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19 May 2024

Manchester Prepares To Host World's Top Players At ROWE British Grand Prix

16 Sep 2011

British squash fans keen to fine-tune their game need look no further than Manchester next week where the ROWE British Grand Prix draw features 21 of the world's top 25 players, including all of the world's top eight.

The ROWE British Grand Prix - Manchester 2011, the fourth of nine Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series championships in 2011, will be staged at the National Squash Centre and has attracted a star-studded field including six former world number ones and seven Englishmen ranked in the world top 30.

Home interest will be high - led by Sheffield's world number one Nick Matthew, the top seed, and fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the world No4. The English pair contested last year's Commonwealth Games final in Delhi, then the World Open climax in Saudi Arabia.

But Egyptians will provide the greatest domestic threat: Title-holder Ramy Ashour is seeded to meet Matthew in Sunday's final on the spectacular all-glass ASB court which staged the Commonwealth Games final in 2002. Ashour, ranked two in the world, is in sensational form - with two wins over his higher-ranked English rival last month.

And Cairo-based Karim Darwish, who reached the World Open final at the National Squash Centre in 2008, is the event's third seed.

"The strength of the draw is testament to the growing status of the ROWE British Grand Prix as one of the world's leading events and a major boost for everyone involved with the championship, from tournament partners, sponsors, event staff and volunteers," said Paul Walters, CEO of event promoters internationalSPORTgroup.

"It is equally encouraging to have such a high demand for tickets, particularly as this will be the only opportunity that enthusiasts in the UK will have to witness the best players competing in a PSA World Series event this year."

A tantalising quarter-final line-up is in prospect - with Matthew facing his England team-mate Peter Barker, the world No7 from London, and Ashour taking on Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, winner of the British Open crown in Manchester in 2007 and twice a World Series Finals champion.

Willstrop is expected to meet fifth seed Amr Shabana, the distinguished Egyptian who boasts four World Open titles but is yet to win a title in the UK. And Darwish's predicted quarter-final opponent is fellow former world number one Thierry Lincou, the illustrious Frenchman whose form seems to have moved up a gear since celebrating his 35th birthday.

Qualifying for the biggest squash event being staged in the UK this year is taking place at the Wolverhampton Lawn Tennis & Squash Club today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday). The draw reveals a number of intriguing early clashes - perhaps none more so than Spanish No1 Borja Golan v Australian Aaron Frankcomb (with just six ranking positions separating the pair) and England's Joey Barrington, son of the squash legend Jonah Barrington, taking on Marwan El Shorbagy, the world junior champion from Egypt who is coached by his father!

Qualifying matches start at 12:00 noon today and at 5:30 pm on Saturday. Entry is free for all spectators.

ROWE British Grand Prix 1st round draw:
[1] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Jens Schoor (GER)
Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Qualifier
[7] Peter Barker (ENG) v Qualifier
[5] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY)
Tom Richards (ENG) v Qualifier
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
[4] James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier
[3] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Stewart Boswell (AUS)
Alister Walker (BOT) v Qualifier
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
[8] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Qualifier
[6] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v Qualifier
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK)
[2] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier

1st qualifying round draw:
Simon Rosner (GER) v Richard Birks (ENG)
Siddharth Suchde (IND) v Declan James (ENG)
Rafael Alarcon (BRA) v Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
Kristian Frost Olesen (DEN) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
Chris Ryder (ENG) v Andrew Birks (ENG)
Oliver Mapp (ENG) v Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Adrian Waller (ENG)
Borja Golan (ESP) v Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Max Lee (HKG)
Ben Ford (ENG) v Robbie Temple (ENG)
Joey Barrington (ENG) v Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
Anthony Graham (ENG) v Julien Balbo (FRA)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v Oliver Holland (ENG)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v Darren Lewis (ENG)