One of the most prestigious tournaments in professional squash, the Delaware Investments US Open, returns to Philadelphia’s Drexel University in early October as the PSA World Series visits its second location of the season, Gruffudd Owen reports.
After setting out on the PSA Road to Dubai at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open in August, the next stop for the world's leading squash players comes at the Delaware Investments US Open in Philadelphia, where they will be given another opportunity to secure some valuable ranking points.
However, that will be easier said than done for the men following a first-round draw that promises some exciting matches.
World no. 1 and top seed Mohamed El Shorbagy faces an awkward opponent in Tarek Momen, who has previous form in getting the better of his more decorated fellow Egyptian after defying the odds to win the 2012 Malaysian Open as an unseeded competitor.
Now ranked 11th in the world and considerably more experienced, Momen will be a tough opening test for El Shorbagy – who must be heedful of complacency if he is to avoid the dangers of a costly and premature exit.
An early elimination would be damaging to the men’s top-ranked player after he was surprisingly knocked out in the second round of the Hong Kong Open, won by Ramy Ashour, meaning he he has accrued just 15 ranking points on the Road to Dubai so far.
The other ties of the round include world no. 3 Omar Mosaad taking on former world no. 1 James Willstrop and the battle of the veterans between second seed Grégory Gaultier of France and Englishman Daryl Selby.
To the women, and Hong Kong Open champion Nouran Gohar – seeded fourth in Philadelphia – and world no. 1 Nour El Sherbini will both take on qualifiers.
Beaten Hong Kong finalist Amanda Sobhy faces Dipika Pallikal Karthik of India, while it will also be worth looking out for the younger Sobhy sibling, Sabrina, who has followed in her sister’s footsteps by combining her squash commitments with studying at Harvard University.
A wildcard entry at the US Open and tipped to go far, the 19-year-old will play world no. 9 Alison Waters, from England. Elsewhere, Malaysian star Nicol David – one of the most decorated squash players of all time – is seeded third, and faces Denmark’s Line Hansen.
After the US Open – which has a prize pot of $150,000 for both the men’s and women’s draw – the PSA World Series heads to Qatar in November as momentum continues to build ahead of the Dubai Finals in June of next year.
The Delaware Investments US Open takes place at Drexel University, Philadelphia from 6-15 October.