Ramy Ashour Seeded To Win First British Open
17 Apr 2013
Tonight's draw for the Allam British Open Squash Championship revealed that Egypt's world number one Ramy Ashour is seeded to win the most prestigious squash title in the world for the first time - in a predicted repeat of the 2012 final against England's defending champion Nick Matthew.
The 2013 Allam British Open, the fourth PSA World Series event of the year, will take place for the first time at the KC Stadium in Hull, in East Yorkshire, England, from 20-26 May.
In a historic first for the event which can trace its history back to the 1920s, the draw was conducted live on PSA SquashTV - and watched by squash enthusiasts all over the world.
The in-form Ashour, who has won all three World Series events so far this year and is unbeaten on the PSA World Tour since losing to Matthew in last year's British Open final, will face compatriot Omar Mosaad, the world No11, in the opening round.
But second-seeded Yorkshireman Matthew will lead home hopes in his seventh appearance in the main draw of the British Open since 2002 - but his first in the county in which he has lived since birth, 32 years ago.
The three-time British Open champion will be looking to perform as he did last year, when he swept aside all competition at London's O2 Arena to become the first Englishman to win the title for a third time.
"I watched the draw tonight on Squash TV, it looked a great event and great for the publicity of the British Open," said Matthew from his home in Sheffield. "More tournaments should be allowed to do the draw this way to add profile to an event.
"I would love to have been there, not only as defending champion but also to support the fine initiatives of Dr Allam and everyone in Hull who are contributing to squash and the sport in general in our region - but unfortunately I had a prior commitment on the other side of the M62 in Manchester.
"The draw itself looks tough throughout and is an incredibly strong field," added the world number two. "There aren't many surprises any more as most of the guys in the main draw are all seasoned pros and we have played or seen each other play many times before.
"Every last player in the field will believe they can win, and I am excited at the prospect, and challenge, of defending my title on home soil."
Fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop will also be relishing the opportunity to play in his home county. The 29-year-old third seed from Leeds came so close to winning the tournament in 2005, 2008 and 2009 - finishing as runner-up on all three occasions.
Previous British Open winner Gregory Gaultier is the fourth seed. The 30-year-old Frenchman will be looking to reclaim the title that he won in 2007.
All of the world's top 23 male players will be present in Hull to compete on the spectacular all-glass show court at the KC Stadium.
This year's event also has extra significance as the sport bids to be included in the 2020 Olympic Games, with the IOC making their decision later this year.
1st round draw:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Qualifier
Borja Golan (ESP) v Qualifier
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Simon Rosner (GER) v [WC] Adrian Waller (ENG)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Qualifier
Tarek Momen (EGY) v Qualifier
 Peter Barker (ENG) v Qualifier
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier
Daryl Selby (ENG) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Qualifier
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier