The world’s best squash players will go head-to-head on the banks of Egypt’s Red Sea between April 17-26 after the main draws for the 2019 El Gouna International Squash Open were released today.
The El Gouna International is the penultimate PSA World Tour Platinum tournament of the 2018/19 season, and an equal prize fund of $352,000 will be on offer across the men’s and women’s draws.
Men’s World No.1 Ali Farag will top a PSA Platinum event for the first time and he will look to improve on last year’s runner-up finish to fellow Egyptian Marwan ElShorbagy.
Ali Farag will be looking to go one better than runner-up in El Gouna.
Farag, along with the rest of the top eight seeds in the men’s event, receives a bye into round two, where he will play either Australia’s Cameron Pilley or Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam.
Farag is drawn on the same side of the draw as Peru’s Diego Elias, Canary Wharf Classic winner Paul Coll and compatriot Tarek Momen, the latter of whom he beat in the final of the PSA World Championship final earlier this month.
No.2 seed Mohamed ElShorbagy, the 2016 El Gouna International champion, features on the opposite side of the draw alongside British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez, defending champion and younger brother Marwan, and former World No.1 Karim Abdel Gawad.
Former World No.8 Fares Dessouky and fellow Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim have been named the men’s wildcards. Dessouky will play Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly, while Ibrahim takes on England’s Adrian Waller in the opening round.
Fares Dessouky is making his first appearance in Gouna for two years
Reigning women’s champion Raneem El Welily tops the women’s draw and could face eight-time World Champion Nicol David as early as round two. David, a former World No.1, will retire at the end of the season and will make her last appearance in El Gouna.
El Welily beat World Champion Nour El Sherbini to win the inaugural women’s title last year, but the current World No.1 has a difficult path to the final, with the likes of India’s Joshna Chinappa, Hong Kong Open champion Joelle King and World Championship runner-up Nour El Tayeb standing between her and a place in the title decider.
El Sherbini, who beat El Welily in El Gouna two years ago to win the second of her three World Championship titles, is seeded alongside World No.9 Alison Waters, World No.8 Nouran Gohar and World No.4 Camille Serme on the bottom half of the draw.
Camille Serme is the leading European hope in the women's draw.
Rising Egyptian talents Jana Shiha and Farida Mohamed, both 17, take the women’s wildcard spots and will play David and Zeina Mickawy, respectively.
The El Gouna Squash Complex will host the first round matches on April 17-18. Matches will be split between the glass court at Abu Tig Marina and the El Gouna Squash Complex between April 19-22. All matches from the quarter-finals onwards will be held at Abu Tig Marina between April 23-26.
Entry to the tournament up to and including the quarter-finals is free. Tickets for the semi-finals and finals are available for purchase here: www.ticketsmarche.com/el-gouna-international-squash-open-2019_se_2073.html.
2019 El Gouna International Squash Open – Men’s Draw
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
Tayyab Aslam (PAK) v [17/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[17/32] Mazen Hesham (EGY) v Joshua Masters (ENG)
[9/16] Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
[17/32] Chris Simpson (ENG) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
[9/16] Joel Makin (WAL) [bye]
[17/32] Borja Golan (ESP) v Ben Coleman (ESP)
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye]
 Simon Rösner (GER) [bye]
Ivan Yuen (MAS) v [17/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[17/32] Adrian Waller (ENG) v [WC] Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
[9/16] Gregoire Marche (FRA) [bye]
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye]
Todd Harrity (USA) v [17/32] Leo Au (HKG)
[9/16] Zahed Salem (EGY) [bye]
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
Mohamed Reda (EGY) v [17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[17/32] Lucas Serme (FRA) v Mostafa Asal (EGY)
[9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY) [bye]
[17/32] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v Nathan Lake (ENG)
Alan Clyne (SCO) v [17/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
[9/16] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
 Miguel Rodriguez (COL) [bye]
[9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) [bye]
[17/32] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
[WC] Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [17/32] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
[17/32] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
Ramit Tandon (IND) v [17/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[17/32] Max Lee (HKG) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
2019 El Gouna International Squash Open – Women’s Draw
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]
[WC] Jana Shiha (EGY) v [17/32] Nicol David (MAS)
[17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY) v Tinne Gilis (BEL)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) [bye]
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Coline Aumard (FRA) v Haley Mendez (USA)
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [bye]
Tsz-Wing Tong (HKG) v [17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL)
[17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) [bye]
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [17/32] Milou van der Heijden (NED)
[17/32] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Lisa Aitken (SCO)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [17/32] Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA)
[17/32] Hollie Naughton (CAN) v Rachel Arnold (MAS)
 Tesni Evans (WAL) [bye]
 Annie Au (HKG) [bye]
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Joey Chan (HKG)
[17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
Ho Tsz-Lok (HKG) v [17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v [WC] Farida Mohamed (EGY)
 Hania El Hammamy (EGY) [bye]
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
Low Wee Wern (MAS) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [bye]