on Colombia’s Miguel Rodriguez.
Our tournament director Tim Garner said: “The Canary Wharf Classic is famous for having one of the best atmospheres anywhere in the world of squash, thanks to a raucous and knowledgeable crowd.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are delighted to be able to deliver the 18th edition of such a special event and look forward to a fantastic and safe tournament.
“With so many of the world’s top stars in attendance, and in such an iconic venue, we can’t wait for the action to begin.”
Play will kick off as usual with eight first round matches on Sunday November 14. Once again, the tournament will feature a best-of-three games scoring format up to and including the quarter-finals, before reverting to best-of-five for the semi-finals and final.
All of the action will be streamed live on SQUASHTV (worldwide), while the semi-finals and final will be shown live on the channels of contracted broadcast partners.
The last few tickets for the event are available for purchase via Ticketmaster.
2021 Canary Wharf Classic Draw
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye] Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v [9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
[9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) v Declan James (ENG)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]  Mostafa Asal (EGY) [bye] Mohamed ElSherbini (EGY) v [9/16] Eain Yow Ng (MAS)
[9/16] Miguel Rodriguez (COL) v [WC] Charlie Lee (ENG)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye] Daryl Selby (ENG) v [9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA)
[9/16] Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v Baptiste Masotti (FRA)
 Diego Elias (PER) [bye]  Joel Makin (WAL) [bye] Cesar Salazar (MEX) v [9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye]
Tournament website: http://canarywharfsquash.com/tickets
Pictures courtesy of PSA