Top-Class Draw Battling for Honours at Channel VAS Championship
A number of the world’s leading players will aim to bring their 2016 campaigns to a successful close between December 8-12 when the Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill takes place in Weybridge at the St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.
The PSA M100 tournament – which has quadrupled in prize money since last year’s inaugural tournament – sees World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy headline a superb draw as the Egyptian looks to capture his eighth PSA World Tour title of the year.
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25-year-old ElShorbagy, who resides in Bristol, has been in sensational form over the past 12 months, and claimed five of the eight available World Series titles before celebrating a full calendar year atop the World Rankings earlier this month – becoming only the third Egyptian to do so after compatriots Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour.
ElShorbagy has a tough first round encounter with last year’s runner-up Daryl Selby in store, with Selby in the midst of a rich vein of form that has seen the Englishman reach three successive semi-finals – including a first World Series semi-final since 2012 at last month’s Qatar Classic, a tournament in which ElShorbagy reached the final.
The younger ElShorbagy brother, World No.6 Marwan, is also in action and could come up against his elder sibling in what would be a mouthwatering finale.
Marwan, who currently sits at a career-high World Ranking, is seeded to meet 2015 World Championship runner-up Omar Mosaad in the last four. Despite the head-to-head record between the two being poised at three wins apiece, Marwan will go into the prospective fixture as the favourite after Mosaad’s loss of form that has seen ‘The Hammer of Thor’ fall from No.3 to No.8 in the rankings.
Defending champion Chris Simpson – who last year claimed his maiden PSA M25 title at the 2015 instalment of this tournament – lies in wait for Marwan in round one, while Mosaad opens up against a qualifier.
Former World No.1 James Willstrop represents England’s greatest hopes of a home winner as he looks to go one better than the runner-up finish he managed at the AJ Bell British Squash Grand Prix earlier this week.
Willstrop came up against bitter rival Nick Matthew in the title decider, but fell to a 19th consecutive defeat to his fellow Yorkshireman in Manchester’s National Squash Centre. However, the man known as ‘The Marksman’ has been in sublime form recently – claiming his first appearance in a World Series semi-final since 2014 during October’s U.S. Open – and will be a dark horse for the tournament, in which he is seeded sixth.
Main Draw – First Round: 2016 Channel VAS Championship at St George’s Hill
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v  Borja Golan (ESP)
 Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Paul Coll (NZL)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Chris Simpson (ENG)
[WC] Joe Lee (ENG) v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
[Q] Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
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