The world’s leading female squash players will descend on Cairo next week for the CIB Black Ball Squash Open with the PSA Gold event taking place from March 11-15 in the Egyptian capital.
The Black Ball Squash Open will be the first major women’s tournament to take place in Cairo since the 2016 Wadi Degla Open when El Welily took home the title and she will be looking to repeat that performance as she headlines the draw in her home city this month.
The World No.1 – who, along with the other top eight seeds receives a bye into the second round – will open her tournament against either compatriot and World Junior Champion Rowan Elaraby or Hong Kong’s Annie Au.
El Welily saw her World Championship title defence come to an end in Chicago last week at the hands of Nour El Tayeb and she will no doubt be looking to bounce back quickly to take the PSA Gold title at the Black Ball Sporting Club.
She could face El Tayeb in the semi-finals, should both players play to their seeding in a re-match of last week's PSA World Championship semi-final, which saw El Tayeb end her compatriot's run at the tournament in a dramatic five-game thriller.
Meanwhile, seeded at the opposite end of the draw is World No.2 Nour El Sherbini, who is the new World Champion after defeating El Tayeb in last week’s final in Chicago, and she will face either England’s former World No.3 Alison Waters or Egypt’s Zeina Mickawy for a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Other home favourites include World No.3 and World Championship runner-up El Tayeb and World No.8 Nouran Gohar. Cairo-born El Tayeb will face one of her compatriots in Hania El Hammamy or wildcard Salma Youssef in round two, while Gohar – who was also born in Cairo – will take on either Belgium’s Nele Gilis or Egypt’s Salma Hany for a place in the quarter-finals.
France’s World No.4 Camille Serme opens her tournament against either England’s Millie Tomlinson or Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in round two, while New Zealand’s World No.5 Joelle King will go up against Egypt’s Mariam Metwally or Welshwoman Tesni Evans. The Kiwi also faces the prospect of meeting World Champion El Sherbini in the semi-finals should both players play to their seeding.
English duo Sarah-Jane Perry and Laura Massaro will also both be in action in the Egyptian capital. Perry – who made her first appearance of 2019 at the World Championships following elbow surgery – faces either India's Joshna Chinappa or Malaysia's eight-time World Champion Nicol David in round two.
Meanwhile, Massaro will come up against either Egypt's Yathreb Adel or Mayar Hany for a place in the last eight.
All matches will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), as well as on Facebook (excluding Europe and Japan).
You can keep up with the latest from the Black Ball Squash Open at the tournament’s website and on Twitter.
Main Draw – Black Ball Squash Open:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [Bye]
Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v [9/16] Annie Au (HKG)
[9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Mayar Hany (EGY)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [Bye]
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [Bye]
Nele Gilis (BEL) v [9/16] Salma Hany (EGY)
[9/16] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v [WC] Salma Youssef (EGY)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [Bye]
 Joelle King (NZL) [Bye]
Mariam Metwally (EGY) v [9/16] Tesni Evans (WAL)
[9/16] Joshna Chinappa (IND) v Nicol David (MAS)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [Bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [Bye]
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v [9/16] Joey Chan (HKG)
[9/16] Alison Waters (ENG) v Zeina Mickawy (EGY)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [Bye]