After narrowly losing out to England's Laura Massaro in the final of last season's PSA Dubai World Series Finals, Egypt's World No.2 Raneem El Welily says she is targeting a repeat appearance in the title-decider when this year's event gets underway at Dubai Opera between June 6–10.
El Welily – who qualified fourth in the Women’s PSA Road to Dubai Standings – will go up against World No.3 Camille Serme, World No.5 Nouran Gohar and World No.8 Alison Waters in the group stages as she aims to improve on her runner-up finish twelve months ago.
“I’m very excited to be going back to Dubai – I really enjoyed it there last year as it was one of the best set ups I’ve played at and I definitely want to go there and play well again this year,” said El Welily.
“It’s the last tournament of the season and it’s a huge motivation for all of us to try and end the season well. But it's also important to try and enjoy it as much as possible.
“I would be really happy if I could make it back to the final – but against the top eight players in the world it isn’t going to be easy at all.”
This year’s World Series Finals is set to be one of the most competitive ever with the top eight qualifiers on the Men’s and Women’s Road to Dubai Standings battling it out for a share of an equal $160,000 prize fund inside the Dubai Opera.
But with the tournament dates falling during Ramadan, El Welily admitted she will have to make some adaptations whilst competing.
“I’ve seen the images of the Dubai Opera and I remember playing in a similar venue in Rotterdam in 2011 and I loved that event so I expect the World Series Finals will be phenomenal,” she said.
“But this year it will also be during Ramadan so I’m excited to see how that will affect things as well.
“We will be trying to put as much good food and liquid into our bodies before the fast each day – as athletes it is maybe slightly different as we can sleep a little longer than ordinary people who have to go to work – but I think it will be very interesting.”
The PSA Dubai World Series Finals takes place from June 6-10, 2017 with the tournament match schedule to be announced on Monday June 5. All of the action will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and EUROSPORT PLAYER (Europe only).
Group stage matches will take place at 3:00pm, 3:45pm, 16:45pm and 17:30pm (Group A) and 21:30pm, 22:15pm, 23:15pm and 00:00am (Group B) between June 6-8 with the semi-finals due to take place from 22:00pm on June 9. The finals will commence at 22:00pm local time on June 10.
Tickets for the World Series Finals can be purchased here