The battle for a top eight spot on the PSA World Series Standings will draw to a close next week at the Allam British Open with seven spots across both the men’s and women’s standings still up for grabs as players aim to qualify for the season-ending ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals, which will take place at Emirates Golf Club between June 5-9.
The fight for points for the World Series Standings has been waged across the globe over the past nine months, with the stars of the PSA World Tour battling for points at all eight World Series tournaments throughout the 2017/18 season and the British Open – which is staged at Hull’s Airco Arena between May 15-20 – will see the curtain close on the qualifying campaign.
Runaway leader Mohamed ElShorbagy is all but guaranteed top spot on the men’s standings, while U.S. Open winner Ali Farag, El Gouna International champion Marwan ElShorbagy, Qatar Classic runner-up Tarek Momen and Tournament of Champions victor Simon Rösner have joined the Egyptian in securing a berth in Dubai.
Egypt dominate the top spots on the women’s standings as World No.1 Nour El Sherbini sits ahead of World No.3 Nour El Tayeb and World Champion Raneem El Welily, while New Zealand’s Joelle King has also earned her spot in Dubai courtesy of a runner-up finish in February’s Windy City Open.
Join us as we look at the players who are aiming to guarantee their places in Dubai.
The current World Series Standings
The Men’s Contenders
*Gregory Gaultier* The sight of the charismatic ‘French General’ marching to title glory has been seldom seen this season after a campaign disrupted by a series of injuries, ranging from ankle to a partial rupture of his adductor, meaning that he is yet to mathematically secure his place in Dubai. Gaultier - a two-time World Series Finals winner - was simply brilliant last season as seven PSA World Tour titles - including three World Series crowns - saw him finish second on the men’s World Series Standings, just five points behind then World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad. It’s a different story for the 35-year-old this time around though as he currently resides in sixth place on 145 points, 45 points ahead of ninth-place Omar Mosaad. The defending British Open champion has all but guaranteed his spot at the World Series Finals though. A semi-final finish will ensure he qualifies for Dubai regardless of any other results, while a first round or second round defeat would still be enough to see him qualify, providing both eighth-place Nick Matthew and Mosaad fail to make it to the final.
*Karim Abdel Gawad* Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad has struggled to replicate the form that took him to World No.1 and saw him crowned World Champion, while he also claimed title success at the Tournament of Champions and the Qatar Classic last season. The ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ began the season ranked at No.2 in the world but has been unable to consistently reach the latter stages at tournaments over the past eight months, making it to the semi-finals at just one World Series event - the Hong Kong Open - this season. Gawad sits 15 points behind Gaultier on the standings and, like the Frenchman, will also certainly qualify for Dubai if he reaches the last four or beyond, while he can also make it through with a first or second round defeat if Mosaad and Matthew fail to reach the semis. *Nick Matthew & Omar Mosaad*
England’s Nick Matthew will make his final professional appearance on home soil when he lines up against the in-form Tarek Momen in the opening round of the British Open – and whether or not that is his final PSA World Tour match will be determined by how he and Mosaad perform at the iconic tournament.
Matthew is just five points ahead of Mosaad and needs to surpass the Egyptian’s results in Hull if he is to qualify and prolong his career for another few weeks.
The 37-year-old has played at just four World Series tournaments this season, meaning that, if he finished level on points with Mosaad, he will fail to qualify for Dubai due to his opponent appearing at more World Series tournaments this season.
Added to that is the fact that the Yorkshireman has an extremely difficult tie against Momen in store, while Mosaad will take on a qualifier in round one.
A first round exit for Matthew coupled with a first round win for Mosaaad would ensure that the man from Egypt will earn a coveted place in Dubai, but Matthew will be determined not to bow out of his final British Open with a first round loss, so it’s all to play for at the Airco Arena next week.
Diego Elias & Miguel Angel Rodriguez
South American duo Diego Elias and Miguel Angel Rodriguez are dark horses to qualify but still maintain hopes of earning spots at the showpiece tournament.
Elias currently has 90 points – five more than Rodriguez – and the Peruvian will go to Dubai at the expense of Matthew and Mosaad if he reaches the quarter-finals and the Englishman and Egyptian fall in the first round.
Rodriguez – known on tour as the ‘Colombian Cannonball’ will also need to hope that Matthew and Mosaad both fail to make it beyond the opening round but needs to reach a first World Series semi-final in over two years is he is to appear at the Emirates Golf Club.
The Women’s Contenders
*Laura Massaro* It hasn’t been a vintage season for England’s Laura Massaro but an upturn in form last month at the El Gouna International may have done enough to ensure that she will return to defend her World Series Finals crown in four weeks’ time. The 34-year-old, who beat World No.1 Nour El Sherbini in last year’s final at Dubai Opera, hasn’t picked up a World Series title this season but has reached the last four of the U.S. Open, Hong Kong Open, Tournament of Champions and the El Gouna International, which has put her on the verge of qualifying for the World Series Finals for the fifth time. The World No.7 simply requires a win in round one to ensure that she will return to Dubai as she aims to win a third successive World Series crown.
*Camille Serme* France’s Camille Serme finished atop the women’s World Series Standings last season but currently sits in sixth this time around, 40 points ahead of England’s Alison Waters, who resides in ninth on 120 points. Two World Series semi-final finishes at the Hong Kong Open and Tournament of Champions have been instrumental in ensuring that Serme has moved to within touching distance of a spot in Dubai, but the World No.6 can still miss out if results go against her. A semi-final finish in Hull would guarantee her a place in Dubai, but an early exit could see her fail to qualify if Waters and eighth-place Sarah-Jane Perry reach the final, while seventh-place Nouran Gohar makes it to the last four. *Nouran Gohar, Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters*
Gohar and Perry currently have 145 points and 130 points, respectively, and both players will be guaranteed of their spots in Dubai if they equal or better Waters’ results in Hull.
For her part, Waters needs to reach at least the quarter-finals, while she will need England teammate Perry to slump to a first round defeat if she is to have any chance of sneaking into eighth ahead of her England teammate
Nicol David & Annie Au
Legendary Malaysian Nicol David will be a shock omission from the World Series Finals after recurring hamstring and adductor injuries ruled her out of the British Open, meaning the two-time winner will be unable to finish inside the top eight.
It will be the first time since the women’s event began in 2011 that David won’t have qualified but her fellow Asian player – Hong Kong’s Annie Au – still harbours qualification hopes, although she will have to make up 25 points on Perry, meaning a minimum of a semi-final spot is required.
The British Open is one of the most prestigious tournaments in squash and you can watch the battle for the final places in Dubai LIVE on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) between May 15-20.
Live action from the semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets for the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals will go on sale soon.
Main Draw – First Round: Men’s 2018 Allam British Open
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Diego Elias (PER)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Paul Coll (NZL) v [Qualifier]
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v [WC] Declan James (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Max Lee (HKG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Ali Farag (EGY)
Main Draw – First Round: Women’s 2018 Allam British Open
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Emily Whitlock (ENG)
[Qualifier] v  Salma Hany (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Joey Chan (HKG)
Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) v Amanda Sobhy (USA)
Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Joelle King (NZL) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Tesni Evans (WAL)
 Donna Urquhart (AUS) v Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
[Qualifier] v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Victoria Lust (ENG) v [WC] Fiona Moverley (ENG)
[Qualifier] v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)