Qatar Classic: Home hope Tamimi to begin campaign against Fares
29 Oct 2017 - 12:35
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Abdulla Mohammed Al Tamimi will be looking for a flying start to his Qatar Classic 2017 Squash Championship campaign when he takes on Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in first round of second PSA World Series event of the season at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex here today.
The World No.37, represents the only local hope in the main draw after none of the eight Qatari players who featured in the qualifying rounds made it past the first round and thus missed out a chance of joining Al Tamimi in the $165k main draw.
Tournament wildcard Tamimi, who has come with some noteworthy performances on the PSA Tour, has a tough task against Dessouky, who is ranked 16 places higher than him in the rankings.
Dessouky has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the PSA World Rankings in recent years and missed out on claiming a third PSA World Tour title during the 2016-17 season when he fell to England’s Nick Matthew in the final of the Canary Wharf Classic.
In the other first round matches today, tournament top seed and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier will begin his tournament against Mexico’s Cesar Salazar – who recently won the Chicago Open.
This will be the Frenchman’s first appearance of the 2017/18 season after suffering with an ankle injury that saw him forced to withdraw from both the NetSuite Open and US Open.
Gaultier could face two-time Qatar Classic champion Mohamed El Shorbagy in the semi-finals of the tournament should both prevail through their respective fixtures.
The Egyptian former World No.1 has had a strong start to the season, which has seen him claim titles at the NetSuite Open and Channel VAS at St George’s Hill and a runner-up finish at the US Open. El Shorbagy will open against a qualifier in round one.
US Open champion and current leader on the World Series Standings, Ali Farag, will look to continue his purple patch as he also opens against a qualifier in round one.
Other strong contenders in the men’s draw include England’s former World No.1 James Willstrop, who last won the tournament in 2005. The Yorkshireman faces a tough ask in round one as he takes on Peru’s Diego Elias, who has been one to watch on the Men’s Tour this season – defeating England’s Nick Matthew at the NetSuite Open and Marwan El Shorbagy at the US Open.
In the other first round matches today, Ryan Cuskelly of Australia and Daryl Selby of England, both take on qualifiers, while Zahed Mohamed of Egypt and Gregoire Marche of France will clash in the last match of the day.
Meanwhile, as many as eight places in the main draw were decided yesterday in the qualifying rounds. Alan Clyne of Scotland, Tsz Fung Yip of Hong Kong, Karim Ali Fathi of Egypt, Adrian Waller of England, Raphael Kandra of Germany, Leo Au of Hong Kong, Chris Simpson of England and Saurav Ghosal of India won their respective matches to claim a spot in the main draw.