Doha: Top seed and World No.2 Mohamed ElShorbagy, British Open winner Paul Coll and former World Champion Tarek Momen will be some of the players who will be vying to lay their hands on the Qatar Terminals Classic trophy at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in the PSA World Tour Platinum event when it kicks off today.
The seven-day event, taking place from October 17 will see 48 of the world’s leading male squash players battle it out for the $187,500 prize fund during the 20th edition of the annual premier squash tournament
The three-time winner Mohamed ElShorbagy headlines the draw, having won the event in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
The last edition of the championship has not been so good for the Egyptian star with the ‘Beast of Alexandria’ suffering a shock defeat at the hands of fellow Egyptian Youssef Ibrahim.
This year, Mohamed ElShorbagy will be looking to avenge his shock defeat to Ibrahim when they lock horns in the second round of this year’s tournament, with both players having got first-round byes.
Meanwhile, British Open winner New Zealander Coll will be looking to pick up his first title in Doha, having finished runners up to Ali Farag in the final of the 2020 Qatar Classic. The Kiwi will be keen to add to his silverware from Qatar.
In last year’s final, Farag took an early lead and Coll then showed his class to fight back in the second game and level the match, but Farag was able to withstand the pressure from the Kiwi to claim victory, and become a two-time Qatar Classic champion.
Farag having won the title in both 2018 and 2020, held either side of the 2019 PSA Men’s World Championships, remains the most recent winner of the event but is missing from this year’s edition.
In August this year Coll, who is currently ranked third on the PSA Tour computer, defeated some of the top names in the squash world to bag his maiden title British Open title. In the final he defeat Farag, and in the semi-final he got better of Mohamed ElShorbagy.
Coll thus will be aiming to end the reign of the Egyptian players over the Qatar title with Nick Matthew (2009) and Gregory Gaultier (2011), the only non-Egyptians to have won the event in the last 15 years. Otherwise it has been Egyptians all the way for the last one and half decade.
Sixteen matches will be played on the opening day, starting with the match between’s India Ramit Tandon and Greg Lobban of Scotland on the Centre Court.
In all eight matches will be played on the centre court while an equal number will be played on other courts.
Two Qatari players will also be in action on home soil. Syed Azlan Amjad and Ibrahim Ahmed Al Darwish, both wildcards, will battle it out in the tournament while Qatar’s No.1, Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi was forced to pull out as he is recovering from an injury.
Qatar’s Amjad will take on Declan James of England in the first round tie at 13.30 while Abdulrahman Al Malki will meet Raphael Kandra of Germany at 14:15.