(Above: World No. 2 Raneem El Welily is set to make her debut in San Francisco at the Olympic Club on Friday, September 28.)
Reigning Egyptian world champions, Mohamed ElShorbagy and Raneem El Welily, lead the 2018 Oracle NetSuite Open draws as the top seeds following the release of the men’s and women’s draws Thursday, August 16. View the men’s draw and match times here and women’s here.
The Bay Area squash community will support the event as local clubs Squash Zone (Redwood City), Bay Club Redwood Shores, Bay Club San Francisco, Olympic Club and University Club host early round matches, September 27-29, while match play moves to the NetSuite SuiteSuccess Court in Embarcadero Plaza, September 29-October 2. Purchase tickets to all rounds and locations here.
On the men’s side, ElShorbagy will aim to defend his PSA World Tour Gold title against the strongest men’s field to date, which includes eight of the world’s top ten-ranked players. ElShorbagy, world No. 1, faces a difficult path to title, however, with a potential rematch of the Allam British Open final against Miguel Angel Rodriguez in the quarterfinals on Saturday, September 29, on the NetSuite SuiteSuccess Court in Embarcadero Plaza. The 2018 British Open Final was one of the highlights of the 2018 PSA Tour season, as Rodriguez captured his first World Series title by upsetting the world No. 1 in a five-game final. ElShorbagy or Rodriguez are seeded two meet one of two Egyptians in the semifinals, seven seed and 2017 Oracle NetSuite Open finalist Karim Abdel Gawad or world No. 4 Tarek Momen.
Harvard graduate Ali Farag will make his third appearance in San Francisco with his highest world ranking of No. 2, opposing ElShorbagy in the draw as the two seed. Farag could meet 2015 Oracle NetSuite Open runner up and former World No. 1 James Willstrop, who faces Scotland’s Alan Clyne in the first round at Squash Zone, Thursday, September 27. Germany’s Simon Roesner returns for his fourth Oracle NetSuite Open boasting his highest world ranking of No. 5, fresh from his breakthrough J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title in January.
Two Oracle NetSuite Open past champions enter the bottom half of the draw in the form of Egypt’s Ramy Ashour and Frances Gregory Gaultier, who both enjoy first round byes.
On the women’s side, El Welily headlines the PSA World Tour Silver draw, and is set to make her debut in the Bay Area at the Olympic Club on Friday, September 28 against either Canada’s Hollie Naughton, or fellow Egyptian Yathreb Adel. El Welily is seeded to face 2016 Oracle NetSuite Open champion Laura Massaro in a glass-court semifinal Sunday, September 30. Massaro must first get past 2017 finalist and the sport’s most decorated female, Nicol David, who is seeded to meet Massaro in the quarterfinals at Bay Club San Francisco, Saturday, September 29.
Both American representatives in the women’s draw will be in action during the first round. Amanda Sobhy, who won the inaugural women’s draw in 2015 and missed 2017 due to injury, will take on former world No. 1 Rachael Grinham at Squash Zone on Thursday, September 27. Nearby at Bay Club Redwood Shores, U.S. teammate and world No. 13 Olivia Blatchford will face France’s Coline Aumard at the same time.
A victory for Sobhy would set up a round of sixteen clash with France’s world No. 5 and three seed, Camille Serme, who will compete in San Francisco for the first time. Serme is seeded to face either defending champion Sarah-Jane Perry or two seed Joelle King in a glass-court semifinal on Monday, October 1.
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