By Sports Reporter/Doha
Three-time winner Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt will be leading a star cast of the world’s top players as they descend on the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha from October 27 to November 2 for the Qatar Classic 2018, the 16th edition of the annual tournament.
About 50 players, including the world’s top 30, will continue their battle for points on the PSA World Series Standings at the $177,750 total prize money tournament considered to be one of the richest in the series.
Defending champion El Shorbagy won the tournament for the third time in his career last year courtesy of a 3-1 win over Tarek Momen, his compatriot and surprise finalist.
The 27-year-old Egyptian will no doubt have a real battle in his hands in his quest for a successful defence of the title as he squares up against the likes of compatriots Ali Farag, Marwan ElShorbagy, Tarek Momen, Germany’s Simon Rosner, Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rodriguez and the player he defeated in last year’s semis, Gregory Gaultier of France, and others.
Qatar’s challenge will be led by Abdullah Mohamed al-Tamimi, the world No. 28, who broke into the world’s top 30 rankings after his remarkable victory at the $35,000 Malaysian Open title in July.
The 23-year-old will be joined by compatriots Syed Azlan Amjad (146 ranked) and Abdulrahman al-Malki (ranked 242) in their quests to bring glory to Qatar. The duo are wild card entries for the tournament.
England’s Peter Nicol secured the tournament’s first title in 2001 after defeating Australia’s David Palmer in the final. He thereafter repeated the same feat the following year against the same opponent.
Former World No.1s Lee Beachill and James Willstrop kept the title in English hands either side of a short break in 2004 while the World Championship was held in Qatar, before Egyptian trio Ramy Ashour, Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish took up the mantle of the Qatar Classic champion over the next three tournaments.
This PSA World Series event is the second stage on the Road to Dubai series – after the US Open – which will culminate with the World Series Finals in Dubai next year.
With the top eight players on the Road to Dubai standings earning a place in the end-of-season Dubai finale, the Qatar Classic offers another chance to the world’s top squash players to accrue points and qualify for the lucrative season-ender.
Tournament Director Tareq Zainal said, “Once again, we are proud to host the world’s top players in Doha. It has always been our tradition to organise a tournament whose memories will linger on for a long time in the minds of all participants. And this year’s edition is not an exception. Squash is growing in leaps and bounds in Qatar and we are proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over the years. All hands are definitely on deck to ensure the best tournament ever.”
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