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James Willstrop during his 2015 World Championship quarter-final win over Mohamed Elshorbagy

Willstrop Headlines the Field at Wimbledon Open


Former World No.1 James Willstrop tops the bill at the 2016 Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open, PSA M25 tournament, which gets under way on Tuesday March 15, in a draw that features a number of exciting up-and-coming players.

The 32-year-old Yorkshireman, who will not pick up any world ranking points for this event, is the most experienced player in the draw after an extensive career that has seen him pick up 18 PSA World Tour titles in addition to reaching the final of the World Championship in 2010.

Following an injury hit period, he looked to be approaching his best in November 2015 when he defeated World No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy in the World Championship quarter-final in what was one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s 39-year history.

His recent form has seen him fail to reach the quarter-final in three of his last four events, but Willstrop remains one of the most accurate and tactically astute players on the PSA World Tour. ‘The Marksman’ is a big favourite to lift the title and opens up against wildcard Robert Downer in the first round.

Seeded to meet Willstrop in the final and hoping to cause a big upset is Egypt’s Omar Abdel Meguid, whose 12 match unbeaten streak finally came to an end two weeks ago at the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.

Meguid, whose unbeaten run saw him lift three PSA World Tour titles in a row, will need to produce arguably his greatest ever performance if he is to beat Willstrop but is in sensational form heading into the tournament. The World No.31 is set to face Pakistan’s Farhan Zaman for a place in the quarter-final.

England’s Declan James is also in the mix and, like Meguid, has also built up a stunning run of results in the last year, winning 17 matches in a row between June-October 2015 and capturing four PSA World Tour crowns in that period.

Despite a strong display against fellow compatriot Daryl Selby in last week’s Canary Wharf Classic, James hasn’t quite been able to rediscover that form so far this year due to the fact that he is becoming a regular fixture at World Series tournaments but he will hope to return to winning ways in Wimbledon. A difficult opening round encounter with World Junior Champion Youssef Soliman awaits James with Soliman aiming to beat a third Englishman on the trot after qualifying round victories over Chris Fuller and Richie Fallows.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Shaun Le Roux is a dark horse for the event as he aims for a first PSA World Tour title since 2014. Le Roux brought a series of disappointing results towards the end of last year to an end in January’s Bankers Hall Club Pro Am where he reached the semi-final stage and will be hoping his upturn in form continues unabated when he takes on Australian qualifier Matthew Hopkin in round one.

Main Draw: PSA M25, Wimbledon Club Squash Squared Open 2016
[1] James Willstrop (ENG) v [WC] Robert Downer (ENG)
Jens Schoor (GER) v [6] Joe Lee (ENG)
[5] Ben Coleman (ENG) v [Q] George Parker (ENG)
[Q] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v [3] Declan James (ENG)
[4] Shaun Le Roux (RSA) v [Q] Matthew Hopkin (AUS)
[Q] Joshua Masters (ENG) v [8] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
[7] Charles Sharpes (ENG) v Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
Farhan Zaman (PAK) v [2] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY)

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