Half a million dollars prize money split by men and women
By ELLIE MAWSON
The 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company is in line to host repeats of both the 2017 men’s and women’s PSA World Championship finals after the draw for the PSA World Series tournament was released this week.
This year’s instalment of the Windy City Open – which takes place inside the University Club of Chicago’s stunning Cathedral Hall between February 22-28 – will become the most lucrative PSA World Series tournament of all time, with $500,000 worth of prize money split evenly between the men’s and women’s draws.
A repeat of the men’s World Championship final could be played as early as the quarter-finals, with World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy set to face younger brother Marwan in the last eight – the same stage where Marwan claimed a hugely emotional win over his sibling at last year’s tournament.
Marwan had never before beaten then-World No.1 Mohamed but battled to a 3-1 win, resulting in tears from both brothers after the match, while he eventually reached a maiden World Series final before going down to current World No.1 Gregory Gaultier in the title decider.
Gaultier will meet a qualifier in round one, while a mouthwatering clash with England’s Nick Matthew – who became the oldest ever World Series title winner when he won this tournament in 2015 – could happen in the quarter-finals as Matthew competes at his last ever Windy City Open, with the two-time winner set to retire at the end of the season.
In the women’s event, defending champion Raneem El Welily (right) is seeded to meet World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in the final, with the duo having contested three successive PSA World Tour finals – a run that included last month’s World Championship final in which El Welily prevailed.
El Welily is the most successful woman ever at the Windy City Open and has won the last three editions in a row, including back-to-back final victories over El Sherbini in the 2016 and 2017 finals.
The 29-year-old Egyptian is seeded on the same side of the draw as 2015 runner-up Nicol David and 2014 winner Laura Massaro, while El Sherbini also has a difficult path to the final, with the likes of U.S. Open champion Nour El Tayeb and World No.3 Camille Serme lying in wait.
The winners of the tournament will pocket $38,000 – a record amount for a World Series tournament – while points for the men’s and women’s PSA World Series Standings, which are currently headed up by Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini, respectively, are also on offer as the battle intensifies for a top eight place which guarantees participation in June’s PSA World Series Finals.
Qualifying for the tournament takes place between February 20-21, while the main draw will be staged between February 22-28.
Action from the glass court matches will be streamed live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), with matches from the semi-finals and finals also shown live on mainstream broadcasters around the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets start from $25.
2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
Men’s First Round Draw:
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
James Willstrop (ENG) v [WC] Chris Hanson (USA)
Leo Au (HKG) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Diego Elias (PER) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Paul Coll (NZL) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Women’s First Round Draw:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
[Qualifier] v  Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [WC] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
[Qualifier] v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
[Qualifier] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Victoria Lust (ENG)
Salma Hany (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Nicol David (MAS) v Fiona Moverley (ENG)
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA and PATRICK LAUSON