The Golootlo Pakistan Open Squash Championships get under way tomorrow in Karachi with former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad heading up the men’s PSA World Tour Bronze draw between November 28 – December 2 at the DA Creek Club.
Gawad, who lifted the PSA World Championship trophy back in 2016, is looking to win his first PSA Tour title since prevailing at the Houston Open 19 months ago.
The 27-year-old, known on tour as the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ has slipped down the rankings in 2018 and currently sits at World No.9, while he is yet to win a title this season.
Gawad has recorded two semi-final finishes at the Oracle NetSuite Open and Channel VAS Championships over the past month and, as the highest-ranked player in the men’s draw, will be favourite to take the title and the lion’s share of the $53,000 prize fund.
But he’ll face some stern tests along the way, with Peru’s Diego Elias in particular one of the standout names in the draw.
The World No.12 has emerged as a big threat after taking out World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in Qatar earlier this month and is targeting title success for the first time since the 2016 Edmonton Open.
Elias is seeded to play Gawad in the final but could come up against No.3 seed Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in the semi’s.
Al Tamimi has had some mixed results this season – with quarter-finals at the China Open and QSF No.1 representing his best displays so far – but is a tricky opponent on his day and will be targeting a deep run into this event.
Malaysia’s Nafiizwan Adnan will be a dark horse for the men’s title. The World No.39 lost out to eventual runner-up Mohamed Abouelghar last year and will be looking to improve on that quarter-final exit this time around.
The Pakistan Open also features a women’s PSA Challenger Tour event and Egypt’s Yathreb Adel will top the draw. The World No.24 shocked World No.7 Laura Massaro last week at the Hong Kong Open and will have her sights set on a ninth PSA title in Pakistan.
Adel’s fellow Egyptian Nadine Shahin is seeded second and could come up against Adel in the title decider for what would be only their second meeting on the PSA Tour.
World No.32 Zeina Mickawy makes it an Egyptian trio at the top of the seedings, while Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling will also be looking to get her hands on the trophy.
Round one begins on Wednesday November 28 and play gets under way at 12:00 local time (GMT-5).
2018 Golootlo Pakistan Open Squash Championships – Men’s Draw
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]
Asim Khan (PAK) v [9/16] Tayyab Aslam (PAK)
[9/16] Mazen Gamal (EGY) v Mohd Syafiq Kamal (MAS)
 Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) [bye]
 Mohamed Reda (EGY) [bye]
[WC] Ahsan Ayaz (PAK) v [9/16] Ivan Yuen (MAS)
[9/16] Auguste Dussourd (FRA) v Shehab Essam (EGY)
 Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS [bye]
 Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) [bye]
Ammar Altamimi (QAT) v [9/16] Mostafa Asal (EGY)
[9/16] Iker Pajares Bernabeu (ESP) v [WC] Noman Khan (PAK)
 Arturo Salazar (MEX) [bye]
 Karim El Hammamy (EGY) [bye]
Baptiste Masotti (FRA) v [9/16] Edmon Lopez (ESP)
[9/16] Joshua Masters (ENG) v Ahmed Hosny (EGY)
 Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
2018 Golootlo Pakistan Open Squash Championships – Women’s Draw
 Yathreb Adel (EGY) [bye]
[WC] Amna Fayyaz (PAK) v [9/16] Jelena Dutina (SRB)
[9/16] Wen Li Lai (MAS) v Anam Mustafa Aziz (PAK)
 Rachel Arnold (MAS) [bye]
 Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) [bye]
[WC] Noor ul Hada (PAK) v [9/16] Enora Villard (FRA)
[9/16] Aika Azman (MAS) v Sadia Gul (PAK)
 Zeina Mickawy (EGY) [bye]
 Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) [bye]
Riffat Khan (PAK) v [9/16] Eva Fertekova (CZE)
[9/16] Ooi Kah Yan (MAS) v Arezoosadat Mousavizadeh (IRI)
 Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS) [bye]
 Satomi Watanabe (JPN) [bye]
Zoya Khalid (PAK) v [9/16] Madina Zafar (PAK)
[9/16] Salma Youssef (EGY) v Farah Momen (EGY)
 Nadine Shahin (EGY) [bye]