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WORLD OPEN: Matthew top seed in Rotterdam

Nick Matthew and Ramy Ashour in action

Matthew Top Seed In Rotterdam

11 October 2011

Defending champion Nick Matthew, the world number one from England, is top seed in next month’s PSA World Open, despite three defeats in a row to his great Egyptian rival Ramy Ashour. The draw for the sport’s most prestigious event was made today in Rotterdam.

The 2011 championship, featuring a stunning line-up including five former world champions and seven world number ones, will be held for the first time in Rotterdam, from 28 October to 6 November. After qualifying and early rounds at the renowned Victoria Squash club, the event will move onto an ASB all-glass court which will be erected on the podium of theNew Luxor Theatre in the Dutch City of Sports.

Matthew, who became England’s first ever world champion in Saudi Arabia last year, begins the defence of his title against a qualifier – and is expected to meet his first seeded opponent in the last 16 round when he faces Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 20-year-old world No8 from Egypt in only his fourth appearance in the championship.

The 31-year-old from Sheffield’s predicted quarter-final opponent is England team-mate Peter Barker, the world No7 from London. And Egyptian rival Karim Darwish, the No3 seed from Cairo, is his expected semi-final opponent before the expected clash with Egypt’s world No2 Ramy Ashour in the final.

Ashour, winner of the 2008 event in England and already champion of three PSA World Series events in 2011, also begins his Rotterdam campaign against a qualifier. The 24-year-old from Cairo would expect to meet top-ranked FrenchmanGregory Gaultier in the quarter-finals, before a semi-final clash with England’s James Willstrop, the fourth seed.

The field features three players competing in their 12th successive championships after making their debuts in Qatar in 1998 – though France’s Thierry Lincou also first attempted to qualify 14 years ago in 1997. Like Egypt’s Amr Shabana and Australian David Palmer, Lincou is both a former world number one and a former world champion, and begins his 2011 campaign against a qualifier.

Shabana is bidding to emulate Pakistani legends Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan by becoming only the third player in history to win the title a fifth time. The 32-year-old from Cairo won the crown in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. Boosted by his title triumph in this month’s US Open in Philadelphia, the fifth seed begins his 2011 campaign against a qualifier.

Palmer, the 35-year-old who famously won his first of two world titles in his then home country of Belgium in 2002 after saving match-balls in the final, is seeded eight – his first opponent being Scotland’s Alan Clyne.

Dutch interest will be led by Laurens Jan Anjema, the six-time national champion from The Hague who is the 12th seed. Anjema, winner of this week’s new PSA International 35 NetSuite Open in the USA, will be making his eighth appearance in the event – and looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

Malaysian interest in the 2011 World Open will be very much focussed in the lower half of the draw where it two leading players Mohd Azlan Iskandar, the No13 seed, and Ong Beng Hee, the former world No7, have been drawn against each other in the first round!

1st round draw:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier
Tom Richards (ENG) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Qualifier
[9] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
[16] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Qualifier
Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
[7] Peter Barker (ENG) v Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
[8] David Palmer (AUS) v Alan Clyne (SCO)
Joey Barrington (ENG) v Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[10] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Qualifier
[14] Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Qualifier
Borja Golan (ESP) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[3] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier
Shahier Razik (CAN) v Qualifier
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) v Qualifier
[11] Daryl Selby (ENG) v Qualifier
[15] Hisham Mohamed Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier
Jan Koukal (CZE) v Martin Knight (NZL)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Qualifier
[6] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Dylan Bennett (NED)
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Qualifier
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Qualifier
[12] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Qualifier
[13] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier

More information can be found on the official tournament site

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