After the absence of the tournament last year because of the Egyptian revolution, Egypt’s Red Sea resort is looking forward to welcoming back the world’s best squash players in April 2012 for the El Gouna International Squash Open.
Organised by i-events, with support from Orascom Developments and the El Gouna resort, the El Gouna International Squash Open is the third PSA World Series event of the year after the Tournament of Champions in New York and the North American Open in Richmond, Virginia, offering $115,000 in prize money, making it one of the top ten squash events of 2012.
Former PSA player Amr Mansi, Tournament Director and head of i-Events, said: “Special thanks to Orascom development and El Gouna for their support, and we are looking forward to hosting this event. I’m delighted that we attracted all the world best players, we look forward to support all the players in the tournament as well as the opportunity to let the fans and spectators know more about Egypt as a great travel destination.”
Assistant Tournamenr Director Omar El Sherbini added: “Amr and I have been working hard hand-in-hand for the past 7 months. We faced ups and downs but we managed to stay strong at the end. I am glad to be part of this prestigious Squash event at El Gouna Red Sea Egypt. The event has a very interesting draw featuring the top 32 player in the world, so hope you enjoy it this year as much as we will do. It is my pleasure to be working with Amr Mansi. He is a great guy, friend and deserves the best.”
The main draw will be played in El Gouna from 8th to 13th April on the new ASB court owned by the Egyptian Squash Federation, following qualifying at Sporting Club in Alexandria on the 5th and 6th of April.
This year’s El Gouna International features an extremely competetive draw, featuring seven players have held the world number one ranking, and players representing total of 15 countries will competing for the title. The event is highly popular among squash fans in the domestic and international community, and a large overseas contingent of players, coaches, families and fans will come to watch this spectacular event.
All the World’s top ranked players are included, led by the current world number one James Willstrop who is in a very good shape at the moment after winning the North American Open to add to his triple World Series successes in Hong Kong, Kuwait and Delhi at the end of 2011. Willstrop is seeded to meet the defending champion and world number four Karim Darwish in the semis but Darwish may have to face the seventh seed and former world junior champion Mohamed El Shorbagy in the quarters.
The bottom half of the draw is very interesting. World number two Gregory Gaultier, who won the Swedish Open in February without dropping a game, is seeded for a quarter-final meeting with Ramy Ashour, the 2010 El Gouna runner-up who reached the final of the North American Open on his return from an injury break which saw him miss the major events either side of the turn of the year. World champion Nick Matthew, who missed this event in 2010, is the prospective semi-final opponent. The Englishman will be aiming to try and get back to the number one spot, but he is seeded to play against the illustrious 32 year-old Egyptian and four-time World Champion Amr Shabana in the quarters.
As usual the first round throws up several matches of interest , the ones catching the eye being former world number on Thierry Lincou v hard-hitting Aussie Cameron Pilley, fast-rising German star Simon Rosner v Malaysia’s Azlan Iskandar, Egypt’s Omar Mosaad v Englishman Adrian Grant, and Dutch eighth seed Laurens Jan v speedy Pakistani Aamir Atlas Khan.