A penny for Darwish and Golan’s thoughts as Gaultier and Matthew complete ‘Group of Death’ for Richmond round robin
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Chief Reporter
Triple World champion Nick Matthew has been drawn in the same group as world number two Gregory Gaultier for the World Series Finals in Richmond, Virginia, USA.
The event, which take places from March 15 – 19, 2014, will see Matthew and Gaultier meet in the second of three round-robin matches with the outcome expected to determine who will finish top of Group A.
Gaultier, who will share the number one position with the 33-year-old Englishman at the top of the PSA world rankings later this week, has featured in the final four times in the past six years.
But like Matthew, he will need to overcome former world number one Karim Darwish and Hong Kong Open finalist Borja Golan of Spain to confirm his place in the last four.
Elsewhere, Ramy Ashour has been pitted against world number four Mohamed Elshorbagy in a mouthwatering first match in Group B at the Westwood Club.
The former world number one, who was forced to withdraw from the 2013 tournament due to injury, has also been drawn in the same group as compatriot Tarek Momen and world number five James Willstrop.
However, two-time champion Amr Shabana (pictured left), who defeated Nick Matthew in the final last year, failed to earn enough World Series points to qualify for the event and will not feature in the final for the first-time since 2009.
Ashour will be hoping to repeat his 2007 success, while Golan and Momen will be making their debuts at the $110,000 tournament and will be looking to take advantage of the best of three games format.
The event, which features eight of the world’s top players, was due to be held at Queen’s Club in London earlier this month for a fourth consecutive year but was postponed due to Ziad Al Turki withdrawing his sponsorship.
However, legend Jonathon Power has since stepped in to rescue the event, with his company Power Courts set to sponsor the 20th edition of the tournament.