Gaultier Focussed On
Super Series Finals Final
successes in all but two of last year's Professional Squash
Association Super Series championships, it seems likely that a
player from the Land of the Pharaohs will triumph in this month's
ATCO Super Series Finals. The flagship PSA Tour event
takes place for the first time at the world-famous The
Queen's Club in London from 14-17 March.
star-studded field includes four Egyptians - led by world number one
Karim Darwish, and including World Open champion
Ramy Ashour and last year's runner-up Amr Shabana, who
this year relinquished a 33-month reign at the top of the world
Ashour and Shabana each won two Super Series events last year – with
fellow countryman Wael El Hindi picking up the Petrosport
International Championship title in Cairo in August.
Gregory Gaultier, who reached three finals but failed to win
one of the 2008 ranking titles, is the defending champion – and
aiming to reach the Super Series Finals final for the third year in
Super Series Finals event brings together the top eight qualifiers
from the 2008 PSA Super Series World Tour. The ATCO Super Series
Finals - The Queen's Club 2009 will feature two pools of four
players, leading to finals which will produce a 1-8 finish.
Gaultier is one of two Frenchmen in the field. The 26-year-old
world No3 from Aix-en-Provence – runner-up in last year's
Davenport Virginia Pro Championship, Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
Open and the Saudi International - faces Australian
David Palmer in the opening match of the championship.
Palmer made his Super Series Finals debut in 2001, finishing as
runner-up before claiming the title for the only time the following
year. The 32-year-old from New South Wales, now based in Boston,
USA, established two notable Tour milestones last year - in
September recording his 50th PSA Tour final appearance and in
December marking his 100th successive month in the world’s top ten.
could provide the setting for next milestone for the 2008 Dunlop
British Open champion: winning his 25th Tour title!
the 27-year-old from Cairo largely overshadowed by his illustrious
compatriots Shabana and Ashour in recent years, blasted past them
all to take over the coveted world number one ranking in January
after a sensational 2008 campaign which included six PSA Tour final
appearances and title triumphs in three.
Seeded to win
the Super Series Finals trophy in only his second appearance in the
event, Darwish faces fellow countryman Wael El Hindi in his
first match in the ATCO Group. El Hindi, the eighth seed from Cairo
and a protégé of British squash legend Jonah Barrington, is
making his debut in the championship.
For the first
time in the event's 16-year history, only one Briton will feature in
the 2009 Super Series Finals line-up. England number one James
Willstrop, competing in the event for the fifth year in a row
and winner of the 2008 Davenport Virginia Pro Championship,
faces 2007 champion Ramy Ashour, the third seed, in his opening
Prince Group match on Saturday.
21-year-old from Cairo who has taken the sport by storm since
joining the senior circuit after becoming the first man to win two
world junior titles, is making only his second appearance in the
event – after winning the title in his first, two years ago!
Thierry Lincou will be marking the longest unbroken association
with the event as he competes in the Super Series Finals for the
eighth year in a row. Runner-up in 2002 and 2005 and champion in
2004, the 32-year-old No7 seed from Marseille takes on second seed
Amr Shabana in his first match in the Prince Group. It will be the
pair's 19th Tour meeting since 2003, and their fifth clash in the
event in six years.
Series event winners:
Tournament of Champions: Ramy Ashour
Virginia Pro Championship: James Willstrop
Open: David Palmer
International Championship: Wael El Hindi
Open: Ramy Ashour
Hong Kong Open: Amr Shabana
International: Karim Darwish
1st pool round:
Gaultier (FRA) v  David Palmer (AUS)
Darwish (EGY) v  Wael El Hindi (EGY)
Shabana (EGY) v  Thierry Lincou (FRA)
Ashour (EGY) v  James Willstrop (ENG)