The upcoming El Gouna International will see the battle for points on the Men’s and Women’s PSA World Series Standings intensify when the tournament takes place between April 20 – 27 with a world-class week of action in store on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea in Hurghada.
First beginning in 2010 in the Abu Tig Marina, the El Gouna International has since been dominated by Egyptians, with former World No.1 Karim Darwish kicking off a run that has seen the first five editions of the World Series tournament won by home talent.
Darwish picked up the inaugural title with a victory over the enigmatic three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour, but Ashour bounced back two years later to defeat former World No.1 James Willstrop, earning the first of his three titles to date.
Ashour’s title-winning triumphs in 2014 and 2015 came over long-term rival Mohamed ElShorbagy, with the latter of those contests going down in the squash annals as one of the greatest matches of all time – and Ashour’s win was made all the more incredible given that the 29-year-old had spent five months out of action due to injury prior to the tournament.
However, it was injury that prevented Ashour from adding a fourth title to his collection the following year as he was forced to retire from his first-round clash with then-World No.5 Marwan ElShorbagy.
Marwan’s older brother, Mohamed, then made it third time lucky as he finally got his hands on the title, coming back from two games down to edge France’s Gregory Gaultier in a controversial final encounter.
Last year’s tournament saw Gaultier break the run of Egyptian winners as the Frenchman got his hands on the title. He defeated number two seed Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad in straight-games in the final to prevail.
This year the El Gouna International will feature a women’s World Series tournament alongside the men’s for the first time in history, with World No.1 Nour El Sherbini and reigning World Champion Raneem El Welily set to meet in the final.
El Sherbini and El Welily contested the women’s PSA World Championships in El Gouna last April in the first women’s squash tournament to be held there – with El Sherbini prevailing – but the two Egyptians will face strong opposition from the likes of compatriot Nour El Tayeb, New Zealand’s Joelle King, France’s Camille Serme and England’s Laura Massaro at this year’s tournament.
2017 Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2016 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
2015 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2014 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2013 No competition
2012 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2011 No competition
2010 Karim Darwish (EGY)