Egyptian superstars to continue rivalry in new season opener
By SEAN REUTHE
Top Egyptian duo Ali Farag and Mohamed ElShorbagy – the men’s World No.1 and No.2, respectively – are seeded to meet in the final of the J.P. Morgan China Squash Open after the draws for the PSA World Tour Gold event held in Shanghai were released today.
The China Open is the first PSA World Tour event of the 2019-20 season and will take place from September 4-8, with action from the second round onwards taking place in a glass show court atop The Peninsula Shanghai, overlooking the famous Shanghai Bund.
Farag and ElShorbagy are expected to contest the title decider in what will be their 17th meeting on the PSA World Tour. The pair won 10 titles between them and six of the seven PSA Platinum titles on offer during the 2018-19 campaign.
Harvard graduate Farag had the upper hand in their head-to-head record last season, winning three matches to ElShorbagy’s two. He is seeded to play ElShorbagy’s younger brother, Marwan, in the quarter-finals, and is drawn on the same side of the draw as Indian No.1 Saurav Ghosal.
Meanwhile, ElShorbagy is predicted to line up against defending champion Mohamed Abouelghar in the semi-finals, 12 months after Abouelghar defeated New Zealand’s Paul Coll to lift his biggest PSA title to date.
Reigning champion Raneem El Welily heads up the women’s draw and she is seeded to face World No.4 Nouran Gohar in the final.
El Welily beat France’s Camille Serme in last year’s title decider, and will look to avenge a quarter-final defeat to Gohar in May’s British Open.
El Welily, the current World No.1, enjoyed the most successful season of her career in 2018/19, and after closing out the season with victory at the PSA World Tour Finals, will look to kickstart the new campaign with silverware in Shanghai. She is predicted to meet New Zealand’s World No.6 Joelle King in the semis.
Gohar, meanwhile, has reached the final of the China Open three times before and will look to finally get her hands on the trophy. She is seeded to face England’s Victoria Lust and World No.5 Nour El Tayeb en route to the final.
Local player Li Dongjin is set to face Egyptian teenager Hania El Hammamy in round one, while men’s wildcard Zhitao Zhou will also take on an up-and-coming Egyptian youngster in Mostafa Asal.
A total of $224,000 worth of prize money is on offer in Shanghai, where matches will be split between The Peninsula Shanghai and the SECA Academy Jinqiao.
J.P. Morgan China Squash Open .
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
Ivan Yuen (MAS) v [9/16] Youssef Soliman (EGY)
[9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY) v [WC] Zhitao Zhou (CHN)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
 Adrian Waller (ENG) [bye]
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [9/16] Mazen Hesham (EGY)
[9/16] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye]
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v [9/16] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[9/16] Tom Richards (ENG) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) [bye]
 Cesar Salazar (MEX) [bye]
Todd Harrity (USA) v [9/16] Leo Au (HKG)
[9/16] Lucas Serme (FRA) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v [9/16] Low Wee Wern (MAS)
[9/16] Donna Lobban (AUS) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
 Annie Au (HKG) [bye]
[WC] Li Dongjin (CHN) v [9/16] Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
[9/16] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Hollie Naughton (CAN)
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [9/16] Rachael Grinham (AUS)
[9/16] Nadine Shahin (EGY) v Haley Mendez (USA)
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[9/16] Joey Chan (HKG) v Danielle Letourneau (CAN)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
Report by SEAN REUTHE (PSA). Edited by ALAN THATCHER.
Pictures courtesy of PSA