Ramy Ashour, the newly-crowned world champion from Egypt, and James Willstrop, the reigning world number one from England – both pictured above - are the top two seeds in next month’s ATCO PSA World Series Finals, the event featuring the eight leading players from the PSA World Series championships in 2012.
The flagship PSA World Tour event is taking place for the fourth time at The Queen’s Club in London, from 2-6 January 2013.
2007 champion Ashour, whose success in this month’s Qatar PSA World Championship in Doha will see him reclaim the world number one ranking in January, heads Pool A – alongside England’s former world champion and 2011 finalist Nick Matthew; compatriot Peter Barker, the world No5 from London; and surprise World Championship runner-up Mohamed El Shorbagy, the world No6 from Egypt.
Yorkshireman Willstrop leads interest in Pool B, where he will initially do battle with Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, champion both in 2008 and 2009; reigning champion Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion from Egypt; and Egypt’s former world number one Karim Darwish.
In the stand out qualifying clash on the opening day Wednesday (2nd January), Willstrop will take on Shabana for the fifth time in the championship since 2007. Shabana boasts a 17/10 career head-to-head advantage over the higher-ranked Englishman, and a 3/1 lead over Willstrop in the World Series Finals.
The most eagerly awaited clash on day two will undoubtedly be the second match in Pool A, between Ashour and Matthew. The illustrious pair will be celebrating the first meeting of the year – but the 22nd of their career and their seventh over the previous 12 months, in which the Egyptian was victorious on all but one occasion.
The final qualifying session on Friday will round off in sensational style – in a repeat of last year’s stunning final between Shabana and Gaultier.
Action will take place on a special, state-of-the-art, Z-Court – leading to an action-packed weekend featuring the semi-finals and final. Sky Sports will be televising the semi-finals and finals live.
1st pool round (Wednesday 2nd January):
3 Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
1 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
2 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
4 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
2nd pool round (Thursday 3rd January):
5 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
1 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
2 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
6 Amr Shabana (EGY) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
3rd & final pool round (Friday 4th January):
1 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v  Peter Barker (ENG)
3 Nick Matthew (ENG) v  Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY)
2 James Willstrop (ENG) v  Karim Darwish (EGY)
4 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v  Amr Shabana (EGY)
For tickets, call 0844 847 1929, or visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ATCO-World-Series-Squash-Finals-tickets/artist/1668847
Official website: www.worldseriesfinals.com