The main draw of the Montreal Open, PSA M35 tournament gets off to a start on Thursday March 3 with Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad taking the favourite tag as he looks to follow up the UCS Swedish Open title he won last month.
Gawad’s win in Sweden yielded his first ever PSA M70 title after an impressive victory over compatriot Tarek Momen which he took in five games.
The World No.9 is the only player to be ranked inside the world’s top 10 and will be a heavy favourite as he bids to lift a 14th PSA World Tour title.
Gawad did suffer a disappointing second round defeat to Marwan Elshorbagy though last week in the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company and will be eager to bounce back against Christopher Gordon in round one in Montreal.
Ali Farag is also in with a shout of capturing the title just one month after he captured the Motor City Open crown in stunning fashion. The 23-year-old shocked World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the quarter-final stage before upsetting Mathieu Castagnet and finally three-time World Champion Nick Matthew to lift his maiden PSA M70 silverware.
Farag couldn’t quite back those impressive performances up in the Windy City Open after he succumbed to an opening round defeat against Castagnet but the man from Cairo will be raring to make amends. He has a tough first round encounter ahead with Dutch former World No.9 Laurens Jan Anjema, who is still searching for full fitness following a career-threatening injury 18 months ago.
England’s Tom Richards is looking for a first PSA World Tour title since 2012 but performed well at the recent Taeq SquashColombia PSA Open where he defeated the in-form Australian Ryan Cuskelly in the opening round.
Richards has since gone on to exit the Windy City Open at the second round stage but will be hoping for greater things in Montreal. The Guildford-born World No.23 goes up against wildcard David Baillargeon in the first round.
The exciting Gregoire Marche is also in with a chance of taking the crown as he searches for a first PSA World Tour title of the year. Marche, who turns 26 on the day of the tournament, has struggled for form of late with his triumph at the Open International de Squash de Nantes the only time he has made it into the last eight of an event since September. The World No.27 remains one of the most flamboyant players involved in the draw though and lines up against fellow Frenchman Lucas Serme in the pick of the first round clashes.
Main Draw: PSA M35, Montreal Open, Montreal, Canada
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Q] Christopher Gordon (USA)
 Adrian Waller (ENG) v Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
 Alfredo Avila (MEX) v [Q] Todd Harrity (USA)
[WC] David Baillargeon (CAN) v  Tom Richards (ENG)
 Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Lucas Serme (FRA)
[Q] Christopher Binnie (JAM) v  Leo Au (HKG)
 Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v [Q] Shawn Delierre (CAN)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v  Ali Farag (EGY)