Ashour In Race To Qualify For
Dubai World Series Finals
Three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour's hopes of qualifying for the
season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals will be put on the line
during next week's Allam British Open, the sixth PSA World Series
tournament of the 2015/16 season, when the maverick Egyptian goes
into the prestigious tournament 90 points adrift of a top eight spot
on the Road To Dubai Standings.
Only the top eight players on the standings will compete at the
World Series Finals, which take place from May 24-28 in Dubai, and
with just one tournament, the El Gouna International, to be played
after the British Open, the 28-year-old will need to reach at least
one final and one semi-final to be in with a chance of defending the
title he won in 2014 - the last time the World Series Finals were
‘The Artist’, who has been out of action for four months with a
troublesome hamstring injury, opens up his British Open campaign
against a qualifier on Monday March 21 and is seeded to meet World
No.3 Nick Matthew in the quarter-final in what could be a pivotal
encounter while in next month's El Gouna International on home soil
he is seeded to meet World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy, also in the
quarter-finals. Ashour beat Elshorbagy to the title on home soil 12
months ago but will see his hopes of participating in Dubai hinging
on a positive result against Elshorbagy - who has dominated the PSA
World Tour in Ashour’s absence claiming four World Series titles.
Teetering on the edge of qualification are the likes of Mathieu
Castagnet, Cameron Pilley, Miguel Angel Rodriguez and Simon Rösner
who make up 5th-8th place, respectively.
Castagnet, who won the recent Canary Wharf Classic, is seeded to
meet World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad in the quarter-final
of the British Open while Pilley and Rösner have extremely difficult
first round encounters. Pilley faces World Champion Gregory Gaultier
and Rösner has a banana-skin fixture against Hong Kong’s Max Lee.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, has struggled for form in recent months and is
ranked just 25 points inside the top eight. With a possible
quarter-final clash against Elshorbagy in the offering, the
‘Colombian Cannonball’ may need to spring a surprise if he is to
avoid being dragged into the qualification dogfight.
A number of players lie just outside the qualification spots with
Egyptian trio Tarek Momen, Mazen Hesham and Karim Abdel Gawad all
needing to find some form in both the British Open and the El Gouna
Momen has been inconsistent thus far and has been unable to progress
past the last eight of a World Series event this season while
exciting shot-maker Hesham achieved a semi-final berth in Qatar but
followed that up with a shock first round exit at the Cathay Pacific
Sun Hung Kai Financial Classic a month later. A hip injury has ruled
Hesham since then and he is yet to make an appearance in 2016.
Gawad, meanwhile, has been one of the most exciting players on the
PSA World Tour this season but the World No.7 has struggled to
impose himself on the World Series tournaments with a quarter-final
finish at the Qatar Classic his best so far this season.
Momen will line up against former World No.1 James Willstrop in the
opening round of the British Open, with Hesham and Gawad set for
respective fixtures against Fares Dessouki and Omar Mosaad.
Elshorbagy, Gaultier, Matthew and Mosaad are comfortably inside the
top four in the standings and can secure their Dubai berths with a
latter stage finish in Hull.
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