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Men's top seed Mohamed ElShorbagy

Allam British Open: The Contenders

The Allam British Open is the oldest and most established tournament on the PSA World Tour calendar and has seen some of the greatest players of all time battle it out to lift the iconic trophy throughout its storied history.

This year the tournament takes place at Hull’s Airco Arena and will see the top players in the world go head-to-head next week for a chance to get their name on the prestigious trophy when the tournament takes place between May 15-20.

Here, we take a look at some of the contenders for the big prize…

Men
Mohamed ElShorbagy

Egypt’s World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy looks as though he could be the man to beat with seven titles under his belt this season, including three World Series titles and a PSA World Championship crown.

The ‘Beast from Alexandria’ has been in unstoppable form this season as he has fought off competition from all sides to take back his World No.1 spot from France’s Gregory Gaultier and fend off his fellow Egyptians including World No.2 Ali Farag and younger brother Marwan ElShorbagy.

ElShorbagy is the top seed in the men’s draw for the tournament and faces Peru’s World No.12 Diego Elias in round one and could face defending champion and number three seed Gregory Gaultier in the semi-finals with a possible meeting with U.S. Open champion and compatriot Ali Farag waiting in the final should the seedings go to plan.

The 27-year-old has a strong history at the British Open, claiming the title on two occasions. His first title at the tournament came in 2015 when he defeated Gaultier in the final before successfully defending his crown the following year when he ended a four-match winless run against Ashour.

Gregory Gaultier

Defending champion Gaultier sealed his third British Open title at last year’s tournament in Hull when he defeated home favourite Nick Matthew in the final.

That win also saw Gaultier return to the World No.1 spot and became the oldest No.1 in the process.

The French General has endured a stop-start season, suffering with both an ankle and adductor injury throughout the course of the year. However, the former World No.1 can still not be written off and will be looking to fight back in spectacular style with a defence of his crown.

However, the three-time British Open winner will face a tough journey to the final, with a potential meeting against the in-form World Champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the semi-finals, should both players play to their respective seedings.

Gaultier faces Australia’s World No.21 Cameron Pilley in round one.

Ali Farag

At the opposite end of the draw to Mohamed ElShorbagy is number two seed, Ali Farag.

The Harvard graduate has enjoyed his most successful season to date on the PSA World Tour after picking up his maiden World Series title crown at October’s U.S. Open after defeating ElShorbagy in the final.

Since then, Farag has gone onto claim the Swedish Open crown and reach the finals of the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill, the Hong Kong Open and the recent El Gouna international – where he finished runner-up to Marwan ElShorbagy.

Farag will begin his tournament against a qualifier in round one and faces a possible semi-final clash with Marwan ElShorbagy for a place in the final, should both play to their respective seedings.

Marwan ElShorbagy

Marwan ElShorbagy has enjoyed a fairytale season to date which has included reaching the final of the PSA World Championships and lifting his first World Series title at the El Gouna International.

ElShorbagy is a player in form coming into the tournament after claiming victory at the most recent tournament – the El Gouna International – where he defeated both his older brother, Mohamed, and compatriot and World No.2 Ali Farag to lift the coveted title.

The younger ElShorbagy sibling has never made it past the quarter-final stage of the British Open but is on course to do better this year as the number four seed provides tough competition for his fellow players in the tournament.

Ramy Ashour

Egyptian maverick Ramy Ashour can never be written off in the big tournaments.

Ashour has suffered with injuries over the past few years but showed what he was capable of when he strolled to the Grasshopper Cup title, beating the likes of Germany’s Simon Rösner, France’s Gregory Gaultier and World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, all while not dropping a single game throughout the entire tournament.

Ashour has one British Open title to his name, which he secured in 2013 when he became the first Egyptian in 47 years to win the iconic title.

Nick Matthew

Home favourite Nick Matthew will be hoping to pull off the fairytale ending when he takes to the court at Hull’s Airco Arena.

The three-time World Champion announced that he was hanging up his racket at the end of the season and the Englishman will be hoping to end his incredible career on a high with victory at the British Open.

Matthew has three British Open titles already in his trophy cabinet and will be hoping to go one better than last season’s runner-up finish to France’s Gaultier.

However, Matthew faces a challenging first round as he comes up against Egypt’s World No.5 Tarek Momen, who has reached two World Series finals already this season, at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and Qatar Classic.

Women
Nour El Sherbini

World No.1 Nour El Sherbini has been a force to be reckoned with this season.

The 22-year-old has claimed five titles this season, including three World Series titles at the Hong Kong Open, Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters and J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

El Sherbini has one British Open title to her name, which she claimed in 2016 when she wrote her name into the squash history books by becoming the first Egyptian female player to lift the iconic trophy.

Last season, the Egyptian’s tournament ended at the semi-final stage when after being 2-0 she was defeated by eventual champion England’s Laura Massaro who produced a sterling comeback to book her place in the final.

El Sherbini leads the women’s draw as top seed at the tournament and will face England’s Emily Whitlock in round one at Hull’s Airco Arena.

Raneem El Welily

World Champion Raneem El Welily is approaching the British Open in strong form after claiming the El Gouna International title on home turf last month.

The Egyptian defeated compatriot and World No.1 El Sherbini in the final – with the two players contesting four finals this season, including at the PSA World Championships where El Welily came out on top to win her first World Championship crown.

El Welily is seeded at the opposite end of the draw to El Sherbini and has the potential to meet her in yet another final if both players perform to their respective seedings.

The Alexandria-born Egyptian has never made it past the semi-final stage at the British Open but will no doubt be full of confidence heading into this year’s tournament after an incredible season.

El Welily faces a qualifier in round one and has the potential to meet New Zealand’s Joelle King at the semi-final stage if the seeding goes to plan.

Nour El Tayeb

Nour El Tayeb is another strong contender for the women’s British Open crown.

The Egyptian has soared up the World Rankings this season to reach a career high of World No.3. El Tayeb has also picked up two World Series titles along the way with her first coming alongside husband Ali Farag at the U.S. Open and her second coming at the Windy City Open in Chicago thanks to a number of impressive comebacks.

El Tayeb has become famed her flair and resilience this season as her performance have continued to impress throughout the course of the season with the Egyptian a consistent figure at the latter stages of tournaments.

The 25-year-old has never made it past the last 16 stage at the British Open but is tipped to go far at this year’s tournament alongside her compatriots.

El Tayeb faces fellow Egyptian Salma Hany in round one and could face World No.1 Nour El Sherbini for a place in the final should both players reach their seedings.

Joelle King

Kiwi Joelle King has become the main threat to the women’s Egyptian charge this season on the PSA World Tour.

King has showed she has recovered fully from her career-threatening Achilles injury as she is backed to her joint career-high World Ranking of No.4.

The 29-year-old reached her maiden World Series final earlier this month when she defeated three-time champion Raneem El Welily to reach the final of the Windy City Open, narrowly missing out to El Tayeb in a 3-2 thriller in Chicago.

Since then, King has enjoyed victory for her country, securing a gold medal in the women’s singles at the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia – defeating England’s Sarah-Jane Perry in the final.

King’s has been a consistent quarter-finalist over the years at the British Open but will be targeting glory in Hull as she starts her tournament against a qualifier.

Camille Serme

France’s Camille Serme has endured a frustrating season to date and is still looking to claim her first title of the season on the PSA World Tour.

The Frenchwoman has been a consistent semi-finalist at the big events this year but will be gunning for glory in Hull as she looks to disrupt the dominant Egyptians this year to claim another British Open title.

World No.6 Serme claimed her biggest ever title win back in 2015 at the British Open when she made history to become the first Frenchwoman ever to win the prestigious ‘Wimbledon of Squash’.

Serme is the number six seed at this year’s tournament and will open against a qualifier in round one.

Laura Massaro

Defending champion Laura Massaro will be hoping for a repeat of last season when she takes to Hull’s Airco Arena in just over one week’s time.

Massaro defeated compatriot Perry in last year’s final – in what was the first all-English female final since 1991 – to win her second British Open title. She also wrote her name into the squash history books when she became the first Englishwoman since Janet Morgan in 1951 to lift the iconic title twice.

The Englishwoman has endured ups and downs over the course of the season but will be aiming for another successful year on home turf.

Massaro is the number seven seed this year and will take on a qualifier in round one.

Qualifying for the tournament takes place from May 13-14 at the University of Hull Sports and Fitness Centre, while the main draw is at the Airco Arena between May 15-20 with the exception of 23 of the 32 first round matches on May 15, which will be staged at the university.

Matches held on the glass court at the Airco Arena will be shown on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only) while the semi-finals and finals will be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, such as BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.

Follow the 2018 British Open at www.allambritishopen.com and on Twitter: @BritOpenSquash

Tickets for the tournament can be purchased via Ticketmaster