There is just one day to go until the 2018 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family & EquiTrust Life Insurance gets under way inside the iconic University Club of Chicago’s Cathedral Hall, with the PSA World Series tournament taking place between February 22-28.
The world’s top players will descend on Chicago as the tournament offers up valuable points on the PSA World Series Standings, with players battling for a top eight finish, which will guarantee their participation at June’s PSA World Series Finals.
World Champion Raneem El Welily will be aiming to capture a fourth successive Windy City Open crown as she battles against a tough women’s field, which sees compatriot and World No.1 Nour El Sherbini top the draw.
El Welily will get her title defence under way against a qualifier in round one, while El Sherbini – who has claimed five titles already this season – takes on India’s World No.20 Dipika Pallikal Karthik.
U.S. Open winner and Egypt’s World No.3 Nour El Tayeb will also be in action in Chicago and will meet a qualifier in round one as she targets her second World Series title this season.
Elsewhere on the women’s draw, number three seed Camille Serme will open against a qualifier as she looks to claim her first title of the season. The Frenchwoman is seeded on the same side as the draw as El Sherbini, with the two possibly facing each other in the semi-finals should they both play to their seedings.
England’s World No.4 Laura Massaro, meanwhile, faces Australia’s Donna Urquhart in round one, while compatriot Sarah-Jane Perry takes on tournament wildcard Sabrina Sobhy.
In the men’s draw, World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy takes his place as the top seed after the withdrawal of defending men’s champion and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier due to injury.
2016 champion ElShorbagy will face England’s Declan James in round one and faces the possibility of a final encounter against compatriot Ali Farag, who is seeded at the opposite end of the draw.
Recent Swedish Open champion Farag will face a qualifier in round one and is one of the few players to have halted ElShorbagy this season when he took the U.S. Open crown, alongside his wife El Tayeb, in October.
World Championship runner-up and younger ElShorbagy brother, Marwan – who recently claimed the Motor City Open PSA M70 title – will start his campaign against Hong Kong’s World No.23 Leo Au.
Meanwhile, England’s three-time World Champion Nick Matthew – who recently claimed a record 10th British Nationals title – will face his final tournament in Chicago with the Englishman retiring at the end of the season.
Matthew made history in 2015 when he overtook Egyptian icon Amr Shabana to become the oldest World Series winner of all time as he claimed the Windy City Open title with a win over ElShorbagy in the final. Matthew will face Egypt’s former World No.3 Omar Mosaad in the final.
Elsewhere, Tournament of Champions winner Simon Rösner will face India’s Saurav Ghosal in round one as he looks to repeat his title winning exploits from New York that saw him lift his first ever World Series title. ToC and Qatar Classic runner-up Tarek Momen faces a qualifier.
Men’s Draw – Round One
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
 Simon Rösner (GER) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
James Willstrop (ENG) v [WC] Chris Hanson (USA)
Leo Au (HKG) v  Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
Diego Elias (PER) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Paul Coll (NZL) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Declan James (ENG) v  Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Women’s Draw – Round One
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
[Qualifier] v  Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v [WC] Sabrina Sobhy (USA)
[Qualifier] v  Annie Au (HKG)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Mariam Metwally (ENG)
[Qualifier] v  Camille Serme (FRA)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
[Qualifier] v  Joelle King (NZL)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Victoria Lust (ENG)
Salma Hany (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Nicol David (MAS) v Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
Joey Chan (HKG) v  Alison Waters (ENG)
 Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)