Squash fans will be treated to a blockbuster week of action at this year’s 2017 Allam British Open after the draw for the PSA World Series tournament – released today, February 16 – pitted some of the biggest names in the sport against each other in a line-up that could see the World Rankings torn apart from the very first day of action.
Players will descend on Hull’s Airco Arena from March 21-26 as the action gets under way, and with the likes of former World No.1 Gregory Gaultier facing Miguel Angel Rodriguez, World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad facing former World No.3 Omar Mosaad and former Women’s champion Laura Massaro facing the dangerous Dipika Pallikal Karthik in the first round, the action is set to be of the highest intensity from the off.
Defending Men’s champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, the 26-year-old World No.1, will be vying for his third consecutive British Open crown and the chance go joint tenth in the list of all-time winners. ElShorbagy meets talented compatriot Fares Dessouky in a banana skin first round encounter and could have to get past bitter rival Ali Farag – who faces a huge battle with Ryan Cuskelly in the first round – to reach the last four.
Home favourites Nick Matthew – who sits tenth on the all-time winners list with three titles – and former World No.1 James Willstrop will also have their work cut out to mount a title challenge in a high quality Men’s field.
Matthew faces tenacious Spaniard Borja Golan in the first round and could have to get past World No.10 Simon Rösner, the in-form World No.16 Paul Coll and ElShorbagy to reach the final, while Willstrop is seeded to meet World No.6 Marwan ElShorbagy, World No.3 Gaultier and World No.2 Gawad following a tough opener with Mathieu Castagnet.
ElShorbagy with the 2016 trophy
Egyptian Ramy Ashour is also set to return to action for the first time since losing the 2016 World Championship final and could go up against the man who triumphed that day – Gawad – in the last eight. Gawad has been in the form of his life since the World Championships, winning the Qatar Classic and Tournament of Champions, but with Ashour out to make amends, fireworks are guaranteed.
In the Women’s draw, defending champion Nour El Sherbini faces Line Hansen in the first round, with any path to the final likely to see her face Amanda Sobhy and either Massaro or Raneem El Welily – who are seeded to meet in a huge last eight battle – to reach the decider.
Five-time tournament winner Nicol David faces a tough opening encounter with Australian Donna Urquhart, with the winner seeded to meet either Nour El Tayeb or the player of the moment, Camille Serme, in the quarters.
Serme has won the past two World Series titles – the U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions – and will be out to replicate the form that saw her win the British Open crown in 2015, while the in form Sarah-Jane Perry, England’s No.2, will hope to keep up her recent momentum in a potential last eight encounter with 2016 runner-up Nouran Gohar.
Camille Serme with the 2015 Women's crown
The 2017 Allam British Open takes place at the Airco Arena, Hull from March 21-26. Tickets are available to purchase, priced from £7.50, by visiting https://www.theticketfactory.com/open-squash-championships/online/
Men’s First Round Draw – 2017 Allam British Open
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Fares Dessouky (EGY)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v  Ali Farag (EGY)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Paul Coll (NZL) v [WC] Declan James (ENG)
Simon Rösner (GER) v [Qualifier]
Borja Golan (ESP) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Max Lee (HKG) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Diego Elias (PER) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Women’s First Round Draw – 2017 Allam British Open
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Line Hansen (DEN)
[Qualifier] v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG)
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
[Qualifier] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v [Qualifier]
[WC] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v Tesni Evans (WAL)
[Qualifier] v  Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
 Nicol David (MAS) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v  Joey Chan (HKG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Camille Serme (FRA)
Fans can also watch the British Open in style by purchasing a ‘Super Fan’ ticket for £180, entitling them to; One back-wall ticket for all sessions of the Allam British Open, an official PSA merchandise polo, headband & wristband, a meet and greet session with the stars of the tournament, a signed British Open poster, one month Eurosport Player/SQUASHTV access and a signed player card.