Egypt’s world number one Ramy Ashour is seeded to win his third major squash title in the Qatar capital Doha in November’s long-established Qatar Classic, the seventh PSA World Series event of the year.
The $150,000 Qatar Classic will take place at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex from 10-15 November, following two days of qualifying.
It was in 2007 that the then 19-year-old Ashour celebrated his first appearance in the Qatar Classic main draw by winning his fourth Tour title of the year after upsetting Australian David Palmer in the final.
Last December, at the PSA World Championship on the same Doha courts, Ashour completed the year which saw him return to the top of the world rankings in January by beating Mohamed Elshorbagy in a 90-minute all-Egyptian final. The triumph marked Ashour’s second world title and his fifth Tour trophy of 2012.
Ashour faces Qatari wild card Abdulla Al Tamimi in the opening round. The 18-year-old from Doha is the rising star of Qatar squash. Coached by squash legend Geoff Hunt, Al Tamimi became the country’s first ever semi-finalist in the world junior championships, earlier this year in Poland.
Ashour is drawn in the same half as third seed James Willstrop, the former world number one from England – and is expected to line up against France’s world number two Gregory Gaultier in the final.
Gaultier, the 2011 champion, opens his account against German star Simon Rosner in a repeat of this month’s European Championship final. The second-seeded Frenchman is expected to meet England’s Nick Matthew, the No4 seed and winner of the title in 2009, in the semi-finals.
But both Willstrop and Matthew have tough openers – Willstrop against the Spanish number one Borja Golan, winner of his 28th Tour title earlier this year, and Matthew taking on former compatriot Alister Walker, the Botswana number one who is ranked 15 in the world.
Daryl Selby (Eng) v Qualifier
Laurens Jan Anjema (Ned) v Qualifier
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (Egy) v Tarek Momen (Egy) Karim Darwish (Egy) v Qualifier
Karim Abdel Gawad (Egy) v Qualifier
Omar Mosaad (Egy) v Ong Beng Hee (Mas)
 James Willstrop (Eng) v Borja Golan (Esp) Nick Matthew (Eng) v Alister Walker (Bot)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Col) v Qualifier
Stephen Coppinger (Rsa) v Qualifier
 Amr Shabana (Egy) v Saurav Ghosal (Ind) Peter Barker (Eng) v Nicolas Mueller (Sui)
Tom Richards (Eng) v Qualifier
Cameron Pilley (Aus) v Qualifier
 Gregory Gaultier (Fra) v Simon Rosner (Ger)
SquashSite will be providing full coverage from onsite Qatar on a dedicated minisite