Shabana & David Seeded For Further Success In Hong Kong
22 Sep 2006
World number ones Amr Shabana and Nicol David are seeded to win the men's and women's titles, respectively, in the 2006 Cathay Pacific Swiss Privilege Hong Kong Open - just a year after both players became world champions in Hong Kong. The PSA Super Series Platinum and WISPA Platinum championships will take place from 18-22 October.
Egyptian Shabana, who has yet to win a major title since the Bermuda PSA Masters in April, will be out to restore his reputation when he kicks off his 2006 Hong Kong Open campaign against local player Wai Hang Wong, whom he faces in the first round following today's draw in Hong Kong.
Victory over Wong, currently ranked 77 in the world, is likely to lead the 26-year-old from Cairo into a quarter-final clash with in-form Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the sixth seed.
France's bright new hope pulled off a sensational upset to dethrone Shabana in this year's World Open in Cairo in August after a thrilling four-game semi-final in front of a home crowd.
However, Gaultier, a 23-year-old from Aix-en-Provence, will first have to overcome a qualifier, before a predicted clash with England's 16th seed Adrian Grant in the second round.
In the bottom half of the men's draw, reigning world champion David Palmer of Australia, world number three-ranked Frenchman Thierry Lincou and newly-crowned Dunlop British Open champion Nick Matthew of England have all been drawn against qualifiers in the opening stage.
According to the seedings, Palmer will take on the Yorkshireman in the quarter-finals before reaching the next stage where he is due to face Lincou.
But Matthew will certainly make life difficult for Palmer after becoming the first English home-grown champion of the world's most prestigious event for 67 years when he defeated Lincou in a nail-biting five-game British Open final last week.
In the women's draw, the seemingly unbeatable Nicol David of Malaysia will definitely be the one to beat in this star-studded field.
The world's top player extended her unbeaten record since the Commonwealth Games in March when she just needed 41 minutes to sweep past Australia's two-time champion Rachael Grinham in the British Open final. The pair are set to meet in the semi-finals in Hong Kong.
World number two Vanessa Atkinson, of the Netherlands, will lead the bottom half of the draw where Hong Kong's two representatives have also been placed.
Rebecca Chiu, who is enjoying her best form on the circuit with a highest world ranking of 14th, has a first round meeting with Malaysia's Tricia Chuah, a player that she may meet again in the Asian Games in Doha later this year.
Christina Mak, a wild-card entry for the main-draw, faces a tougher first round match as she needs to beat Vicky Botwright, the world number five from England, before a possible clash against her compatriot Chiu in the next stage.
Hong Kong's World Junior Women's Team Champions of Joey Chan, Annie Au, Chiu Ka-kei and Leung Shin-nga will be featured in the qualifying rounds together with their men's junior counterparts Max Lee Ho-yin, Leo Au Chun-ming and Fung Ji-yang.
The other Hong Kong players in the men's qualifiers are Roger Ngan, Dick Lau, Anson Kwong, Chiu Ho-fai, Lau Siu-nam, Chan Kai-chi and Yu Fung. The women's qualifiers also include Elise Ng Jia-yunn and Karen Lau Siu-ying.
Men's 1st round draw:
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Wai Hang Wong (HKG)
 Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier
 Adrian Grant (ENG) v Qualifier
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Alex Gough (WAL)
 Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Qualifier
 Anthony Ricketts (AUS) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier
 Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Peter Barker (ENG)
 Lee Beachill (ENG) v Shahier Razik (CAN)
 John White (SCO) v Ramy Ashour (EGY)
 Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Qualifier
 Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier
 Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Qualifier
 David Palmer (AUS) v Qualifier
Women's 1st round draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v Melissa Martin (AUS)
 Annelize Naude (NED) v Qualifier
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Latasha Khan (USA)
 Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) v Qualifier
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Qualifier
 Engy Kheirallah (EGY) v Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Qualifier
 Rebecca Chiu (HKG) v Tricia Chuah (MAS)
 Vicky Botwright (ENG) v Christina Mak (HKG)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Kasey Brown (AUS)
 Natalie Grinham (AUS) v Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG)
 Shelley Kitchen (NZL) v Sharon Wee (MAS)
 Tania Bailey (ENG) v Tegwen Malik (WAL)
 Laura-Jane Lengthorn (ENG) v Lauren Briggs (ENG)
 Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v Qualifier