Karim Abdel Gawad will look to overtake compatriot Mohamed ElShorbagy at the summit of the PSA Road to Dubai Standings
Road2Dubai Preview: Qatar Classic
The third stage on the 2016/17 PSA Road to Dubai – the Qatar Classic – begins on Sunday November 13 as the race for a coveted place at the lucrative season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals heats up.
Only the top eight players on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings will qualify for June’s Dubai World Series Finals, and it is currently World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy who leads the way with 115 points after his success in Philadelphia at the U.S. Open last month.
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The Egyptian powerhouse, who also topped last years standings, began the season in inauspicious style with a surprise quarter-final exit to Australian No.1 Cameron Pilley in the Hong Kong Open – the first stage on the PSA Road to Dubai – but bounced back to defeat England’s Nick Matthew in the final of the U.S. Open to surge to the summit.
ElShorbagy will aim to avoid yet another defeat to Pilley, the man who ended his charge at the 2016 Dubai PSA World Series Finals, when he takes on the World No.14 in the opening round in Doha.
World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad follows in second and the 25-year-old will look to continue his breathtaking form after lifting the sport’s biggest prize last week in Cairo.
Gawad defeated three-time winner Ramy Ashour in the 2016 PSA Men’s World Championship to become only the third Egyptian winner in the illustrious tournament’s history and he also reached a maiden World Series final in Hong Kong in August before losing out to Ashour.
Gawad will take on a qualifier in round one, while Ashour, who sits in third place, will miss out on a chance to rack up vital points after failing to recover from the hamstring injury that saw him limp off court during the fourth game of the pair’s World Championship final clash.
Former World No.1 James Willstrop has also been in fine form on the PSA Road to Dubai so far this season, building on a quarter-final finish at the Hong Kong Open with a first World Series semi-final in two years in Philadelphia.
Willstrop will take on World No.20 Chris Simpson in an all-English first round fixture, while ‘The Marksman’s’ long-term rival, Nick Matthew, is also in action against tournament wildcard Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi.
Hong Kong’s Max Lee and Australian No.2 Ryan Cuskelly sit at No.6 and No.7, respectively, on the PSA Road to Dubai standings and they will face off in a mouthwatering opening round clash.
German No.1 Simon Rösner, World No.6 Ali Farag and World No.7 Marwan ElShorbagy are all tied for eighth spot and will look to get off to winning starts when they do battle with qualifiers in round one.