The PSA World Series Finals begins tomorrow with the tournament set to light up Dubai Opera between June 6 – 10.
Featuring only the top eight players who qualified on the PSA Road to Dubai Standings from both the Men’s and Women’s Tour, the World Series Finals looks set to showcase the best of what the PSA World Tour has to offer with players battling it out for the prestigious title and a share of the record $160,000 prize fund.
The World Series Finals features a unique best of three format throughout the group stages and semi-final before reverting to the traditional best of five format in final meaning the players will have to be at their very best from the first point with little room for error.
World No.2 Karim Abdel Gawad topped the Men’s Road to Dubai Standings after a breakthrough season that saw him become World No.1 in the May World Rankings and capture the spoils at the Qatar Classic and Tournament of Champions along with runner-up finishes at the Hong Kong Open and El Gouna International. Gawad will make his debut at the tournament against Germany’s Simon Rösner on the opening day.
Just five points separated Gawad and current World No.1 and defending Men’s World Series Finals champion Gregory Gaultier who qualified in second place after dominating the PSA World Tour in 2017.
Gaultier will look to extend his 27-game unbeaten run as he begins his title defence against Egypt’s World No.5 Ali Farag – a late replacement for the injured Ramy Ashour – in the final match on the opening day of action.
The duo have most recently clashed in the finals of the Grasshopper Cup and PMI Bellevue Classic with Gaultier claiming victory on both occasions which has led to him lifting six successive titles in 2017.
Cameron Pilley (left) and Gregory Gaultier (right) in action at last year's final
Meanwhile, Egypt’s former World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy will open against England’s World No.6 James Willstrop on the opening day at 22:15 with both vying for a shot at the prestigious title.
The 26-year-old Egyptian has suffered a frustrating campaign this year, failing to lift a title since his Delaware Investment U.S. Open win in October and seeing his 15-month reign atop the World Rankings come to an end in April and will be looking to get off to a strong start against Willstrop – who is making his first appearance at the end-of-season event since the 2013 tournament.
On the Women’s Road to Dubai Standings it was France’s World No.3 Camille Serme who finished top after enjoying her best season to date with title wins at the U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions. Serme faces England’s World No.9 Alison Waters – who stepped into the top eight following injury to America’s Amanda Sobhy.
Two-time Women’s World Champion Nour El Sherbini finished behind Serme in second on the Standings and one place ahead of last year’s winner England’s Laura Massaro.
Laura Massaro in action against Raneem El Welily at last year's final
The World No.1 and current World Champion El Sherbini will begin her World Series Finals campaign against England’s World No.7 Sarah-Jane Perry at 23:15. Whilst defending champion Massaro – who claimed victory at this year’s Allam British Open – will come up against eight-time Women’s World Champion and two-time World Series Finals winner, Nicol David, on the first day of action at 21:30.
The World Series Finals will get underway at 15:00 when last season’s women’s runner-up and former World No.1 Raneem El Welily takes on compatriot Nouran Gohar before England’s Nick Matthew begins his quest for one of the few trophies to have eluded him to date as he goes up against Marwan ElShorbagy – who is making his World Series Finals debutant.
PSA Dubai World Series Finals – Groups
Women – Group A
Raneem El Welily
Women – Group B
Nour El Sherbini
Men – Group A
Karim Abdel Gawad
Men – Group B
6 June 2017
15:00 El Welily v Gohar
15:45 Ma. ElShorbagy v Matthew
16:45 Serme v Waters
17:30 Gawad v Rösner
21:30 Massaro v David
22:15 Mo. ElShorbagy v Willstrop
23:15 El Sherbini v Perry
00:00 Gaultier v Farag
7 June 2017
15:00 Serme v Gohar
15:45 Gawad v Matthew
16:45 El Welily v Waters
17:30 Ma. ElShorbagy v Rösner
21:30 El Sherbini v David
22:15 Gaultier v Willstrop
23:15 Massaro v Perry
00:00 Mo. ElShorbagy v Farag
8 June 2017
15:00 Gohar v Waters
15:45 Matthew v Rösner
16:45 Serme v El Welily
17:30 Gawad v Ma. ElShorbagy
21:30 David v Perry
22:15 Willstrop v Farag
23:15 El Sherbini v Massaro
00:00 Gaultier v Mo. ElShorbagy