Thursday, November 30, 2023

Beware of unseeded Shabana in Chicago

Amr Shabana, the ToC champion, is unseeded in Chicago
Amr Shabana, the ToC champion, is unseeded in Chicago

Willstrop beware, Shabana lies in wait in Windy Open second round 

AMR SHABANA, a hugely popular winner of the Tournament of Champions, enters the Windy City Open in Chicago unseeded.

He meets English qualifier and fellow left-hander Adrian Waller in the first round, with a scheduled second-round showdown with James Willstrop lying in wait (if the Englishman gets past Nafizwan Adnan of Malaysia).

First round battles to look out for include Karim Darwish v Tarek Momen and Borja Golan v Miguel Rodriguez.

Momen will be keen to accelerate the changing order of Egyptian squash, while Rodriguez can always be relied upon to provide 100 per cent of adrenalin to every encounter and will be looking to claim a signifiant scalp to assist his rise up the rankings.

The winner is seeded to meet Simon Rosner in the second round but the tall German faces a difficult proposition with England’s ambitious Chris Simpson his first round opponent.

courtchicagoPeter Barker missed the British Nationals because of injury and he meets fellow left-hander Adrian Grant lying in wait for him on the McWil glass court (right) set up in Cathedral Hall at the University Club of Chicago.

Finland’s Henrik Mustonen’s reward for removing home hope Chris Gordon in qualifying is a first round battle with Dutch number one Laurens Jan Anjema, while other intriguing opening round encounters include Alister Walker’s meeting with Mathieu Castagnet and Tom Richards’ meeting with Marwan Elshorbagy.

Castagnet may have some painful memories from New York on his mind as he hopes for a win that could produce a reunion with Barker.

Their clash at the ToC was the most controversial clash since Golan’s physical encounter with Gregory Gaultier in Qatar. It all adds spice to a top-class draw, with the focus not necessarily on the top seeds for a change.

Picture courtesy of the Tournament of Champions website

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